Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for September 6th!

Canadian History for Kids

He didn’t write about ghosts, but he might have been one Canada’s most famous ghostwriters!

Leslie McFarlane passed away on September 6th, 1977. A journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker, McFarlane is most famous for ghostwriting many of the early books in the very successful Hardy Boys series, using the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of Canada, looks at the career of Leslie McFarlane.

This Canadian History for Kids begins with Leslie Macfarlane being born in 1902 and raised in the town of Haileybury, Ontario. He became a freelance writer shortly after high school. He and his family moved to Whitby, Ontario, in 1936.

As a young man he worked in Sudbury, Ontario, as a newspaper reporter, then for a weekly paper in Toronto, before taking a job at the Springfield Republican newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts.

While in the U.S., he replied to a want ad placed by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, publisher of such popular books as Nancy Drew, Tom Swift and the Bobbsey Twins. He also freelanced in 1926 and 1927 as one of the authors using the pseudonym Roy Rockwood to write many of the Dave Fearless serialized mystery novels.

This led to the Hardy Boys. Using the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon, McFarlane wrote 19 of the first 25 books between 1927 and 1946, and 21 overall. McFarlane earned as little as $85 per book during the Great Depression, yet he continued because he had a growing family.

The books sell more than a million copies a year. Several additional volumes are published annually, and the boys’ adventures have been translated into more than 25 languages. The Hardy Boys have been featured in computer games and five television shows.

While still writing for the series for the Stratemeyer Syndicate, McFarlane returned to Canada to work for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). As part of the NFB in Montreal, he wrote and directed documentaries and short dramas including the 1951 documentary Royal Journey, Here’s Hockey, a 1953 documentary about ice hockey featuring Montreal Canadiens star Jean Beliveau. He also wrote the documentary titled Herring Hunt, nominated for an Academy Award for Live Action Short Film.

And that’s this week Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada.

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Canadian History for Kids!