Long Lived Characters

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 17 14:58:04 EST 2004

--- minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:
> Ven wrote:
> >I found this interesting thread on The Straight
> >Dope:
> >
> ><<Who is the longest "lived" fictional character
> >
> >I've just gotten back into P.G. Wodehouse's
> >Jeeves and Wooster stories, and I noticed with
> >some surprise that the first Jeeves story
> >appeared in 1916 and the last was written (or at
> >least begun) in 1974, for a "lifespan" of 58
> >years.
> >
> >I think this is a record.
> >
> >Does anyone know of another fictional character
> >who was written about by the original author over
> >a longer period? I think we can rule out most, if
> >not all, of the juvenile series like Tom Swift,
> >Nancy Drew, etc., since I believe they were
> >written by many different people.>>
> >
> >
> >I make Chrestomanci 23 -- Charmed Life pub 1977,
> >Mixed Magics 2000 -- soon to be 28 or so on
> >publication of the next book.
> >
> >Here's a copy of the list in progress from the
> >SD:
> >
> >58 years: Jeeves and Wooster (Wodehouse)
> >55 years: Hercule Poirot (Christie)
> >55 years: The Saint (Charteris)
> I don't think that *can* be right.
> *Meet the Tiger* is 1928.  It's certain from his
> own foreward to the book that he didn't himself
> write *The Saint On TV* (1967), and I think that
> all the later books saying "Copyright Leslie
> Charteris" in them just means that the limited
> company he had become still existed.  So I'd be
> inclined to guess at 39 years maximum.  (I have
> a feeling that Harry Harrison may have written
> one of the later ones, but I may be thinking of
> some other "series" character Harrison wrote.)
> Not an answer to the question "who is longest-
> lived", but
> Modesty Blaise doesn't do too badly: 1965 in a
> book (1963 in the Evening Standard as a "comic")
> till 1996.  There won't be any more, I don't
> think, but that's a nice solid 31 years of book
> life, which is twenty or so years less than her
> life in her ficton.
> Anyone got information on Biggles?
> Minnow

Biggles gets a mention in the thread on Strait Dope -
1932-1968  a respectable 36 years. This is what they
say about the Saint

"Leslie Charteris' first {i]The Saint[/i], publication
Meet the Tiger! was published in 1928. Capture The
Saint by Burl Barer was published in 1997. Charteris
had actively collaborated with other writers until
1983 to allow them to continue after he died. So
either 69 or 55 years take your pick."

Another respectable age that gets a mention is Billy
Bunter who Frank Richards wrote for 53 years (and he
was at school for all of that which must be a record
in its own rate)


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