First appearing in 1896, Frank Merriwell was a hero and role model for the youth of his time. As described by his creator, Gilbert Patton, "the name was symbolic of the chief characteristics I desired my hero to have: Frank for frankness, merry for a happy disposition, well for health and abounding vitality." Merriwell was an athlete, a sports star, and a good student, popular with his peers for his positive outlook and good sportsmanship.
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In 1946, the character was reborn for NBC Radio in The Adventures of Frank Merriwell, featuring Lawson Zerbe as Frank; Hal Studer as his pal, Bart Hodge; and Elaine Rost as his girlfriend, Inza Burridge, in a series of fast-paced mini-mysteries in which Frank, Bart, and Enza investigate mysterious happenings, robberies, and underhanded dealings.