Hardy Boys Mysteries
By Tom Keogh
The Hardy Boys Mysteries and The
Nancy Drew Mysteries began in 1977 as separate series alternating
in the same time slot on ABC. Early the following year, the casts
combined, and in the fall of 1978 the Nancy Drew thread was dropped and The
Hardy Boys Mysteries continued on alone. This Season
One boxed set captures the twin-series idea at its most ambitious,
with adolescent brothers Frank and Joe Hardy, created by author Franklin
W. Dixon, sleuthing for clues one week and Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew
investigating crimes the next.
Actually, as fans of the books know, Dixon and Keene were both pen
names used by Edward Stratemeyer when he created those characters in 1927.
Just as the young detectives have been updated in print every so often to
accommodate successive generations of readers, so too did the TV show
present Joe (Shaun Cassidy, brother of David Cassidy of The
Partridge Family), Frank (Parker Stevenson), and Nancy (Pamela Sue
Martin) as thoroughly 1970s kids. The boys are outfitted with motorcycles,
Joe enjoys a retro-pop singing career, and Nancy has a certain freedom of
movement only the hippest of dads in a permissive age would allow.
Hardy Boys finds the always-amicable siblings following in the
footsteps of their father, Fenton (Edmund Gilbert), a private detective,
as they untangle capers that take them from haunted houses to Hawaii. The
Hardy episodes make for brisk, family viewing, much better than the
bubblegum reputation that built up, undeservedly, around the series.
Slightly less interesting are the Nancy Drew programs (despite a more
entertaining supporting cast), but only because the heroine is less
focused and distractingly man-crazy, and the storylines are less exotic.
An emphasis on the supernatural and science-fiction themes lends a Scooby-Doo
vibe to several programs in both series, though the best stories are the
ones with straightforward, meat-and-potatoes detective work. Among the
directors on either series are Jack Arnold (The Creature from the Black
Lagoon), Winrich Kolbe (Star Trek: The Next Generation), and
actors Vince Edwards and Stuart Margolin.
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I loved this show as a kid, and always watched it with my older brother. Like most girls, Shaun Cassidy was just my first big crush and I remember having a t- shirt with him and Parker Stevenson on it in grade three, as the Hardy boys. I was pretty young but I do know that in alot of shows Shaun always sang, and I freaked when he sang 'Do Ron Ron'.
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