Saturday, July 26, 2014

Boys, I Hardy Knew Ye

Growing up, we had a collection of the 1960's editions of "The Hardy Boys" mysteries in our library.  By library, I mean a box we kept in my bedroom closet.

The covers always fascinated me and promised great adventure, but for some reason I never read them, even though I read practically every other book we had.  Everything I knew about the Hardy Boys came from the 1970's TV show starring Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy.

I found a few of the volumes this morning at a garage sale.

"The House on the Cliff", 1959

Back cover of "The House on the Cliff"

"The Secret of the Old Mill", 1962

"The Mystery of Cabin Island", 1966 (with some unfortunate price sticker residue)

"While The Clock Ticked", 1962

This cover jumped out at me as it was recreated in the opening credits of the TV show with Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy superimposed on the cover.

"The Hardy Boys" book series was conceived in 1926 by Edward Stratemeyer who also created "The Bobbsey Twins" and "Tom Swift".  All of the books were ghostwritten and used the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon.  Most of the early books were written by Leslie McFarlane, a Canadian journalist and novelist.

This edition of the books, in addition to sporting knew updated covers, were also updated inside to eliminate racial stereotypes and what some considered to be Frank and Joe's resistance to authority.

The TV shows were more of a vehicle for the stars, which included Pamela Sue Martin in an equal-time broadcast of "Nancy Drew".  The only episode that appears to share a title, if not the story line, with one of the books, is "The Disappearing Floor".  Indeed, by season 3 of the series, the story lines were thinly-veiled excuses to get Shawn Cassidy on stage to sing "Da Doo Ron Ron".

Full episodes of the tv show can be found on Youtube including the premiere.

And who knows, maybe I'll finally read the books.


  1. As a kid, I was a big fan of the show. But as a teen, I read a bunch of the original books and loved them. I also have a distinct memory of going to a Waldenbooks specifically to find one of The Hardy Boys books.

    1. I enjoyed the Hardy Boys' portion of the first season, particularly the premiere and "The Disappearing Floor". I never cared too much for the Nancy Drew shows.

  2. somewhere post- "Little Women," "Treasure Island," and "Robinson Crusoe" and pre- "Chronicles of Narnia" and the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings -- and DEFINITELY pre- Star Wars, i went through quite a phase of the Hardy Boys. i read all i could get my hands on. i loved them. take that however you may.

    1. I would have never pegged you for a Hardy Boys fan, seems like you were always reading fantasy works. I don't know why I never read them, but I plan to remedy that.

    2. i read EVERYTHING i could get my hands on, and anything in a series was even better, because i could dive in and not re-surface for hours or days.


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