Welcome to the Bayport Times.
This month featuring my review of The Tower Treasure, new collectible discoveries, auction news, letters & more!
Two issues back I ran an article on scarce Hardy PC editions and I forgot to mention the first printing of The Witchmaster's Key. The 1st printing is the only edition that doesn't carry a teaser for the next title. When this was added in the 2nd printing, the last two pages were extensively modified rendering the 1st a unique and scarce edition.
Oops! When commenting on the success of the April South Jersey Series Collectors meeting in NJ, I completely forgot to mention the tremendous contribution made by John Moffet and his family. Sorry guys ;-)
I've added a message board feature, The Bayport Connection, to my Hardy Boys Home page. This board will be subject to moderation to prevent any abuse.
SCANS NEEDED: Those of you who have visited my Hardy Boys Cover Art Gallery may have noticed I've used scans of the Applewood reprints for some covers. I need scans of the original Rogers art for Tower Treasure, House On The Cliff, Hunting For Hidden Gold and Shore Road Mystery. Please e-mail if you can supply any of these. Thanks.
See you next month.
A full collection of picture cover books would contain all but 4 of the original text stories and can be assembled for a reasonable amount both of time and money. This set could be refined by collecting first PC editions, most of which are still fairly easy to locate and would still be affordable to most collectors. This set could be further expanded by including the different cover art styles.
A full set of books with DJ's (the first 40 titles and 3 revised texts) is a slightly more difficult and expensive task. This would be a mixed set of yellow spine (or white spines if you can afford it!) and wrap spine DJ's. It would probably cost at least twice as much as the PC collection, if not more. With the advent of web book sales and auction sites, dedicated collectors should have no problem locating the volumes they need.
A set of first editions (58 stories, 38 revisions) is an expensive and time consuming task. Such a set would consist of 43 DJ (white, yellow and wrap) editions and 53 PC editions. With early Hardy firsts selling for $100's and even $1000's, the expense can be daunting. Even, should you be so fortunate, if money is no object, it could still take years to locate a full set. If you add 1st editions of new cover art and major text variations, add another year or two onto your search time!
Hardy Boys paperbacks (Digests & Casefiles) are going out of print and, in addition, many of the digests have different types of cover art. These are going to be hard to assemble sets in the not too distant future. A full set of the recent paperback Tom Swift series is currently selling on eBay for 2 or 3 times it's original cost.
Hardy collectibles like games, action figures, lunch boxes etc., add a nice touch to any collection. Many of these items are easily available for a small price.
The complete fanatic collection has yet to be assembled (but I'm trying!). This set would have a copy of every type of DJ and PC book, all the paperbacks, activity books and every other book with the Hardy name slapped on it. Then, of course, is a copy of every single collectible, some of which haven't even been discovered yet! Magazine & newspaper articles and books about the Boys are included as are all videos. If anyone has managed to assemble such a set, I'd sure like to hear about it!
I would like to encourage my readers to write in and share the details of their collecting activity.
This Month: The Tower Treasure
#1 in the series - 1927
Written by Leslie McFarlane
The Plot: One sunny day, Frank & Joe are out motorcycling on the Shore Road, having a pleasant conversation, when they are nearly run off the road by a red-headed speed-demon in a touring car! They then head over to the Morton farm and find their buddy Chet in a highly agitated state. Seems some no good rat had made off with Chet's pride and joy, his yellow roadster. The boys immediately launch an investigation and have a humorous encounter with some local hayseeds.
They go to report the theft to the dopey Bayport cops and find out that steamboat office has been held up by a man driving a yellow roadster! It seems no one is sure if the thief had red hair or not.
That weekend, the Boys go on a picnic with their chums and find Chet's roadster hidden in some bushes. While reporting their find to the police, they are informed that the Tower Mansion of eccentric stamp collector Hurd Applegate has been robbed of jewels and securities! To make matters worse, Henry Robinson, Applegate's caretaker and father of the Boy's pal Slim, has been arrested for the crime. Seems Mr. Robinson suddenly came up with 900 bucks and stubbornly won't explain whence it came.
The Boys vow to investigate and commence by locating a red wig in the wreck of the touring car that nearly drove them off the road in Chapter 1. They enlist Fenton's aid and he goes to New York and discovers the wig was stolen from an actor by the nefarious Red Jackley.
Fenton persues Jackley but Red is badly injured in a smash up and is hospitilized, unable to talk. Later Fenton gets a call informing him that Red is about to croak but, if he hurries, he may be able to question him. The Bayport cops also are determined to question Jackley and it's up to the Boys and their chums to delay the coppers. They do this by planting a purported Black Hand "bomb" in the pushcart of an Italian fruit seller. This leads to one of the funniest scenes in all Hardy literature and succeeds in delaying the cops.
Fenton discovers that Jackley had, indeed, robbed the Tower Mansion and hidden the loot in "the old tower". The scene shifts to the Applegate mansion and the Boys launch a thorough investigation of both towers but discover nothing. Baffled, the Boys mope around for a week and then decide to take a ride in the country on their motorcycles. They discover an old railroad water tower and, knowing Jackley once worked for the railroad, decide to investigate. They find the treasure, Mr. Robinson is cleared, the Boys get a reward and a big dinner party for them and their chums at Applegate's mansion.
Comments: Since it's the first book in the series, this is probably the most read Hardy Boys story. Everyone seems to know the basic plot (Sure, why not? It was recounted in chapter 2 of just about every one of the next 57 books!) Nevertheless, this is the book that launched a dynasty. Nancy Drew, Rick Brant and every other juvenile hero that followed owes something to this book and this series. Of course, the Hardy Boys owe a debt to the paripatetic and socially maladjusted Rover Boys but I digress.
There's plenty of action and plenty of laughs to be found here. Who can forget the "time bomb" in Rocco's fruitstand? The Bayport PD is hilariously portrayed as a group of bumbling incompetents, a depiction that would be toned down considerably in future volumes. It's no wonder, with such a police force, that Bayport is beset with crime of every type! This story is further improved by the lack of the obnoxious Aunt Gertrude. The Boys do some decent detecting and Fenton lends a big hand. Of course, their finding of the lost treasure is, as usual, pretty much a matter of dumb luck.
According to Leslie McFarlane's autobiography, Ghost of the Hardy Boys, he poured all his not inconsiderable talent into this story and it shows. The plot moves right along, the characters seem fairly realistic and the dialog is pretty snappy.
I've often wondered why, after all the trouble old man Applegate caused him, Mr. Robinson went back to work for the old geezer instead of slapping him with a wrongful arrest suit and maybe even giving the old coot a well deserved sock on the jaw! Then again, based upon his actions, Mr. Robinson is hardly the brightest candle on the birthday cake!
The plot of the revised text version of this story sticks pretty close to the original but the prose seems hurried and lacks the charm of the original.
Rating: A+ Revised text: C+
This book is available from Amazon.com: The Tower Treasure
From: email@example.com (Robert Neul)
"Good Work," he exclaimed with a grin.
I'm 48 and have been reading the HBs since I was old enough to read. I have all original editions until "The Whale Tattoo". I am impressed by your site and your 'zine. Please add me to your list of subscribers. I will contribute as time allows.
For my money, "The Mystery of the Flying Express", though flawed, is a great example of the thriller genre where the boys travel by different modes and meet different enemies. There is never a dull moment from the first "ach" to the final roundup of the thinly disguised nazi spys.
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Readers - This is your forum to tell the world your thoughts on the Hardys!
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