|Issue # 15 April 1999 Editor: Bob Finnan|
Welcome to the Bayport Times.
This month featuring new collectible discoveries, letters, an article on the Bayport-Sudbury connection and a guest review of The Secret Panel.
SOUTH JERSEY SERIES COLLECTORS MEETING
Sea Bright NJ - Saturday April 17
Displays, guest speakers, book sales & more!!!!!
Click Here For Details
I would like to set up a cover art gallery for the digests.
If anyone out there has a scanner and access to all the digests, please contact me. Thanks!
Due to the underwhelming response to my last plea, I STILL need your help to locate the following books for my personal collection:
2 in 1 editions: #8 Sinister Signpost/Figure In Hiding; #9 Secret Warning/Twisted Claw
Hardy Boys Classic: Treasure Island
Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys Campfire Stories
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
NEW WEB SITE
A nice page on Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys 70's TV show and other Nancy/Hardy stuff: http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Towers/5567/ndhb.html
AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR...
I've just added many new books to my SALES PAGE .
Many Hardy Boys with DJ's and dozen's of like new PC editions as well as other series like Tom Swift, Tom Corbett and more.
If you would like to contribute an article, letter or announce a new Hardy Boys discovery, please send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org - Please use "Bayport Times" as your subject heading.
See you next time!
- New Collectible Discoveries
I quote from the description given on eBay: Very Interesting Photo Art Layout for short lived Cartoon Live action & cartoon series from the Hardy Boys. Picture shows old ABC cameras filming rock & roll scene from the show. Bottom Has stamp that reads Service art dept. 906. Account RCA. This could have been used as picture of a record. Large Matte around picture.That is a bit damaged on corners but the photo Art is C9 shape.
Shaun Cassidy/Hardy Boys Jewelry Display Stand
Measures approx. 18" high by 16" wide.
An 8MM film version of one the Hardy Boys animated shows turned up. This 200 foot long excerpt was marketed by Castle Films.
- New On The Shelves
The Hunt For the Four Brothers (#155)
| The Bayport-Sudbury Connection |
By Kennedy Gordon
Leslie MacFarlane, the man who turned the Hardy Boys from a basic notion on paper into breathing, living characters to be loved by millions, started out as a reporter in the remote Canadian North.
And the places he lived would later turn up in the books he wrote.
A couple of years on the Cobalt Nugget, the only paper in the rough-and-tumble mining towns of Ontario's northeast, led to his first big job: reporter with The Sudbury Star.
While the paper is still being published today, the building where McFarlane worked vanished in the 50s. Back then, the paper was owned and run — with an iron fist and and a mercury mouth — by Bill Mason. He ran his staff ragged, sending young McFarlane all over the thriving mining city to gather stories on everything from how the trains were running to how many fights broke out at the hockey game. MacFarlane spent his long days exploring this frontier city, meeting its characters and seeing its sights. He even shared a drink or three with Ernest Hemingway, then a Toronto Star reporter, who paid periodic visits to Sudbury to write about the mining scene.
MacFarlane didn't last too long before heading into the United States, where he soon linked up with the Stratemeyer Syndicate.
But his years in Sudbury, which then had a population of about 50,000 but has quadrupled since, had an effect on him, notably in his early descriptions of Bayport. Elements of Sudbury — and bits of North Bay, a neighbouring city — can be found in several spots.
Whenever the Hardy Boys ventured into the criminal-ridden waterfront area of Bayport, they were sure to encounter unsavoury characters and potential violence at every turn.
When MacFarlane lived in Sudbury, there was a neighbourhood known as the Borgia Market, a place where good folks just didn't go. Even its name reeked of evil goings-on.
Several narrow, cramped streets teemed with cheap beer halls, greasy diners and dollar-a-night hotels. Ragged boys lived in the alleys, drunken louts roamed the streets, and the odds of stumbling onto a crime in progress were quite good indeed.
The Borgia is long gone, replaced by a massive shopping mall.
Just a few blocks away was Sudbury's early residential areas. Now given over largely to apartments, these streets are easy to picture as High and Elm; several stately stone homes still stand, and one can envision a yellow coupe parked in their driveways.
The Sudbury area has almost everything MacFarlane needed: dense forests filled with winding, dark roads; rural farmland; highways leading off in all directions; good guys, bad guys and a high school with a heck of a football team.
Run-down old homes hid in the woods, waiting to be explored. Travellers passed through constantly, bringing mysteries and secrets with them.
Sudbury has a lot of Bayport in it, and vice versa.
One thing Sudbury didn't have — and still doesn't — is a waterfront. Yes, there are beaches, but a full-fledged port just doesn't exist.
But North Bay, an hour down the highway, was a bustling port in MacFarlane's day. He had to have spent time there, as it was the nearest city to his home in Haileybury. Fed by tree-shrouded rivers, North Bay's harbour is ringed by Lakeshore Drive — the Shore Road.
Every writer is influenced by the things that surround him, and the geography and cityscape are no exception.
MacFarlane returned to Sudbury to write the first of this new Hardy Boys series Stratemeyer had cooked up. He set himself up in a $100-a-year cabin on the shores of Ramsey Lake and got to work.
The cabin where McFarlane lived is long gone. In fact, the isolated rural shoreline is now one of the most desired neighbourhoods in Sudbury; the lake is lined with homes worth half a million dollars or more.
It's also the site of Laurentian University, a sprawling complex of gleaming white and silver buildings.
But in the 20s, this area was deep bush, accessible only by water. And that's how MacFarlane got around. He'd climb into his canoe every day and paddle across the water to the opposite shore, from where it was just a short walk to Sudbury's downtown.
Once there, he would visit the post office — that gorgeous old stone building was demolished to make way for a Woolworth's store in the 50s — do a bit of shopping, maybe grab a bite at one of the many lunch counters that catered to the miners and then trek back to the lake for the paddle home.
Back in the cabin, he'd open his mail. It could be a cheque, or the outline for a new book, or correspondence with the syndicate.
Then he'd get to work, punching out adventure stories on a battered old typewriter.
Yes, that cabin is gone. But the books remain. And it's a point of civic pride in Sudbury that The Tower Treasure, one of the most pivotal children's books ever published, was created right here.
To find out more about MacFarlane's times in Sudbury, read his autobiography, Ghost of the Hardy Boys.
This Month: The Secret Panel
#25 in the series - 1946 - Text by Leslie McFarlane
Reviewed by Stew Thornley
The Plot: The first day's adventures introduce a number of mysteries which, of course, all turn out to be related. Frank and Joe encounter a man named John Mead on the road. Mead is headed out of town and gives the Hardys a key to his mansion on the north shore of Barmet Bay with a request for them to turn out a light he left on. The mystery deepens when Chief Collig tells the boys that John Mead is dead and a visit to the Mead property reveals a house with no visible knobs, locks, or keyholes on the doors. (It's later explained that the deceased John Mead--the uncle of the man the Hardys met on the road--was a locksmith who so tired of looking at locks and keyholes that he built a home with all such hardware hidden.) When Frank and Joe get home, they find a man, Mike Matton, apparently trying to break into their house. Matton satisfies the boys with the explanation that he works for Ben Whittaker, the local locksmith, and had been changing a lock at Laura Hardy's request. Frank and Joe later learn that their mother made no such request and that Matton, who by this time has disappeared, has stolen expensive hardware off the doors of other Bayport residents. Meanwhile, Chet has purchased a dory, which he names The Bloodhound, that proves to be unseaworthy and sinks on its first trip into the Barmet Bay. Fenton tells Frank and Joe about his latest case, tracking down museum thieves who are using innovative methods to overcome sophisticated locks and burglar alarms. The busy first day concludes with a midnight visit from Fanny Stryker, who seeks Fenton's help in finding her son, Lenny, who had phoned her that evening to say he had been shot in the leg and was being held behind a secret panel.
Fenton is reluctant to help Mrs. Stryker but reconsiders when Dr. Lyall shows up at the Hardy home the next morning with news that he had been kidnaped the night before and forced to treat a young man with a gunshot wound in his leg. Fenton wonders if this is connected with the museum thieves, a gang he believes is headed by Whitey Masco. Dr. Lyall leaves the Hardys with a valuable clue, that 10 minutes before arriving at the destination, the car he was being held in had stopped at a traffic light that appeared to hum. Before Frank and Joe can leave to search for humming traffic lights, Aunt Gertrude arrives for an extended visit (unannounced, of course), in a worse mood than usual since her house keys had been stolen on the bus trip to the Hardys. Frank, Joe, and Chet find a humming traffic light at 4th and Upton and follow the roads 10 minutes in different directions, resulting in a series of adventures but no leads as to the location of the secret panel. Later that day, Frank and Joe find a way into the Mead mansion and explore its interior. On the way home, they come across another humming traffic light. Following the road to the north, they pass the Mead property and end up after 10 minutes at a garage, where they find a book stolen from the Hamilton Museum, one of the museums that had been robbed. The book had been dropped by a recent customer to the garage. Before the day concludes, Frank and Joe get caught up in an encounter with the man who had sold Chet the dory. The man had summoned Chet to a house at 47 Packer Street. Upon learning that the dory had sunk, the man attacked Chet and later Frank and Joe, who arrived in search of Chet.
The next day starts with a visit from another doctor who was kidnaped and forced to treat a young man with a gunshot wound in his leg. The day ends with an intruder entering the Hardy home and stealing one of Fenton's files. While in the house, he learns that Martha Johnson, an old family friend who stopped by for a visit with Laura and Aunt Gertrude, is a nurse. The man waits outside and kidnaps Miss Johnson when she leaves so she can administer aid to the young man with the gunshot wound in his leg. Unlike the two doctors kidnaped for the same reason, Miss Johnson is not released.
The activities pick up on the fourth day. At a county fair in Harlington, Frank and Joe become suspicious of a man who is able to win money at one of the carnival exhibits by picking a lock. Frank and Joe strike up a conversation with the lock picker, who runs away when he learns who the boys are. The Hardys later return to Harlington and spot the lock picker in a drug store buying first aid supplies. Frank purchases a disguise and hops in the lock picker's car, hiding on the floor behind the front seat. He learns the lock picker's name is Jeff when Jeff picks up Griff, the man who had sold Chet the boat and ambushed the Hardys at the house on Packer Street. Griff and Jeff discover Frank in the back of the car and order him out as Frank puts on an act as a moron who just likes to ride in the back of people's cars. In their own car, Frank and Joe trail Griff and Jeff to a public dock and ferry crossing. Afraid that Griff and Jeff had gotten on the ferry, the discouraged brothers return home.
The Hardys and Chet go back the next day to investigate the area around the public dock. En route, they come across another humming traffic light. After arriving at the dock and ferry crossing, they continue down a road along the water's edge, which, after a total of 10 minutes of driving from the humming traffic light, puts them at the Mead mansion. They enter, find the secret panel, and discover Miss Johnson and Lenny Stryker behind it; however, they are captured by Griff and Jeff and locked behind the panel.
When the boys don't return home that evening, Laura and Aunt Gertrude become frantic. Fenton investigates and ends up at the Mead mansion. John Mead then arrives at the Hardy home to pick up the key he had lent to Frank and Joe. Eventually everyone--Mead, Laura, Aunt Gertrude, and a Bayport police officer--meet Fenton and his operatives at the mansion. Inside, Fenton finds the secret panel. Before it can be opened, Mike Matton arrives and is captured by Fenton. Matton, as it turns out, was there only to try to sell stolen hardware to Masco and knows nothing about the secret panel.
After Matton is taken away, Fenton opens the panel, releasing the captives. They then stake out the inside of the house and capture Whitey Masco when he shows up soon after.
Over the next week, the rest of the gang is captured, and the entire story is revealed:
Whitey Masco is Lenny Stryker's uncle, halfbrother of his father. Masco had tricked Lenny into accompanying the gang on a robbery, and Lenny was shot in the leg by a guard. Before being imprisoned behind the secret panel, Lenny was able to call his mother from the mansion.
Masco, who had befriended the now-deceased John Mead some years before, had been using one of Mead's inventions to bypass sophisticated locks on museums and silence burglar alarms.
Chet's dory had come from the Mead boathouse. Griff had sold it to Chet, then needed to get it back when he found that the dory contained a box with some of the Masco's loot in it.
It was a heretofore unnamed character named Bondy who stole Fenton's file and then kidnaped Miss Johnson.
Comments: This has always been my favorite book in the series. That may be in part because it was the first one that I read--as a nine-year-old in 1964--but it's consistent with my enjoyment of other titles in the series that deal with mysterious homes such as the Mead mansion. The clue of the humming traffic light was a good one, leading to all sorts of interesting developments as the Hardys went off in different directions in search of the secret panel. However, Frank and Joe should have considered the Mead home as the possible site of the secret panel long before they discovered that the mansion was 10 minutes from one of the humming traffic lights. A number of strange occurrences had happened at the mansion. Once, Frank heard a voice inside the house that he thought was Joe's but later learned it wasn't; the same thing happened later when Joe heard a groan he thought was from Frank, who had received a shock from an electrical panel. By this time, the Hardys had also found that there was a connection between Chet's dory and the Mead mansion. Fenton displayed greater perspicacity with his decision to go to the Mead mansion when Frank and Joe ended up missing--even though Fenton did not know that the house was 10 minutes from a humming traffic light.
The 1969 revised version of the book sticks pretty much to the same story, with some slight changes in characters and character names. Also, the thieves Fenton is tracking have been stealing televisions and stereo equipment rather than robbing museums. The condensing of the book from 25 to 20 chapters brought about a loss of much of the original version's abundant detail by Leslie McFarlane. However, part of the condensing merely did away with some redundancies, such as the second visit from a kidnaped doctor; a couple of cliffhangers, such as the cave-in the Hardys get caught in on a construction site that is 10 minutes away from one of the humming traffic lights; and some extraneous features, such as the submarines being built as pleasure craft by a friend of Fenton's. There are other changes that are common in the revised version, most notably the toning down of the negative portrayal of the Bayport Police Department. Collig comes across as genial and competent in the original, but Policeman Riley appears with his usual buffoonishness. In the revised version, Riley actually seems competent (or, at the very least, not incompetent). My biggest lament with the revision is that is was done after a new cover-art style was introduced in 1966. Titles revised before this time retained their existing cover art, but The Secret Panel, along with others, got the new art, which is vastly inferior. Gone was the picture of Frank and Joe opening the secret panel, with the detailed ornamentation on the woodwork evident, revealing Miss Johnson and Lenny Stryker behind the panel. The new cover shows Whitey Masco in front of a plain paneled wall threatening Frank and Joe with a cutting torch (an event which did not even take place in the original version).
Some interesting features from The Secret Panel: There is virtually no involvement with other members of the gang, even though the entire adventure takes place in the Bayport area. The only encounter with other chums comes when Tony Prito enters the drug store in Harlington and fails to recognized the disguised Frank. Helen Osborne makes an appearance as a girl Chet likes. (In the revised version, Helen is referred to as "Chet's girl" and is part of a triple-date involving the Hardys, Chet, Iola, and Callie.)
Robert Crawford, in The Lost Hardys: A Concordance, is unable to specifically site the Mead mansion on the map he has drawn of the Bayport area. Although it's clear that the mansion was on the north shore of Barmet Bay, Crawford is puzzled, with good reason, as to why the Shore Road is not mentioned. Crawford thinks the Mead mansion-- despite two references to the north shore--may actually be on the south shore because of its proximity to Harlington, which Crawford places on the southwest corner of Barmet Bay. I'm not sure how he determined that placement for Harlington, since I can't recall any details that indicated its location. Also, the Hardys passed the Mead mansion while traveling north from the second humming traffic light. It would seem, despite the absence of the Shore Road, that the Mead mansion was on the north side of Barmet Bay. Please note that my mention of this conundrum is in no way intended as a criticism of Crawford's book, which I think is terrific and should be purchased by every Hardy Boys' fan.
Rating: I give the original version an A, although I admit to being a bit prejudiced since this was my first Hardy Boys book. Even though the revised version follows the same story line, the loss of the rich prose drops the grade to C+.
From: WA2KBZ@aol.com (Karl)
My favorite story is still the "Twisted Claw".
Bayport is an amalgam; I grew up just a bit north of the author's home, at north end of NJ sea coast. The only cliffs were in my town, just inside Sandy Hook. She was in Barnegat, flat and a nice bay with an opening to sea. We have famous bay with Highlands overlooking it. I grew up on the 600 ft hill; it has a cliff (landslide onto train tracks). Name may be from Bayport, LI, or synonym of Barnegat/Sandy Hook. Barnegat is about 100 miles from NYC.
I was inspired by your site to look at some of this detail and variation, thanks!. Comparing the newest books with the same volume in the early editions is shocking in the reduction in expected vocabulary, descritions, etc., not just shortened text. Sad comment on our schools in past decade or so.
From: Vincent873@aol.com (Dan Vincent)
I feel really stupid writing you this, but I thought you would like to know of my closet habit.
I am a 43 year old professional Ph.D. man who grew up with the Hardy Boys. I couldn't get enough of them. I have every book published in the original series (I think there are about 55?) and I'm sure I have read every one at least five or six times. I am a voracious reader, so when I am bored on a rainy day, I still pull one down and read it. I'm sure I will be reading one of these blue books for the rest of my life. My secret wish has been to write a Hardy Book of my own. I even have the plot in my mind, which takes place here in Ohio, entailing a secret treasurer.
Just thought I'd let you know of my "habit"
From: email@example.com (Peter Cullun)
Hello! Just wrote to say that I really enjoy reading your virtual-pulp. I can hardly express what joy reading the Hardy Boys books brought to me as a child and how, as an adult, they can take me back to my childhood again. Simply by reading one. Any one. I remember when I turned 18 I actually got a little depressed. I mean, here I was 18 years old and I hadn't done anything with my life. The Hardy Boys had solved countless mysteries by the time they turned 18! Later I went into the arts and graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. My artwork has bordered on POP, and I have enjoyed excavating my past for nuggets of popular culture. Along the way I hope I've been creating my own personal mythology. The Hardy Boys have played a central role in this theme. Here are two images from a series of over thirty that I created. No, I'm not selling them, nor am I offering to paint others images on books, I just wanted to share with you a little of what makes those good old boys alive and well today. Those books have a power that transcends metaphor. As I said, when I read them again I am not just remembering my childhood, but I am re-experiencing it. Now that's something I want to be a part of, and anyway, If a tree falls in the forest and no one . . . I would ask that if a story is written but never read does that adventure ever happen? By reading I participated in a very direct way in those mysteries and I take no small credit for many of the mysteries they solved, I was telling them who the crooks were twenty pages before Frank and Joe figured it out for themselves! If only they'd listen to me more often. I recently went back and read the original books and found them to be very enjoyable. Not better, but enjoyable. Wait, before you start yelling, realize that I grew up with the 60's revisions. You fall in love with whatever Hardy Boys series you read as a child. The originals were far superior in writing, but they lacked that connection, that magic that I get from reading the same ones I was enraptured with in third and forth grade. So, here's to those irrepressible Hardys: Frank, Joe and Peter.
Oops, I almost forgot one very important thing, the credit information for the image is: Peter Cullum, Self Portrait as Hardy Boy, gouache and watercolor on bookcover, 1996 Thanks!
From: Stew.Thornleyfirstname.lastname@example.org (Stew Thornley)
I enjoy your newsletter a lot and would be happy to write a review/summary of my favorite book in the series, The Secret Panel. I hope I can get to it in the next month. What would be your deadline for it?
I'll try to pattern it after the other reviews I've seen, but if you have any specific guidelines, please let me know.
BTW, why did Fenton get one-half of the reward for capturing Snackley in The House on the Cliff, leaving Frank and Joe with the other half? Why didn't the three split it as one-third each? For that matter, shouldn't Tony Prito have received a share for his help? Just a few things to ponder.
From: email@example.com (Ilana Nash)
Nice job with the Bayport Times, as always.
Under your list of new discoveries: you've got the "Picture Disk" of Shaun Cassidy's third album, "Under Wraps." It came out while HB was still on the air, in 1978. I see these on eBay advertised as being from the UK. I think a lot of different records came this way.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John & Mary-Kathleen Young)
I am very impressed by the Bayport Times. So far I haven't seen anything as good for the Nancy Drew or Dana Girls books. I am trying to subscribe, and hope I have succeeded. This registration stuff was a little confusing.
I must say I am surprised at the popularity of 'Cabin Island', simply that so many people seemed to have that one book in common as their favourite. I love all the original books. Certain scenes from some really stuck in my mind: the large hand twitching and changing colour, then swivelling and pointing at the Hardy Boys in hiding in 'Sinister Signpost' always gave me a shiver. And I loved the 'Twisted Claw'--what an adventure! I don't think your magazine should waste time on the new books--anything past 1970 (or really past the 50s) isn't worthwhile. So far as I can see, they are merely appropriating the names of the characters.
You may be interested: if you visit the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City, and search the database of old TV shows using "Hardy Boys", it pulls up a episode or two of the Disney show in the 50s, and also a talk show interviewing Leslie Macfarlane promoting his autobiography from the 70s. All fascinating watching.
Keep up the good work!
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