Welcome to the Bayport Times.
This month featuring new collectible discoveries, letters, my review of The Great Airport Mystery and more!
The Bayport Times turned two years old this month. And they said it wouldn't last!
The Bayport Times got a nice review in Minnesota's Monticello Times a few months back.
You can read it at http://www.montitimes.com/newspage/opinion1999/dc50.html.
Special thanks to editor/author Don Smith, who was kind enough to send me a copy of the article.
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Hardy Boys Take On New Mystery: How To Save A Small Town
by Rob O'Flanagan
The Sudbury Star - Sudbury, Ontario - October 11, 1999
Can the Hardy Boys save Haileybury?
Not by themselves, says Haileybury mayor David Parker. But the intrepid detective brothers - the heroes of countless books for boys - are an integral part of the northern town's long-term plans to convert from an historically mining-based town to one that relies heavily on tourism.
Parker is a director of the Association of Mining Municipalities of Ontario, and was a delegate to the organization's Sudbury conference on October 2 and 3.
The surprisingly optimistic gathering of AMMO leaders discussed an array of economic alternatives for communities that have depended on mining for their prosperity - from hosting special events (like Azilda's powerboat races) to turning slag into paving stones, and sulfur dioxide into usable products. Despite what the conference identified as a devastating down-turn in the mining sector, there were surprisingly few, if any, doom-and-gloom scenarios painted for the north during the gathering.
One of the most unique tourism-related initiatives was that of the Town of Haileybury, one of the fabled "Tri Towns" along Lake Timiskaming, about an hour and half north of North Bay. Anyone who has been up that way knows it as an area of great natural beauty. Haileybury was the childhood home of Hardy Boys author Leslie MacFarlane (or, rather Franklin W. Dixon, or is that Carolyn Keene?), the ghostwriter for a number of the books. For several years during the Great Depression, he lived and wrote the mysteries in the town. (But he also has a strong Sudbury connection).
Parker, and Haileybury Heritage Museum director, Chris Oslund, hope the Hardy Boys connection will become an identifying characteristic of the town, and a tourist draw. Just as Anne of Green Gables author, Lucy Maude Montgomery, packs them into the Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island region, Frank and Joe Hardy are expected to bring tourists up Highway 11.
"Haileybury is a former mining town," said Parker. "There are presently no mines, but a number of vacated mine shafts dot the landscape. We've tried to diversify in a number of areas. We have a particle board manufacturer located here, and recently, Scott Canoe relocated from New Liskeard to Haileybury. Leslie MacFarlane and the Hardy Boys are a part of the town's diversification plans, and a big part of our history."
MacFarlane's first typewriter was donated to the Heritage Museum by the author's grandson, said Oslund. A collection of early books, a few letters and artifacts are also on display. Currently, the museum and a local group called Ghosts of the Hardy Boys (the name is derived from MacFarlane's compelling autobiography) are planning a number of events to promote Haileybury as MacFarlane's home.
But, interestingly, Sudbury has its own Hardy Boys related claim to fame. Sudbury's resident Hardy Boys expert and avid Hardy Boys mystery collector, Kennedy Gordon, says the very first book in the series was written right here in Sudbury. And under tremendously romantic circumstances. During the 20s, MacFarlane worked as a reporter for the fledgling Sudbury Star under the tyrannical Bill Mason. When MacFarlane published his first short story in the Toronto Star Weekly, Mason commented: "The Star Weekly must be goddamn hard up for stuff to fill their lousy paper. Oh well, from now on you won't have any spare time for turning out junk. Hockey season starts next week."
MacFarlane, said Gordon, a Star reporter, wrote The Tower Treasure in a cabin on Ramsey Lake, for a fee of $125. He wrote it quickly, and paddled a canoe across the lake in order to mail the historic manuscript to Edward Stratemeyer, the man who conceived the Hardy Boys story ideas, and had ghostwriters flesh them out. MacFarlane wrote under the name Franklin W. Dixon (and briefly under the name Carolyn Keene, among others). In his autobiography he wrote that he never knew what the "W" stood for, "but it sure wasn't 'wealthy.' "
Stratemeyer was clear in his instructions to MacFarlane on what kind of boys the Hardy Boys were. They were to be wholesome American boys, and although they had girlfriends who made regular appearances in the stories, there was to be, MacFarlane wrote, "none of the knee-pawing, tit-squeezing stuff that was sneaking in to so much popular fiction, to the disgust of all right thinking people."
MacFarlane wrote a mind-boggling array of books, radio, film and television scripts throughout his long career. He died in Whitby, Ontario in 1977.
Rob O'Flanagan is a newspaper reporter, author (The Stories We Tell, White Mountain Press, 1998), poet and musician who, until recently, thought The Hardy Boys was just a '70s TV show.
Fueling rumors of a new Hardy Boys TV show, this small excerpt of script, purportedly salvaged from a discarded floppy disk from the office of Steven Bochco, has reached my attention. SCENE: The boys bedroom, evening.
Fade in to tight shot on Joe.
Joe (frustrated): This case has me beat Frank!
Quick cut to Frank.
Frank: Did you give all the suspects a good tune-up?
Pull back to medium shot of Frank & Joe
Joe: Yeah, I gave those skells a real good going over.
Pull in to extreme close up on Frank
Frank: I'll see if I can reach out to Chief Collig.
Quick cut back to Joe.
Joe: I'll keep a good thought.
Quick cut to wide shot of Frank & Joe.
Frank, for no reason whatsoever, removes his pants.
Fade out on Frank's butt.
This month: The Great Airport Mystery
#9 in the series - 1930
Written by Leslie McFarlane
The Plot: Bayport's got a nifty new airport on the outskirts of town and Frank and Joe decide to pay a visit. Longtime Hardy fans know well that no trip undertaken in the first chapter goes smoothly and, sure enough, when nearing the airport they narrowly avoid getting hit by a crashing plane! They go to rescue the pilot, Giles Ducroy, who is drunk and blames them for the crash! However, a friendly farmer has seen the whole thing and backs up the Boys.
Comments: This isn't among the best stories written by McFarlane although there still is plenty to like - particularly his sidelights of the Boys with their chums and the interweaving of characters from previous stories. The climax, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Compare the long thrilling shoot-out in The House On The Cliff to the brief, almost perfunctory capture described here to see what I mean. And just where did Frank and Joe come up with those pistols anyway? And what about that package of Red Ribbon cigarettes Frank found? Nothing ever came of that either!
You can buy the unrevised version reprinted by Applewood Books from AMAZON.COM
The Eclectic Mr. Morton
When not busy wolfing down one of Aunt Gertrude's fresh-baked pies, Chet Morton,
everybody's favorite fat chum, seems to find the time for a wide variety of hobbies.
Can you match the hobby to the story?
From: Wardo68@aol.com (Ward Whipple)
Ah, how I used to while away a cloudy cool Saturday morning with a Hardy Boys book. Just spent this morning whiling away the hours with the Bayport Times. Your website is quite handy to demonstrate to my wife that I'm nowhere near as obsessive as others when it comes to the boys. She's not convinced. Somewhere around 1975 or 1976, so I would have been 7 or 8, my friend Danny Katzive was telling me about this great book he was reading called While The Clock Ticked. Danny was my intellectual friend, as he read as much as I did.
He lent me The Tower Treasure, which I began reading on the spot. He had to keep telling me to stop reading aloud the exciting plot turns on every page, as he'd already read it and was really trying to decipher While The Clock Ticked. I was hooked.
Being the mid-70s, the books I grew up on were the final revised editions one can still buy new today -- blue hardcovers, checklist in the back, 176 to 180 pages. For the next few years I began collecting my own. Birthdays and Christmases were always a thrill to find what new Hardy Boys books (and Beatles records, but that's another story) I could read and file in order with its brothers.
I seem to recall finding an offer for a Hardys-type book-of-the-month club on a cereal box; for a small price you could start out with Tower Treasure and they'd send you the rest over a period of time. That was how I got my copy of TT; we didn't opt for the subscription.
By the time I was 12 or 13 my interest had waned, and they weren't as cool as I'd hoped. Going into the 6th grade at a new school as a typical geek was hard enough. For a couple of summers in my teen years I'd still find 3 bucks to blow on another volume and kill a few hot days with it. I kept them all in a box, about 29 or so (including the Detective Handbook) that got slightly mildewy and warped sitting on the carpeting in a corner of my basement bedroom that got rained in occasionally.
In 1997 I was in the process of ending a live-in relationship with a young lady, and I was about to go out of town for my cousin's wedding. For company and nostalgia's sake I brought While The Clock Ticked and What Happened At Midnight with me. I found I could read them a lot quicker at 29 than I could at 9! Upon returning I put all the books on a small two shelved bookcase that housed them perfectly and began searching used book shops and websites for the missing volumes in the series.
I couldn't just buy any I'd found; they all had to be the same editions as if I'd bought them all new in the late 70s, as those were the ones I'd read. To this day I still haven't read any of the original text volumes; some may call it sacrilege, but you gotta go with what you know.
A few weeks ago I received The Masked Monkey through an eBay auction. I haven't even read it yet, as I know when I do I will have to file it in it's spot on the shelf and my search will have officially ended. When I told a friend that I got the last volume I need he said, "Great. Does this mean you'll finally stop talking about them?" I assured him I couldn't. 1999 was also the year I got married, but I can say that it was nice for other reasons too. And I did find a beatup original text of TT for 2 dollars. There's always other holes to fill.
I could swear I saw Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew spines on a shelf in the living room on the Fox TV show That 70s Show. Also the Simpsons made an affectionate jab at them recently too, but you probably knew that.
Thanks for the memories and keep em coming,
From: email@example.com (Kennedy Gordon)
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