Welcome to the Bayport Times.
This month featuring new collectible discoveries, letters, my review of What Happened At Midnight and more!
British Hardy Page Updated
Jon Preddle, an avid fan from New Zealand, has updated his article on the publishing history of the Boys in Great Britain. I've also added many new scans to this page. Check it out on the British page of the Unofficial Hardy Boys Home Page!
The End Of The Hardy Boys
The Hardy spin-off series, "The Clues Brothers", has reached the end of the line. As of now, #17 The Bike Race Ruckus (due for release this spring), is scheduled to be the last in the series.
Also, it doesn't look like there will be any more of the 3 in 1 Casefiles Collector's Editions either.
The Digests will continue but I don't know at what rate or for how long. The latest Digest was delayed a few months in publication.
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This month: What Happened At Midnight
#10 in the series - 1931
Written by Leslie McFarlane
The Plot: Bayport's got one of those new-fangled Automats and Chet Morton (who else?) brings the Boys and the rest of the gang down to sample its culinary treats. The lads engage in some "innocent" horseplay with some farmboys from Crabb Corners and Joe stumbles into a large, blond man (Chris) who becomes enraged and makes a scene that the manager of the Automat is forced to break up. Shortly thereafter, more "innocent" horseplay with the same farmboys causes Joe to stumble into the same guy again, causing him to drop his package, which breaks open in the gutter. Doubly enraged now, the man threatens Joe and only the intervention of Frank prevents a nasty street brawl.
That night, the Boys and the rest of the gang attend a party at the Morton farm. Joe and Iola go for a stroll and, at the stroke of midnight, Joe gets abducted! Their chums suspect a practical joke by the Crabb Corners crew, Frank doesn't agree and they conduct a search. When Joe doesn't turn up by the next morning, Frank is forced to tell his mother. He then spends the next few chapters hunting for Joe until Aunt Gertrude shows up for a chapter and a half of almost unneccesary and time wasting ranting.
The old bat does drop a couple of clues however and Frank dashes out of the house to round up the gang and go searching for Joe. They spend a couple of chapters sailing the Sleuth around the caves near Barmet Bay, getting caught in a sudden fog and almost run into by a tug boat, until they find Joe stashed away in a secluded cave. They make an escape with the kidnappers in hot pursuit. As the bad guys hurl boulders and take pot-shots at them, the Boys and the gang sail away in the Sleuth. The end --- hey wait a minute! It's only Chapter 11!
Joe explains that his kidnapper was the big blond guy, Chris, who is involved with a gang of diamond smugglers. Seems that Chris had thought that Joe had seen the smuggled diamonds he dropped in the street back in Chapter 2 and so kidnapped Joe to keep him from going to the cops.
The next day, Joe is feeling better and they begin to tail Chris, following him all the way to New York City. There they discover that Chris is a member of the notorious Taffy Marr smuggling gang. They have a few adventures in the Big Apple, culminating with Joe having his pocket picked, forcing them to hitchhike all the way back to Bayport!
On their way back, they wash dishes for breakfast at a greasy spoon and manage to get a ride with a couple of Justice Department investigators. Amazingly enough, the investigators are not only going to Bayport but they are also investing the Taffy Marr gang and give the Boys the lowdown on the gang.
Back in Bayport, the Boys deduce that the new clerk at the jewelry store is none other than Taffy Marr in disguise! They tail him to the airport, where he charters a private plane. Due to the connections they made there in the last story (The Great Airport Mystery), the Boys are able to get a pilot and plane in short order and begin chasing Marr. Taking a page from just about any Ted Scott story, the plane not only runs into fog but the engine conks out, forcing all aboard to bail out!
Well, it's back to Bayport again, where, the next day, they get a report that Taffy Marr has been spotted in town. Hooking up with the two Justice Department investigators, they chase Marr out along the Shore Road (in a violent rain storm, naturally!). Marr has hooked up with some of his gang members and a battle ensues. The bad guys are captured of course and the Boys get to split yet another reward. The next evening, there is a small celebration for the Boys at the Morton farm and all the loose ends are tied up. The End.
Comments: This isn't a bad story but, for a number of reasons, it's never been a favorite of mine.
For one thing, Leslie McFarlane seems to be pandering to his audience here. The "innocent horseplay" that is so glibly dismissed as youthful hijinks in the first two chapters is only slightly short of criminal behavior and certainly is not what we expect of our heroes or their chums.
And how about that party at Chet's for 15 to 17 year olds that goes on until 2 AM, complete with orchestra and in the middle of the greatest economic depression in the country's history?
For another thing, Aunt Gertrude is at her obnoxious, overbearing worst in this story. For whatever other faults the villain Chris may have had, one can only admire his audacity for standing up to the old hag. Just once I'd like to see perennial jellyfish Laura Hardy get enough gumption to stand up to Gertie and say something along the lines of "Gertrude, you old battle axe, this is my house and these are my boys, so kindly shut up and mind your own business if you wish to continue sponging off us!" but, alas, Laura has never said a word.
Another odd thing is the complete absence of Fenton, who is out west on a case. Not a word from him or to him, even when Joe is kidnapped! I kept expecting him to show up and somehow tie his current case into the plot but he never did. Instead, those two dopey government agents show up for the climax. It would have been just as easy to tie Fenton into the plot, so why use those two dopes at all?
Those of you interested in the "Where's Bayport?" question can find some info on that here. It's clearly stated that NYC is about 200 miles from Bayport, although in which direction is unclear.
We also discover another Hardy relative, a "Cousin Hattie" of Gresham. Just who she is related to is open for speculation but it is Gertie who refers to her as cousin. We also learn the Gertie is 65 years of age, which has to make her Fenton's elder, if not eldest, sister.
The one part of the story I particularly enjoyed was the Boys' trip to the city. Their adventures there are plausible and well written. The recounting of their trek back to Bayport (sleeping in Central Park, taking trollies etc.) lends an air of authenticity to the story.
The original text version of What Happened At Midnight by Applewood Books is available from AMAZON.COM.
Frank & Joe To The Rescue
| The Great Hardy Boys Quiz |
The Boys have come to the rescue of dozens of characters in their long career.
Can you match the character to the story?
Answers at bottom of page.
|01: Juan Marcheta ||A: A Figure In Hiding |
|02: Raymond Dalrymple ||B: The Yellow Feather Mystery |
|03: Todham Todd ||C: The Secret Of Wildcat Swamp |
|04: Asa Grable ||D: The Missing Chums |
|05: Virginia Sinder ||E: While The Clock Ticked |
|06: Mrs. Sanderson ||F: The Tower Treasure |
|07: Thaddeus McClintock ||G: The Mark On The Door |
|08: Gregory Woodson ||H: Footprints Under The Window |
|09: Hurd Applegate ||I: The House On The Cliff |
|10: Jadbury Wilson ||J: The Clue Of The Broken Blade |
|11: Chet Morton & Biff Hooper ||K: The Phantom Freighter |
|12: Sam Lee ||L: The Disappearing Floor |
|13: Fenton Hardy ||M: The Flickering Torch Mystery |
|14. Eben Adar ||N: Hunting For Hidden Gold |
|15: Narvey Webster ||O: The Secret Of The Caves |
Hi! Spent some more time browsing your HB sites. I have not visited for a while, and I am impressed. I love the cover art collection! Very nice, detailed guides--I wish I had had access to this several years ago.
Great Job! - Robert L. Crawford
EDITOR: Bob Crawford is the author of "The Lost Hardys: A Concordance".
Just wanted to say that the "Mike Humbert Dept" always has me laughing out of my chair. - Ward
Kindly let me know the name of the book in which Iola Morton dies. What happens to her? I was shocked when I read about it in one of the later books. My daughter and I have been reading Hardy Boys for a year now. We especially love the closeness between the brothers.'Why did you hit my brother?' demanded Joe angrily when someone beat Frank. Wow! I read that line about a hundred times that day. Kudos to Franklin W. Dixon who never sinks to melodramatics. - Tina
I recently found my old Hardy Boys books and decided to put the whole set together. After looking at a few book stores and online auctions I, of course, foud out about all the 1st editions, Dust Jacket books and all sorts of things I never knew about. It will be exciting to get a few of these to add to the bunch! Anyway, to get to the purpose of my email, with all the revisions, 1st and 2nd editions, etc, etc, I was looking into getting a copy of a book to help me identify all the different kinds of books. I am quite new to antique books, so I don't know much about endpapers, and the like. I noticed that Amazon is out of print of The Bayport Comanion. This seems to be the type of book I'm interested in. eBay also seems to rarely have them. I was wondering if you sold or had access to or knowledge of where this book can be purchased. As well, I was interested in a few other reference guides if you had a suggestion as to which are better than others. This is really turning into fun side project, although I was VERY surprised to see that some editions are selling for upwards of 100.00!! Eventually I may look into one or two of those! Anyway, thank you very much for any help you could give me!! - Garry
Can anyone tell me if the Parker Stevenson/Shaun Cassidy Fan Club is still running? If so, could you please give me more information? I look forward to hearing from you soon! - Ned Felstead
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Quiz Answers: 1-G, 2-E, 3-O, 4-M, 5-A, 6-C, 7-K, 8-B, 9-F, 10-N, 11-D, 12-H, 13-I, 14-L, 15-J