The
Hardy Boys
Webzine
The Bayport Times, The Hardy Boys Webzine - Editor: Robert W. Finnan
Issue # 37    September 2002    Editor: Bob Finnan
The Unofficial
Hardy Boys
Home Page

Welcome to the Bayport Times.
This issue featuring a look at The Missing Chums, an examination of Hardy Boys cover art by Steve Servello as well as new collectible discoveries, letters and more!

Three Hardy Oddities Due This Fall!
Three new Hardy Boys related books have been announced for release this fall:
The Hardy Boys Guide To Life
3 In 1 Collectors Edition
Contains The Caribbean Cruise Caper, Daredevils and Skin And Bones
The House On The Point: A Tribute To Franklin W Dixon And The Hardy Boys by Benjamin Hoff.
I assume the Guide To Life will be similar to the currently available Nancy Drew Guide To Life.
Additionally, two more Hardy Boys Books-On-Tape have been announced for release this fall:
The Secret Of The Old Mill
The Missing Chums.
These join the currently available The Tower Treasure and The House On The Cliff.
All these can be ordered from Amazon.com by clicking on the links provided above..

Attention Canadian Fans!
Now you can order Hardy Boys (and other) books from Amazon.com's Canadian division. No more high postage, pay in Canadian dollars too! Amazon Canada has some books that aren't even available in the good old USA!
Just CLICK HERE!

Books Make Great Gifts!
Just about everyone appreciates getting a book as a gift. Check out the New On The Shelves section for the latest Hardy Boys stories or visit my Amazon Sales Page for a huge selection of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Chip Hilton, Judy Bolton, Horatio Alger, Harry Potter, Bowery Boys, 3 Stooges and other books, CD-ROMs, videos and DVDs - all discount priced.

Hardy Boys Discussion Group
The Hardy Boys e-mail discussion group is still going strong with over 300 members. It's easy to join too! If you are a Yahoo member, just go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HardyBoys/join otherwise fill in your email address in the form at the right and click on the Join Now button.
Plus you'll be notified whenever a new issue of The Bayport Times goes online!

Articles Needed
The Bayport Times always needs new Hardy Boys related articles, humor, book reviews or collectible discoveries. If you would like to become immortalized on the web, please E-Mail me at fwdixon@yahoo.com.


New Collectible Discoveries
Hardy Boys Swedish Edition Hardy Boys Swedish Edition
For some reason Swedish editions are turning up on eBay left and right!

Hardy Boys Publicity Photo Publicity Photo
From the 70's series.


Spanish Comic Book Spanish Comic Book
Tie-in to the animated series.
From the American Gold Key comic series.

Signature Card by Harriet Adams

F.W. Dixon Signature Card by Harriet Stratemeyer Adams


French Pirates Hill Hardy Boys Ashtray

French edition of The Secret of Pirates' Hill

Hardy Boys Ashtray

Australian Hardcover Hardy Boys Digest

 
Hardcover Australian edition of Mystery Of The Samurai Sword


New On The Shelves
Recent additions to the Hardy canon
All These Titles Are Available For Sale From Amazon.com - Just Click!
Hardy Boys Digest #166
Digests
NEW: Hide And Sneak (#174)
Speed Times Five (#173)
Trouble In Warp Space (#172)
The Test Case (#171)
COMING SOON: Trick Or Trouble (#175)
In Plane Sight (#176)
The Case Of The Psychic's Vision (#177)
The Mystery Of The Black Rhino (#178)
    
NEW!!!
Books On Tape

Two audio cassette set in an illustrated case.
Complete & Unabridged!

The Tower Treasure

The House On The Cliff

The Secret Of The Old Mill

The Missing Chums

Click Here To Buy Hardy Boys - The Hidden Harbor Mystery
Applewood Books
NEW: The Hidden Harbor Mystery (#14)
The Mark On The Door (#13)
Footprints Under The Window (#12)
While The Clock Ticked (#11)
What Happened At Midnight (#10)
The Great Airport Mystery (#9)
The Mystery Of Cabin Island (#8)

 
Click Here To Buy Me!

Ghost Stories
New Cover Art!


3 In 1 Collectors Edition
Contains The Caribbean Cruise Caper, Daredevils and Skin And Bones
A NEW HARDY BOYS E-BOOK !!!
#168 - The Castle Conundrum     For Microsoft Reader
Complete list of all available Hardy Boys and other books, videos, CD-ROMs and DVDs on
My Amazon.com Page

Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Chip Hilton, Harry Potter, The Bowery Boys, The 3 Stooges & More
PLUS
Visit My Used Book Sales Page

Many Collectible Series Books
Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift & More!

Hardys In Review
Hardy Boys - The Missing Chums
The Missing Chums
Number 4 in the revised series
Published in 1963
Written by James Buechler
Reviewed by Stephen L. Williams

 

Summary: The revised fourth book in the series has the Hardy Boys searching for their missing friends Chet Morton and Biff Hooper.

Chapter One: Exciting Assignment

Police Chief Collig requests Frank and Joe investigate fighting at a squatter camp called Shantytown located on the ocean shore north of Bayport. Afraid the transients in the camp would recognize the police, he asks the Hardys to go “undercover” to investigate. They were directed to wear old clothes and “muss” their hair so that they would fit in. Apparently the Chief had no qualified cops to perform this task so he had to resort to the use of teenagers. It should also be noted that the Hardys are on first name basis with and have direct access to every one in a position of authority in and around Bayport including the chief of police, the desk sergeant and the officer of the day at the local coast guard station.

The Boys and their pals Chet and Biff decide to investigate Shantytown by sea in the Sleuth. As usual with this series, bad things happen when this boat puts to sea. This time the Sleuth is almost swamped by a powerful black speedboat. Emergency corrective action then places the Sleuth in a collision course with racing sailboats.

Chapter Two: An Evening of Mystery

Quick action by Frank and the responsiveness of the Sleuth prevents a calamity. The later of which was observed by the men in the black speedboat. However, damage to their boats steering mechanism prevents the boys from following the other boat. While this was happening, a fog rolls in from the sea that will have future ramifications in the narrative.

The Sleuth was temporarily repaired and moored at the Hardy boathouse. The black speedboat was reported to the Coast Guard and a check of records provides no clue as to the ownership of the boat. The coast guard concludes the boat was not from the area but could possibly be from Northport, a town north of Bayport. In this discussion we see the close working relationship between the Hardys and police authorities, which would be highly unusual for boys in their late teens.

This chapter concludes with Frank and Joe discussing a costume party given later that night by the girlfriends of the boys and, during a subsequent visit to the costume shop, they encounter a lively discussion between the owner of the costume shop, Mr. French, and two strangers.

Chapter Three: Faces in the Fog

Given a lame excuse for the discussion, French tells the strangers the boys are sons of Fenton Hardy, the famous detective. The men pump the boys for information to no avail. Frank and Joe pick-up their costumes, a gorilla and magician respectively, and leave concluding the strangers were threatening the shop owner and head for home.

After frightening Aunt Gertrude and an appearance by their father, the boys sit down to a “delicious” chicken dinner. (Heaven forbid if it was a mediocre chicken dinner) The boys recap the days events with their parents who, with the exception of Aunt Gertrude, show little concern for the boys safety. Mrs. Hardy even goes as far to say “Frank and Joe know how to take care of themselves”. Talk about your parental responsibility!

While on an errand downtown to pick-up ice cream for the party, the boys observe a bank robbery in progress with the robbers masked as “Hideous Beasts” (Oh, those F.W. Dixon adjectives!). In Lieu of going to the party, the boys tail the robbers in the fog. Don’t worry about the ice cream ….its packed in dry ice!

Chapter Four: A Daring Getaway

Frank and Joe tail the robbers to the waterfront district onto a pier with four-foot fence that barred motorists from the end of the pier. The boys jumped this fence and chased the robbers down the pier!!!!! The robbers escape into the fog in a speedboat.

The coast guard and police arrive on scene. After much confusion, the boys are recognized as Hardys and not members of the robber gang. Frank suggests tracking the getaway boat with the Sleuth. The idiot chief Collig concurs. Yes, it is a good idea to send two teenagers after a boatload of criminals (presumed armed and dangerous) in the fog!!!!

Returning to their boathouse, the boys find the Sleuth stolen!

Chapter Five: Dancing Gorillas

The transition in narrative (bottom page 30) between Frank calling a buddy with a boat (Tony) and the boys walking into the coast guard station needs additional work. The editor reviewing this book must have been asleep!

The boys attempt to track the stolen Sleuth with Tony’s boat with no luck. The cops being not totally incompetent determine the getaway vehicle used in the back job was stolen from Northport. All is not lost however, the radio announces that Fenton Hardy is now on the case. Aunt Gertrude, in an epiphany, suggests that the robbers, hearing this information, may do anything to get the elder Hardy off the case.

Frank and Joe eventually get to the party and find out that their chums, Chet and Biff, are wearing almost the exact identical costumes. During horseplay Chet rips his mask. After the party, the parents of Chet and Biff in frantic late night phone calls to the Hardy residence, advise the boys that their friends have not come home for the night.

Chapter Six: A Perilous Slide

Returning to the location of the party, the Hardys conclude, after a short investigation, that the missing chums didn’t leave in Chet’s vehicle, nor where they staying with friends in the area.

This concludes the 1st day of the missing chums case. At this stage in the narrative, it was obvious the chums were snatched in error by the bad guys as a means to pressure Fenton Hardy off the case. However, the author(s) at this point had failed to establish a logical connection between the bad guys knowledge of the status of the elder Hardy (heard while on the stolen Sleuth) and their knowledge of the location of a private party. This issue would bug me for the rest book.

The following day, Frank falls off the Shore Road cliff and is rescued by Joe using his belt in a technique that is impossible to accomplish as described in the narrative. Also, the sketch on page 47 detailing this rescue does not show the belt.

The Sleuth is found and Chet’s torn mask is found floating in the sea off Shantytown.

Chapter 7: Dangerous Beach Combing

Collig was amazed at the boys discovery of the mask. Apparently they are working harder on the case than the cops. A P.M. visit to Shantytown results in an altercation with on of the residents, a man named Sutton. Joe observes this man talking to the black speedboat operator. The non-stop action slows down at this point.

Chapter 8: Postcard Puzzle

Additional parts of Chet’s costume are found behind Sutton’s shack. The costume parts are returned to Collig who is grateful for the only evidence so far gathered on the missing chums case. Upon returning home, the elder Hardy invites the boys to help on his bank robbery case. This concludes the second day of the case.

Since things have slowed down a bit, lets review the action of the bank robbers. In an effort to remove Fenton Hardy from the case, they have mistakenly grabbed the wrong boys. Assuming they recognize this error shortly thereafter, do the bad guys (A) kill the boys to eliminate witnesses; or (B) dump them off in the middle of nowhere! Any self respecting evil doer will always opt for …….(C) keep them around for the company. It may even be good idea to have the victims sign postcards alluding to a spur of the moment vacation that could be mailed to families and any interested detectives.

An interesting clue is found on the Sleuth. Broken glass! Turns out to be the remains of a complete 12 oz. soda bottle. Frank respectively gathers the pieces and puts them in his pocket!!!

Chapter Nine: The Old Salt’s Story

The boys motorboat up to Northport in search of clues and find the source of the postcard. It seems one of the individuals in the black speedboat purchased both the post card and the soda whose broken remains currently reside in Frank’s pocket. The boys subsequently phone the leads to Collig. Its a good thing too! Without the Hardys, the cops would have no leads.

Chapter 10: A Narrow Escape

The boys have an interesting side adventure in their search for the missing chums.

Chapter 11: Midnight Caller

Things are really slow now! This chapter begins with a little plot digression that speaks well of the boys character. They are loyal and will always stand up for those they believe to be innocent This activity concludes day three of the case of the missing chums.

Chapter 12: The Desolate Island

Frank and Joe motorbike to Shantytown and find soda bottles like that found on the Sleuth. They also find a thoroughly beaten-up Hank Sutton. Afterwards, the boys with friends decide to visit Hermit Island on the chance the missing friends may be there. The island is supposedly inhabited by a hermit.

Chapter 13: The Threatening Figure

The hermit chases the Hardy Gang off the island. Boy are they surprised when Chief Collig informs them that the hermit has been dead for sometime! Joe responds “He sure was a spry dead guy”.

Chapter 14: Signal Three

Joe and Frank observe an unusual communications system in the window of French’s costume shop. The same costume the boys were wearing the night the chums disappear are displayed in the window. The boys ponder the significance of this and decide to further investigate. Around back, they overhear a heated discussion about trying again to kidnap them “with no second mistake”.

The boys in an effort to obtain evidence and with the help of their father concoct a plan to allow the bad guys to capture themselves. The elder Hardy acknowledges the danger and concern for the safety of his sons, but is proud the boys are willing to risk capture for their friends. The Hardys return to the costume shop and to the amazement of the criminals, they show-up at the backdoor and allow themselves to be captured.

The boys are tied-up and taken to Shantytown where they are tossed in a shack and watched over by the least competent member of the criminal gang.

Chapter 15: Outwitting a Suspect

Frank and Joe manage to overcome their bonds and subdue the guard. The boys are rescued by a pal on the Bayport police force. Is there a cop on this force they don’t know? Anyway, a search of the shack reveals five rubber “horrible beast” masks hidden in a stove. (Why these items were still around was unexplained!)

The boys head for home and after a late cold chicken dinner (they sure eat a lot of chicken !), they went to bed. This concludes day four of the missing chums case.

Chapter 16: Skeleton Symbol

The next day, the Hardys returning to the costume shop note a skeleton costume in the window. While there, the boys meet their pals Tony and Jerry and decide that a revisit to Hermit island is in order (two boats would be taken). On the way and with “serious, determined faces” they pass a small boat leaving the island (event pictured on the book cover). Once ashore a cave is found with voices heard from within.

Chapter 17: Hermits Hideout

The voices turn out to be from a radio and a figure was seen asleep in the cave. The boys explore the island and Tony breaks his ankle in a slip. In returning to the boats, jackets worn during the robbery are found.

Chapter 18: Hidden Watchers

Frank and the injured Tony leave the island first to seek help followed by Joe and Jerry in the second boat. The bad guys return to the island and Joe, unable to get away in time, attempts to hide the boat in pines along the shore. Unfortunately, Jerry’s allergy to pines kicks in and he sneezes giving away their position. After a chase on the island, the boys are captured. An occurrence that happens quite frequently in this series.

Chapter 19: Rocky Prison

Frank reaches the coast guard station and turns the injured Tony over to the coast guard. He calls Collig and reports on the situation on Hermit Island including finding the jackets and raises concern that is brother and friend may be trapped. Meanwhile, Joe and Jerry are taken to the cave. At this point and for the fist time a gun is introduced into the narrative. Nevertheless, Joe while a prisoner, manages to entice his captors into confessing to everything.

Chapter 20: Ambushing the Enemy

The plot is resolved. The chums are rescued and every one but Chet looks forward to the next case.

Comments: When I was twelve I liked this book. The narrative has plenty of initial page turning action that I liked during that period a long time ago when the Hardy Boys occupied a significant portion of my life. I reread this story 35 years later (along with volumes 1 through 3, and volume 8) in an attempt to understand why I got much enjoyment from this series. The strength of the Hardy Boys is that they can be counted on to do the right thing regardless of the circumstance. They don’t whine. They don’t complain…and they don’t procrastinate (well maybe Chet, a little). Lessons relevant today as they were on those long, hot summer days of long ago. That being said, I have problems with the story line. (To be fair, I have yet to read the original text of this book) I could not believe that a sophisticated nationwide criminal enterprise would act in the manner described in the book. The holes in the plot and the high improbability factor reduced the overall impact of the story. Rating: C+

Purchase The Missing Chums From Amazon.com

Cover Art Review
By Stephen J. Servello

Because of some recent postings on the Hardy Boys Lists dealing with a fellow fan's personal thoughts on the first 58 books in that series, I was motivated to do likewise, but with the cover art. Additionally, I extended the range to include the first 100 plus a few scattered books beyond. Most covers are of the original text books and likewise most are of the picture cover format. The majority of the exceptions are dust jacketed covers in the first ten books. Some are this way because this is the only format they were published in (for original text) and others are in addition to the original text/picture cover editions.

My thoughts are surely subjective and more than likely the reader of these series of posts, now transformed into an essay of sorts, will fervently disagree with me on many occasions. This is as it should be! For organizational purposes I had divided my train of thoughts into groupings of ten covers, as opposed to the various "eras" utilized on the posts dealing with the stories themselves.

To deal with this subject matter properly would be an ideal topic for a college thesis paper. Still, I hope that the article that follows will be of interest to other fans of the Hardy Boys. For let's face it, when a particular book is mentioned, more often than not it is the cover art that first comes to mind. At least that has been so with me. So join me now as I take a journey through the years, from the days of roadsters and chums to the new millennium!

I have used Bob Finnan's listing of the Hardy Boys artists from his web site ("The Hardy Pages") for the first 58 books, as a reference. However, I may have occasionally fouled up on the actual publication date of a few books and noted the wrong artist. Surely you'll understand those mistakes to be mine only.

To begin this essay, let me say that I do have a nice dust jacketed "Tower Treasure" as well as a revised picture cover. This is one of the few instances where the title did not come out in pc/ot. My dj lists to "Hooded Hawk" and shows a jacket and tied Hardy Boys gazing up at the Applegate mansion. I assume that A.O. Scott is the artist since he drew this cover in 1944 and "Hooded Hawk" was written in 1954. The pc reminds me a little of the "Haunted Fort" cover, very dark but more detailed and distinct. While looking ahead, I note that Rudy Nappi was responsible for both those covers. The boys are sweatered with collars exposed. I like both covers for different reasons.

The same is true with "The House on the Cliff," (a dj by A.O. Scott and revised pc by Rudy Nappi). Basically the same scene is shown but with slightly different nuances (like the nature of the cliff).The "Napoli" takes center stage in both which are among my favorites.

"The Secret of the Old Mill" I finally obtained in the ot/pc format. I say this because I understand it is relatively scarce. Joe looks like Ricky Nelson as he and Frank peek through the crack in the floor of the mill. Nice background showing the innards of the mill. The dj version by Scott is similar but lacking the detail of Nappi.

"The Missing Chums" I also have in dj and pc (both ot). The covers show almost the exact same scene: the Hardy Boys in the Sleuth on a storm tossed Barment Bay. Neither is among my favorites though both Scott and Nappi are the artists.

"Hunting For Hidden Gold" is in dj and ot/pc. Both depict the same so-so scene. I do like the western style scarfs on the dj version. This time while Nappi is still drawing the pc, it is Stricker who draws the dj.

"The Shore Road Mystery" has two very different covers. The dj shows a roadster driving near the edge of a cliff in the rain, while the ot/pc has the boys looking down on two men tied up on the bleak shore of Barment Bay. Since the dj lists only to "Broken Blade," hence 1942, I assume that Rogers is that author (Scott drew the 1944 cover). Nappi on the pc as usual. Again, neither is among my favorites.

I always liked the cover of "The Secret of the Caves" (all pc/ot for now on unless specified otherwise). In addition, all future cover art will be by Rudy Nappi until that changes and will be noted. Here the Hardy Boys are watching the hermit (evil looking) entering his cave. Very well depicted!

"The Mystery of Cabin Island" portrays a very young looking pair of brothers as they peer on events outside the cabin during a snowstorm. One of the best!

I was bored silly with "The Great Airport Mystery" cover. Frank and Joe look for clues with a tail of an airplane in the background.

Lastly (for now), the "What Happened at Midnight" cover is so dark, as Frank and Joe walk outside the party. Looks like a lake in the background. A perfect cover for this title!

Continuing my cursory march through some of the Hardy Boys cover art, I see that I have both dust jacketed (ot) and picture cover (revised) formats of "While the Clock Ticked." It was the revised that I first read as a child and the cover art (Nappi) is incredible! I can see the terror in Hardy's eyes as the villain (Arthur Jenson?) leaves via grandfather clock. The ot version (Bill Gillies this time) is similar but simply doesn't convey the same level of terror.

"Footprints Under the Window" clearly shows Bill Gillies name and Joe looks tough while the oriental man inside, inscrutable. Nice dock though. I have most of the revised books up in my attic. Only those I read back in the early to mid sixties have managed to stay on display. Space problem you know.

"The Mark on the Wall" (again, all now are pc/ot unless specified otherwise), is a forgettable entry by Gillies.

"The Hidden Harbor Mystery" I have in dj/ot (boring cover by Gillies) and in pc/rt (Nappi) with a great picture of a gator attacking Joe in the Everglades during a hurricane. A better cover (one of the best) and a better story!

The cover for "The Sinister Signpost" is simply a vehicle for Frank to give an butt shot, as he and another (not Joe!) look down on some villains. A typical Gillies.

"A Figure in Hiding" always fascinated me as I never owned or read it until later in life. For some reason the greenish night sky intrigues me. John Leone does a very good job with this cover. I am told there are variations, concerning the hue of the sky.

"The Secret Warning" cover art seems sort of childish, what with the written warning and the look on Joe's face. We are back to Nappi again.

The cover for "The Twisted Claw" is among the best! What a suit of armor and Frank is portrayed just right. I am not surprised to note that John Leone is again the artist.

"The Disappearing Floor" strikes me as OK. The Boys look good though as does the "ghost." Leone drew this relatively rare pc/ot cover.

I really like the cover of "The Mystery of the Flying Express." Something about the way the train is passing through (with the conductor peering out) and the Hardy's rushing to retrieve a package as they are observed from the shrubs. Nice use of yellows in this cover. I think I prefer the art of John Leone on the picture covers, so far.

At first the scene portrayed on "Clue of the Broken Blade" seems lackluster but I do remember what could the circumstances be surrounding Frank and Joe looking at the shattered sword. Those blinds directly behind add to this picture. Leone let me down here.

"Flickering Torch," now here is a cover! I just wish the letter "R" was not covering most of the hooded villain on the cliff. The churning sea, Frank and Chet looking up from the canoe, the dark cliff and the torch itself all add up to a great cover. Leone redeems himself tenfold here! Side note: because Scott (my inspiration for these posts) has several times mentioned he likes both versions of this book, I just went up to my attic and pulled down the revised (no small feat, that). I will give this book another chance because I feel there must be something to it if Scott says so. I must say that the cover is simply dreadful but won't let that influence my judgment, nor the fact that the original plot was totally changed.

An interesting cover to "Melted Coins." Looks like Chet is gazing down into a pit or cave with Frank, as Joe attempts to climb out, spilling his bag of coins in the process. The pines in the night sky are a nice finishing touch. Leone again.

I really like the winter scene on "Short-Wave Mystery" where the boys are spying in on a cabin window and fiddling with the short-wave radio. Footprints, wintry pines, and a flashlight all add to a well drawn cover. Thank you Leone!

What a curious scene shown on the cover of "Secret Panel." Frank and Joe have just opened up said panel and surprised a man in bed and his nurse (by his side). She is extremely good looking and from both expressions, it looks like they got caught playing doctor! Nice horseshoe too. It looks like Russell Tandy's cover art was still in use with this book, until 1970.

"The Phantom Freighter" shows a nice drawing of vessels at sea and the boys in action. Night time of course! Great looking beams from the flashlight and searchlight. Tandy continues to dominate.

A very odd illustration on "Secret of Skull Mountain." A very nice and eerie mountain itself but the scale seems all wrong, with Joe and Frank finding a skull and gazing up at the skull-like peak. The background is blase but fitting. And the streak continues.

Another great forest scene on "Sign of the Crooked Arrow." Nice trees, Frank and Joe with horses, the arrow itself and a deadly archer in the background! Very nice! Tandy continues to excel.

"Lost Tunnel" is another Bill Gillies and is OK. The boys gesturing deeper into a cavern with a rather obvious looking villain giving them nasty looks by the entrance.

The 30th book, "Wailing Siren" is another Gillies effort and one of my favorites. Nice fight on the Sleuth and interesting background (destroyer and helicopter).

I like the Bill Gillies cover of "Wildcat Swamp." The mountain lion is just right as is the scenery.

"The Crisscross Shadow" cover art is pretty neat, with Frank and Joe just realizing they are being spied upon. Nice teepee and the shadow itself is effective. Nappi's back!

I'm not sure why but "The Yellow Feather Mystery" cover though well drawn, seems a copy of sorts of "Cabin Island." Nice winter scene though. Nappi again.

If only the story were as good as the cover of "Hooded Hawk." An incredible forest, great shots of the Hardy's, a turbaned villain and of course the hawk (unhooded), all make for a top notch piece of art! Way to go Rudy.

"The same holds true for "The Clue in the Embers." Great cover but the story was lacking. I mean, these guys are inches away from flowing molten lava! And a nice red river it is. A streak for Nappi!

"Pirates Hill" does little for me, despite the good underwater detail. That shark could be trouble ... Nappi falters here.

As for "Skeleton Rock," the plane afire with the panic stricken Hardy's inside looks scary, but I love the coastline below, with the palm trees (I have a thing for palm trees) and of course the human shaped peninsula. Resurgence for Rudy!

"Desert Paw" shows a colorful totem, green woods, fleeing Hardy's and naturally, the paw of the devil! Another of my favorites. The legend continues.

"Chinese Junk" shows the sleuth that Paul likes, the sleek one . An interesting junk with a yellow sky. Not bad, but a notch down for Rudy.

Lastly, # 40 "Desert Giant" seems simple enough yet it captivates me. Part of this could be the mystique with which I hold this book but I think the art has merit on its own. Behind a natural rock barrier at night, Frank and Joe espy a smuggler receiving a package by parachute and the desert giant is lit up near him. There is just something about this scene that sticks with me. Thank you Rudy Nappi!

Someone else agreed with me recently. The cover of "Screeching Owl" is one of the best and the first (not counting revised) to utilize the boys in the foreground and a huge dominating presence in the back. In this case, the eerie head of a screech owl takes up most of the night sky above Black Hollow. This scene never happened but it's a joy to look at. Nice tree line as well. A different style by Nappi but an extremely well drawn! In fact Rudy draws the remaining covers for the G & D editions, through # 58.

"Viking Symbol" is also a very good one. Frank and Joe in action and a vague but haunting background caps this cover off.

The "Aztec Warrior" cover is as bad as the book itself. Not badly drawn but the scene just doesn't grab me (and I'm into the Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecs, etc.).

Just incredible! "The Haunted Fort" artwork is better than the book. The ghost, the fort, the lake, Frank and Joe, even the tree and moon, all combine for a first rate cover.

"Spiral Bridge" always impressed me by its' use of pastels (the aura in the cave and above it) in conjunction with the generally dark remainder. A nicely drawn cave and the shrubs near the spying Hardy's are very detailed.

"Secret Agent on Flight 101" has promise (much more than the story). Frank and Joe running from a plane with the pilot, ties awhipping! One would think a bomb was about to go off.

"Whale Tattoo" is the second cover that has the brothers running for their lives in the foreground, with a menacing figure in the back. Strangely, I like this one. Could be the tattoos on the man giving the boys the evil eye.

I must admit (for some reason I don't want to, maybe because the books weren't so good), I like the cover to "Arctic Patrol" as well. Frank and Joe are in the foreground again (but not running though they do look worried). A wrecked plane and huge polar bear dominate the back. Nice transition from whites on the bottom to grays up top.

"Bombay Boomerang" is about the worst cover yet. We see the Hardy's (upper parts only), a large boomerang, a freighter being unloaded and an orange background. I am starting to find it hard to believe that these remaining covers were all drawn by Rudy Nappi. The style seems so different, yet, it is so.

Oh, oh. I found an even worse cover! "Danger on Vampire Trail" has a green background, the heads only of Joe and Frank, plus some vague bats. Not good at all.

I've simply got to rattle off some really bad covers. They generally show Frank and Joe in the foreground with an image concerning the title in the background. They are: "Masked Monkey," "Shattered Helmet (blue background)," and "Hissing Serpent."

The next two books are an improvement. "Mysterious Caravan" shows Frank and Joe in some keen robes, watching a passing caravan. Not bad for an all yellow cover. "The Witchmaster's Key" is a nice use of brown shades and the witchmaster is well conveyed.

My first instinct is to reject the cover for "Jungle Pyramid" but a second look makes me appreciate it more. It is a very different sort of illustration as the Hardy's race up the pyramid stairs towards a yellow opening. Again, nicely done in browns!

Except for the nice pale greens and the map of Australia, "Firebird Rocket" is a disappointment as is "Sting of the Scorpion." Nice elephant though.

Now for the first of the paperback Wanderers. "Night of the Werewolf" is illustrated by Leslie Morrill and is given credit for doing so. I like the way the wolf's head is ghostlike and peering over the forest. Frank and Joe are in the front by a river. I like it!

Number 60 "Samurai Sword" was not nearly as good, even though also done by Morrill. The Hardy's look different and not as good. Too modern a cover for me.

The next four book covers (61-64) are drawn by George Gaadt. Of these I enjoyed only the last. "Smugglers Cove" has a nice woodsy scene, complete with log cabin, bad guys, Frank and Joe spying and an alligator creeping out of a pond. Nice use of greens! The others show scenes from the Amish country ("Pentagon Spy"), a cruise ship at night ("Apeman's Secret") and an Egyptian tomb ("Mummy Case").

The remaining six covers in this grouping of ten, were drawn by Steven Assel and I like his style much better.

"The Stone Idol" portrays the Hardy's in a way I can relate to. Nice Easter Island background and a difficult rendition of a man disguised as a bird of sorts, looking down at the boys as they avidly discuss something.

"The Vanishing Thieves" shows Joe and Frank in a city and their clothes are realistically drawn. Nice work with the blues and reds. Look out for that monkey wrench!

"The Outlaws Silver" has a fairly weird scene, with a ghostlike creature threatening the Hardy's, in the woods. But it works for me!

I really think that the cover of "The Submariner Caper" is well drawn, except for Frank. He looks pudgy and brooding. The cove, submarine and woods really do make this picture!

Being a fantasy buff, I immediately fell in love with Assel's work on the cover of "The Four-Headed Dragon." Both the dragon and the mansion it is above look magnificent! Nice detail on the grounds and gate.

Sadly, I was disappointed in the cover of "The Infinity Clue." Nuclear power plants and a space-age Frisbee make up most of this cover. The Hardys look suitably alarmed. Paul Bachem does a credible job on "Shield of Fear," showing Frank and Joe narrowly escaping a room in flames. Sadly, the colored frame to the balance of the Hardy Boys covers, has nothing to do with the picture itself. No more color coordinated.

It is starting to look like Paul Bachem is settled in as the Hardy Boys illustrator. He continues with "The Shadow Killer," a rather hokey one where the Hardy Boys confront a ninja warrior.

I've gotta say, I'm having a difficult time continuing with this post. I really don't like to be critical, as it is the positive aspects of the early cover art which inspired me to begin these post originally. But for completists sake I'll finish.

"The Serpent's Tooth Mystery" has the brothers confronted by a pretty menacing and evil looking cobra. Aside from this serpent, there is little else of interest in this cover. Consider all remaining covers in this post to be Bachem's unless stated otherwise.

"Breakdown in Axeblade" has a much more interesting title than cover. Joe and Frank are teetering on a cliff's narrow ledge while a helicopter adds to their panic. Despite sounding like a decent cover, the reality is that it appears quite generic.

Hitting rock bottom, the cover art of "Danger on the Air" takes us there. The Hardy's just escape an explosion on a TV set. Really bad!

"Wipeout" portrays a manly looking Hardy Boys off the coast of the French Riviera. Just plain boring, despite the rescue attempt and Sunbird in the background.

Finally! My old flame Callie Shaw is shown on "Cast of Criminals!" And this fox is the only redeeming feature of this cover. The menacing smoke looks more cloud like than dangerous. But Callie now! I just knew there was a reason for me to finish this post and she is the reason, the dark haired beauty. Didn't she used to be light haired? At least she is still vivacious!

Explosives in a truck about to ignite are all that "Spark of Suspicion" has to offer on its cover. Naturally Joe and Frank are on hand to register alarm at this state of affairs.

In "Dungeon of Doom" the boys are attacked with a spiked ball on a chain (the actual term is "mace" maybe?) escapes me. Nice weapon but precious little else.

Paul Bachem completes this entire grouping of ten with perhaps his best effort in the lot. "The Secret of the Island Treasure" has Frank and Joe opening a treasure chest. Not too bad but the luminous sea and could that be the Applegate Mansion twinkling in the background? Not a great cover but far better than the prior nine were.

Despite my avowal to stop collecting the Hardy Boys at # 100, I did somehow end up with a few beyond that nice even number and will talk of them in my next post. Again, my apologies for the negativity in this and other recent posts. I truly did try to find the good in these covers but found the task daunting. Plus, I have not read these last dozen books. That may have something to do with my opinion, but I really doubt that.

All right now! I have managed to pick up three more Hardy Boys digests, despite my vow to stop at 100. I now suspect I will continue adding more on, slowly though.

I picked up # 101 "The Money Hunt" recently and I must say, Paul Bachem did a great job on this cover! A nice stream meandering through dark woods and an incredibly vicious bear provide the focal point. Look at that bear!

Because of the title to # 139, I picked up "The Search For the Snow Leopard." This animal is my favorite in all the world. In a new format containing no colored frame whatsoever, Lee MacLeod does a credible job on the big cat but fails elsewhere. One of the Hardy's (hard to tell by the hair color), is crawling above the leopard. A cartoon-like background of the sky and palm trees adds nothing to the cover.

My last digest (for now), is # 162 "The End of the Trail." Again, I bought it for the title which I thought might indicate the last book in the series. This was not so (thankfully). Jeff Walkers allowed only between 1/3 and 1/2 of the cover to work with and draws a very different type of cover (no Hardy Boys or any humans at all). A tantalizing view of an Appalachian town looks like something out of the Twilight Zone. This may be, but I like it a lot.

Lastly, I've thrown in the cover to the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift Ultra Thriller "Time Bomb." Romas Kukalis does a less than inspiring job on this one. All three heroes are combating an evil robot. Just not much to it.

Bayport Mail Bag

Although I'm not a big Hardy Boys fan, I just have to say "Cudos" on your website. Complete and extensive. - Dale Sweitzer

I just want to thank you for the terrific job you've done on your Unofficial Hardy Boys Home Page and The Bayport Times. I just discovered it and have spent hours reliving many pleasant memories. - David Callahan

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