the hardy boys on television
THE MYSTERY OF THE APPLEGATE TREASURE
Cast: Tim Considine (Frank Hardy), Tommy Kirk (Joe Hardy), Carole Ann Campbell (Iola Morton), Donald MacDonald (Perry Robinson), Florenz Ames (Silas Applegate), Russ Conway (Fenton Hardy), Sarah Selby (Aunt Gertrude), Bob Foulk (Jackley), Arthur Shields (Boles), Charles Cane (Sergeant), Frances Morris (Landlady), Dan Sturkie (Detective), Bill Henry (Policeman), Mort Mills (Policeman), Brick Sullivan (Policeman), Jess Kirkpatrick (Policeman), Don Harvey (Policeman).
Executive Producer: Walt Disney. Produced by: Bill Walsh. Directed by: Charles Haas. Teleplay by: Jackson Gillis. Based on The Tower Treasure by: Franklin W. Dixon. Assistant to the Producer: Lou Debney. Directors of Photography: Gordon Avil, A.S.C., Walter H. Castle, A.S.C. Art Directors: Bruce Bushman, Marvin Aubrey Davis. Film Editors: George Nicholson, Ellsworth Hoagland, A.C.E., Al Teeter, Joseph S. Dietrick. Music: Buddy Baker, William Lava. Theme Gold Doubloons and Pieces of Eight: Jackson Gillis (words), George Bruns (music). Special Processes: Ub Iwerks, A.S.C. Sound: Robert O. Cook. Sound Mixer: Dean Thomas. Set Decoration: Fred MacLean. Costumer: Chuck Keehne. Wardrobe: Carl Walker. Make-up: David Newell. Hair Stylist: Lois Murray. Assistant Director: Robert G. Shannon. Production Manager: Russ Haverick.
Frank and Joe Hardy are the sons of Fenton Hardy, a famous private detective. Finding everyday life at home in Bayport dull, the boys hope their father will let them work on one of his cases. Disappointed when he tells them his work is too dangerous for children, they become more determined than ever to solve a real mystery.
It looks as if they'll have their chance when one of their friends, Iola Morton, is attacked by a mysterious stranger and her purse is stolen. The boys rush to investigate and end up on the grounds of a decaying mansion owned by a secretive recluse, Silas Applegate. There they meet Jackley, a plumber, and a boy named Perry, who is doing gardening for Applegate, but the old man angrily sends them away.
Frank and Joe return that night to search the grounds, where they find some tools that were stolen from their home. It appears that Perry is the thief and Applegate tells the boy he'll have to leave, prompting the upset youth to run away. Joe finds him hiding in the bushes and Perry gives him a gold doubloon to hold, then turns himself in.
The young detectives learn that the doubloon might be part of a treasure once said to be owned by Applegate. They return the next night to dig up the grounds, but someone else has had the same idea, for the grounds are full of holes. Applegate finds them at work, but instead of chasing them away, he invites them inside to tell them about the treasure.
Family legends say that the treasure was booty from the War of 1812 and was awarded to his great-grandfather. The chest, which once held 3,000 doubloons worth $40 each, is empty now, for someone stole the coins ten years ago. Most of the town doesn't believe the treasure ever existed, for Applegate had refused to show it to anyone, so he's glad the boys believe his story. However, his pleasure sours when he sees all the holes in his yard, and he blames Frank and Joe for the destruction.
Told by their father to stay away from Applegate's, the boys send Iola back to retrieve their shovel. Someone locks her in a storeroom at the base of the mansion's tower and she must be rescued by Frank and Joe. They also find Jackley in the storeroom, unconscious and tied up. Iola claims to have heard footsteps in the tower, which Applegate says has been closed up for years, so Fenton Hardy decides to investigate.
The tower is a shambles, as if someone has been systematically tearing it apart. Fenton spots a shadowy figure and gives chase, finally catching the man in the garden. Applegate identifies the prisoner as Boles, his former gardener, and the police take him away for questioning.
The next day, they take Boles to his rooming house to search it. There, he switches shoes, claiming his feet hurt. Actually, the first pair concealed another doubloon and a note that he knew a detailed search would reveal. This proves to be a mistake, for when Joe speculates they could prove Boles did the digging by taking a cast of his shoes, the boys find the note. It reads "hid in the wall - the old tower wall", a clue to the location of the missing treasure. The note was written by a man named Jenkins, who was arrested shortly after the treasure disappeared, and the boys turn it over to the police.
Word of the note gets around town and a horde of greedy searchers descends on Applegate's house, ready to tear it apart to find the gold. The police keep them outside and begin their own search, but the doubloons are nowhere inside the tower. Frank and Joe, vowing not to give up, follow Boles when he's released on bail and trailing him back to his rooming house.
While they wait outside, Boles is attacked by Jackley, who used to be Jenkins' cellmate. He tries to force Boles to reveal where the gold is hidden but he is unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Joe suspects the coins may be in another tower, so when Frank spots a rundown railroad water tower, the boys decide to search it. Joe's theory is right, for the gold is hidden inside. Jackley spots them and rushes there pretending to help, but he reveals his true nature and the boys fight him off. A passing police patrol spots them and arrests Jackley, and the gold is finally returned to a grateful Applegate.
This show was based on the first in a long running series of boy's adventure novels, The Hardy Boys, which was also the working title for the serial. Adapted for this serial, the book featured the theft of jewels and stocks from Applegate and his elderly sister. The Tower Treasure was first published in 1927 and is credited to "Franklin W. Dixon", a pen name assigned to the various authors who contributed to the series.
The title song for the serial was sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, who is also known as the voice of "Tony the Tiger".
Although much of the story supposedly takes place outside, almost the entire production was filmed on Disney's large Stage 2. An elaborate set measuring 205 feet-by-120 feet included the grounds of the Applegate estate and the railroad yard.
This was the first starring role for Tommy Kirk, who was to appear in numerous other productions for the Studio. Tommy was first seen on The Mickey Mouse Club in the rerun version of Newsreel #50 from the 1955-56 season. He was selected after the Studio conducted an extensive series of screen tests, during which at least nine boys tested for the role. There were screen tests for several of the other roles as well. David Stollery tested for the role of Frank Hardy, and both Annette Funicello and Shelley Fabares were considered for the part of Iola Morton.
In addition to the 19 episodes of the serial itself, there was also a preview episode titled "An Introduction". Aired the day before the serial began, it featured co-stars Tim Considine and Tommy Kirk as they introduced clips from the story that was to follow.
The sequel to this serial is The Mystery of Ghost Farm, aired during the 1957-58 season.
The first episode of the Disney series Wildside also featured gold hidden in a water tower.
THE MYSTERY OF GHOST FARM
Cast: Tim Considine (Frank Hardy), Tommy Kirk (Joe Hardy), Carole Ann Campbell (Iola Morton), Sarah Selby (Aunt Gertrude Hardy), Russ Conway (Fenton Hardy), John Baer (Eric Pierson), Hugh Sanders (Mr. Binks), Bob Amsberry (Sam, the farmer), Andy Clyde (Lacey), Yvonne Lime (Gloria Binks), John Harmon (Bray), Paul Wexler (Fred), Tyler McVey (Police Chief), Florenz Ames (Silas Applegate), Gail Bonney (Prim Woman), Paul Birch (Banker).
Executive Producer: Walt Disney. Produced by: Bill Walsh. Directed by: Robert Springsteen. Script by: Jackson Gillis. Based on Characters Created by: Franklin W. Dixon. Production Manager: John Grubbs. Assistant Director: Horace Hough. Art Director: Marvin Aubrey Davis. Cameraman: Gordon Avil. Sound Mixer: Dean Thomas. Make-up: Pat McNalley. Wardrobe: Chuck Keehne. Hair Stylist: Elaine Stone. Film Editor: Ed Sampson.
This sequel to the serial The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure again features Frank and Joe Hardy, the teenage sons of detective Fenton Hardy. A year has passed since the boys solved their first big case and Joe is once again bored with life. Frank has become interested in girls, much to Joe's disgust, and refuses to play at detective games.
Things change when Joe is sent on an errand to the countryside, for he discovers a "haunted" farm. Although the place is deserted, someone is taking care of the animals that still live there. Joe convinces Frank that something unusual is going on and the two sleuths search the house, where they meet the ghost.
In reality, the "ghost" is an elderly man who claims he is looking after the animals as a favor to the deceased owner, a farmer named Lacey. Frank and Joe learn that the farm is to be sold to pay back taxes, and the animals will be sold to a slaughterhouse. The old man then surprisingly produces a will signed by Lacey that arranges for the care of the animals, and the boys happily return home.
There, Joe discovers the will is a fake, and the boys rush back to the farm to confront the old man. He confesses that he is really the missing Lacey and had faked his death so he could use his insurance money to care for the animals. Aided by their friend, Iola Morton, Frank and Joe narrowly save the animals from being killed. They later discover that Lacey has a valuable cache of forgotten Liberty Bonds that will more than cover the expense of caring for the farm and animals.
Many of the street scenes in "Bayport" were actually filmed at the Studio, where the soundstages doubled as warehouses in the town's industrial district.
The Lacy farm was actually the Morrison Ranch, a popular film location in the San Fernando Valley. The zoo scenes were shot at the now defunct Jungle Compound in Thousand Oaks, California.
Copyright 1997 by Bill Cotter - - Used by permission.
The Mystery Of The Chinese Junk
Put into production as a pilot in 1966 and aired on the NBC network on Friday 9/8/67 at 7:30PM Eastern time.
Production #: 6046 - Shooting: January 9, 1967 - January 27, 1967
Frank and Joe Hardy, with the aid of their friends, capture a gang of thieves and recover a valuable jade collection.
After old Clams Daggett, owner of an excursion launch, nearly runs down Frank and Joe Hardy and their friends, the youths decide to buy a boat and compete with Clams in ferrying passengers to Rocky Isle. Most of them have money to contribute, but Jim Foy has an uncle who has a Chinese junk for sale. The Hardy boys pile into their car with Tiny, a Great Dane, promising to call their dad and get permission for the venture. When they get home, Aunt Gertrude is at the door with Dr. Montrose, a newcomer, whom Tiny pounces on lovingly until the boys pull him off...
In the Curator's office of the Los Angeles County Art Museum, several men are discussing the progress made by Fenton Hardy, the boys' private investigator father, when Hardy himself enters. He has evidence proving that the stolen jade they hired him to find has been smuggled into the country. He is interrupted by a call from the boys on the shortwave radio he carries in his briefcase. Giving an okay on the boat purchase, he tells them and the men present that his prime suspect in the jade case is a man called Ballarat, an expert on rare jade...
On a San Francisco dock, the boys close the deal for the junk; but before they can sign the papers, Burke and two henchmen, a tough trio, come to buy the boat. When they're refused, they move in menacingly and Jim employs Karate to scare them off. At a Chinese dinner that night, Frank gets warning in a fortune cookie against their voyage home. Deciding to leave that night, the six boys fight off a gang of toughs in an alley and then discover an interloper, George Ti-Ming, aboard the junk. He also wants to buy the junk; but when the boys say they won't sell, he leaves...
As the junk nears home, a bogus Coast Guard boat pulls alongside, but the boys, suspicious, repel the boarders, who turn out to be Burke and his men...
When Frank and Joe return home, Tiny is barking excitedly, driving Aunt Gertrude mad. The explanation is an electronic signaler in his collar set to receive signals from Frank's belt buckle. Their father has asked for the file on Ballarat, but it's missing from the files...
On their first trip to the island, the group discovers that someone has tried to scuttle the junk, but Clams, who tells them to keep a guard on board, is not the guilty party. Using the briefcase transmitter, the boys reach Hardy, on stakeout at the waterfront, and bring him up to date. As Hardy signs off, two men enter his room and knock him unconscious...
Meanwhile, Chet, the boy guarding the junk, accidentally finds a bit of jade hidden in a compartment. Frank and Joe try to snoop around Montrose's mansion, but Montrose, who is actually Hardy's original suspect, Ballarat, welcomes them and they find nothing until Frank is attacked and stuffed in a laundry chute where he finds another bit of jade...
When the group gathers later, they find Chet's compartment empty, but Frank notices a small particle which he and Joe take home to analyze and find it's from Rocky Isle. Ti-Ming is one of the passengers disembarking on the island along with Frank and BIFF who are going to investigate the caves while the others, with Tiny, run the junk back and forth. The two boys enter a cave where they are surprised by Burke, who already has Hardy under guard. Ti-Ming also a private investigator, gets the drop on Burke, but another man jumps him and he is tied up with the others. Montrose arrives, and the four watch him buy the stolen jade from Burke. Frank, activating his buckle signal, saws through his ropes and frees the others while the boys from the junk race to the cave followed by Tiny who, upon hearing Montrose’s voice, leaps happily on him slathering him with kisses...
The others overpower Montrose, Burke and his mob and put them aboard the junk, where Tiny alternately growls at Burke and kisses Montrose all the way to the mainland.
A poor copy is available on youTube.
Collectibles From This Show
Copies of the script & publicity photos are known to exist.
Low-quality bootleg VHS copies of the show have been reported.
Released by Filmation Associates
In this series the Boys use their super-cool, groovy rock band as a front to investigate mysteries.
The show is ludicrously bad with inane scripts, wooden acting and animation below even the wretched depths plumbed in Scooby Doo, Josie & The Pussycats or The Archies.
The music is best described as "bubblegum" music and is reminiscent of early tunes by the Monkees.
Mention the Hardy Boys and a rock'n'roll band would probably be one of the last things you would think about the popular, mystery-solving brothers whose books have been published since the 1920s.
Probably not the image that Hardy Boys creator Edward Stratemeyer had in mind for the juvenile detectives. But in 1969, rock'n'roll artists were what Frank and Joe Hardy became for "The Hardy Boys" animated television series. In addition to solving mysteries and apprehending evildoers, the two brothers were part of a five-member band that performed songs between catching crooks, searching for lost treasures, solving mysteries, and rescuing victims.
It was definitely a different type of Hardy Boys and intriguing to anyone who has read or heard of the Hardy Boys. The idea of turning the brothers into a rock'n'roll band is so different from what fans expect after reading the books. That in itself is enough to make you curious about this series. Also, it was the only time that the Hardy Boys have been a cartoon show. But it was an unsuccessful time. After a two year run, the series was canceled. Since that time the cartoon series and rock'n'roll group have been an obscure and somewhat disregarded part of Hardy Boys history.
Try to find information about this series and you will discover that not much has been written about it. Most television history and children's cartoons books say little about the show. In fact, some of the entertainment encyclopedias which claim to be complete, don't even mention "The Hardy Boys" cartoon.
Try to watch the show and you will find that difficult. Rarely, if at all, have the cartoons appeared in the syndicated television rerun market and none of the episodes are available on the commercial videotape market.
And try to find the music from this Hardy Boys rock'n'roll band and you will probably be disappointed. The music doesn't exist today in the popular compact disc format and most people don't know that there was a Hardy Boys rock group. Others might assume that you are referring to Shaun Cassidy who played Joe Hardy in a live action Hardy Boys television series of the late 1970s. Because Cassidy became a teen idol and had a few hit songs, many might think that is the Hardy Boys music that you are referencing. But the Hardy Boys rock'n'roll band was long before Cassidy played Joe Hardy.
"The Hardy Boys" animated series premiered on September 6, 1969, on ABC-TV's Saturday morning cartoon lineup. Although it aired for two years, only one season's worth of episodes were made. According to most television history books, the last show aired on September 4, 1971.
The series was made by Filmation, which throughout the years contributed many cartoon shows to Saturday morning television, including "Superman," "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," "Flash Gordon," Star Trek," "Blackstar," and "The Archie Show."
In fact, "The Archie Show," one of Filmation's biggest successes, may have been the reason the company turned the Hardy Boys into a rock'n'roll group. According to Michael Swanigan and Darrell McNeil's book "Animation by Filmation," it was the success of "The Archie Show" which probably brought about "The Hardy Boys" series.
In 1968, the Archie cartoon series, which was based on the popular comic books, premiered. This cartoon featured not only the regular comic book characters but also a rock group called The Archies. Both the show and the rock group were popular. Thus Filmation may have been trying for similar success with another popular children's series, the Hardy Boys.
A year later that attempt appeared. "The Hardy Boys" and "The Archie Show" were similar in that both were based on popular juvenile fictional characters, both had a rock group to go along with the show, and both had the same actors performing the animated characters' voices. Dallas McKennon and Jane Webb did many of the animated characters' voices on both shows.
However, "The Hardy Boys" was different. While "The Archie Show" emphasized comedy, "The Hardy Boys" was a mystery and adventure show. In fact, according to Swanigan and McNeil's book, it was the first animated mystery-adventure series ever for Saturday morning television.
Also, with "The Hardy Boys" the real life rock'n'roll band performers were seen. This was never done on "The Archie Show." The Archies rock group always officially appeared in animated form. The real performers were only heard, never seen. With "The Hardy Boys" series, there were two distinguishable sets of Hardy Boys: the cartoon characters and the rock'n'roll band.
Additionally, "The Archie Show" was a faithful adaptation of the popular comic books. Overall, the characters looked and acted the same as they did in the comics. But when fans of the Hardy Boys books first saw the cartoon show, they were probably surprised or even shocked. Frank and Joe had long hair and wore brightly colored mod clothing including bell-bottomed pants and high-heeled boots which were popular at the time. Joe even wore a knotted scarf around his neck. Quite a different look from the plain, clean cut portrayal that was always described in the books.
Similarly dressed were three other characters to complete the band. Red-haired and plump Chubby Morton was a variation of longtime friend and fellow adventurer in the books, Chet Morton. Two new characters were Wanda Kay Breckenridge and Pete Jones. Wanda Kay was the only female in the band and was a blonde-haired beauty whose character may have been inspired by Frank's blond-haired girlfriend in the books, Callie Shaw. Pete was an African-American and a character created solely for the cartoon.
Together the five characters traveled around in a brightly painted Rolls Royce Silver Ghost car and solved mysteries and performed songs. Each half-hour cartoon show was divided into two mystery/adventures. The band performed an original song in the second adventure of each show. Most of the television encyclopedias say that there were 17 episodes to the series. However, getting a total count is difficult as the episodes weren't titled. Many fans think there were more than 17 shows.
But what is undisputed about the episodes is that Filmation used the books for the cartoon's story ideas and plots. Every episode was based, somewhat, on one of the Hardy Boys books. How much of the books that were actually used in the cartoon episodes varied. Often, the cartoon stories were different from the books. However, certain story elements made the episodes easily recognizable as having come from a particular Hardy Boys adventure. The cartoon version of "Hardy Boys #36: The Secret of Pirates Hill" has a clue hidden in a pirate's sword handle, an old hidden cannon being the key to finding the treasure, the location of the treasure being revealed by firing the cannon, and the resulting repercussion of the cannon blast knocking out the criminals. All of these elements and scenes are from the book.
In other cases, the cartoon appeared to have used only the title of a Hardy Boys book as the idea for the story. For example, the episode that was based on "Hardy Boys #26: The Phantom Freighter" simply has some freighters in the story. Otherwise, the cartoon is unrecognizable from the book.
Often certain scenes in the cartoon made you wonder if the people working on the series even read any of the books. Joe Hardy had brown hair in the series instead of the blonde hair as always described in the books. In one episode, Iola Morton is referred to as Frank Hardy's girlfriend. Iola was Joe's girlfriend in the books. Besides being the only animated version of the Hardy Boys, according to Swanigan and McNeil's book, the series made history with several elements.
First, the Pete Jones character was especially significant for Saturday morning television cartoon history. Swanigan and McNeil report that Pete was the first African-American to be featured in a Saturday morning cartoon. Second, some of the stories dealt with drug smugglers. These episodes actually had the characters saying the words "dope" and "drugs." While that may seem insignificant today, in 1969 that was a big step for children's television.
Third, nearly all of the fighting was done off screen. At the time there was a campaign against violence in cartoons. However, it would be difficult to do a Hardy Boys adventure show without Frank and Joe and company battling the bad guys. Filmation was able to appease both camps by doing the fighting off screen, in silhouette, or in comical fashion. Usually the cartoon showed the heroes leaping at the crooks, everybody fell off screen, and a series of fighting sound effects was heard. When the noise stopped, the camera panned to the winners of the battle.
Sometimes, heavy set Chubby Morton would subdue the evildoers through laughable means. In one episode, Chubby raced after fleeing crooks, but tripped, rolled, and knock them over as if he were a bowling ball and the evildoers were bowling pins. In another episode, he actually overpowered all of the bad guys by wrecking their plane. How was this accomplished? Chubby fell onto the wing of the plane and, since he was chubby, the wing broke.
Fourth, according to "Animation by Filmation," "The Hardy Boys" show was the first Saturday morning cartoon to have public service announcements in which the cartoon characters warned about the dangers of drug abuse and smoking cigarettes and encouraged seat belt use.
One of the authors includes a personal note about these public service announcements: "As a youngster, I vividly remember Pete's admonishment against smoking, it being the first time a black cartoon character spoke to me about the perils of smoking. So I credit the show for my not smoking now."
Other than that, the cartoon was not memorable and probably didn't win any animation awards. Throughout every episode, the same animation sequences are used and then reused on different backgrounds. Every time the band performed, practically the same animation was shown.
Paul Mular, a Hardy Boys fan and collector and co-author of the book "Hardy and Hardy Investigations," thinks that the animated musical sequences were copied from "The Archie Show." "The general movements during those scenes were taken right from the Archies. It was the same movements, different backgrounds. I think they had the Hardy Boys animators draw over the Archies' animated outlines," Mular said.
And rarely were any of the characters seen in different clothes. The animators had the characters in the same bell bottom pants, high-heeled boots, flashy shirts, vests or jackets whether they were exploring a cave, riding an ice boat over a frozen lake, walking around a swamp, hiking through the desert, or traveling down river in a canoe. Often the stories were weak and had the characters doing unrealistic things. In one episode, the Hardy Boys were pursuing thieves who were about to rob a recording studio. It just so happened to be the same recording studio in which they were going to perform a song. So, what do the Hardys do when they spot the crooks about to make a robbery?
"Wait. Give them some time to get started," Joe says.
"Right. Come on. We'll do our number first," Frank replies.
The Hardys performed their song and then pursued the crooks who were still robbing the studio. The bad guys must not have been in much of hurry. In another episode, the Hardys are in a helicopter pursuing bad guys who are traveling in a biplane. They jump from the helicopter onto the biplane's top wing. While the biplane is flying at full speed, Frank, Joe, Pete, and a guide who is with them on the case, have no trouble standing on top of the wing without any means of support. Then one of the crooks stands up from one of the open cockpits and threatens them with a wrench. Why the bad guy didn't just turn the plane and dump them off of the wing?
For the musical element of the cartoon, a real life rock'n'roll band was formed. Each band member resembled one of the cartoon characters and was often identified as that character instead of using their real name.
In 1969, I remember seeing the real band for the first time while watching an ABC-TV primetime special for the new cartoon season. Basically, this special TV show promoted the new cartoons with a framing device for the characters from "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" sitcom. The framing device storyline included situations in which previews of the new cartoons were shown.
With "The Hardy Boys" preview, there was a surprise. When their animated clip ended, the special switched back to the "Ghost and Mrs. Muir" characters. In the scene, Mrs. Muir's children were playing a game with Claymore (played by Charles Nelson Reilly) while they watched "The Hardy Boys" preview. Claymore cheated, was caught, and all of a sudden, the ghost, Captain Daniel Gregg (Edward Mulhare), appeared on their television screen and ordered Claymore to stop cheating. Afterwhich, the children begged the Captain to bring back the Hardy Boys.
The Captain agreed but added that as a special treat he would bring the Hardy Boys to life. With his magical powers, the real life Hardy Boys band appeared on the screen and performed the song "Love and Let Love." Probably to emphasize the band's connection to the cartoon, each of the band members performed in front of a lifesize picture of the animated character they were identified as.
Those real band members (and the Hardy Boys character they were often identified as) were Reed Kailing (Frank Hardy), Jeff Taylor (Joe Hardy), Nibs Soltysiak (Chubby Morton), Bob Crowder (Pete Jones), and Deven English (Wanda Kay Breckenridge). And they also appeared on "The Hardy Boys" cartoon's opening and closing credits performing the theme song "Here Come the Hardys." But once the show started, the animated characters took over. Other actors did the talking voices of the characters and when it came time during the episode for the band to perform, the animated characters were seen while you heard the real life musicians.
Throughout the show's run, "The Hardy Boys" products and promotional materials alternated between using the real life band members' names or identifying them as playing the characters on the cartoon. For example, although you saw the real people performing the opening and closing theme song on the show, the credits never listed their names. However, a newsletter from "The Hardy Boys" fan club kit identified each of the real band members and said that they played the fictional character on the cartoon series. But the record albums didn't identify the band members by their real names. Instead they were identified as the fictional characters.
According to an article in the March 1970 issue of "Golden Magazine, a children's magazine during the 1960s and 1970s, these musicians were chosen for the Hardy Boys band through auditions.
The cartoon characters, Frank and Joe Hardy, Chubby Morton, Pete Jones and Wanda Kay Breckenridge, come to life each week as Reed Kailing, Jeff Taylor, Nibs Soltysiak, Bob Crowder and Deven English open and close the show with the theme song, 'Here Come The Hardys.'
Here's how it all came to be. The cartoon characters were created and the stories were written; now all the producers had to do was find five young people who looked like the characters. So off they went on a coast to coast talent search and found the astonishing look-alikes all in the Midwest.
Fan club kit materials told more about the "astonishing look-alikes." A 45rpm record, which was a recording of all the band members telling about themselves, and a newsletter had tidbits and highlights about the musicians' lives. According to these materials:
Reed Kailing came from Waterford, Wisconsin. He played the guitar and while in high school formed a group called "The Destinations." One of the biggest highlights of his band was performing at former President Lyndon Baines Johnson daughter's wedding or engagement party, depending on which information source you cite. The newsletter said that it was the wedding while on the record, Kailing said that it was the engagement party. Kailing also worked on Milwaukee TV stations and then went to Chicago where he auditioned for the Hardy Boys band.
Jeff Taylor was born and raised in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin. Taylor got interested in music while in high school and did gigs in Milwauke with his group "The Messengers." He gave up music for a while to become an art teacher.
Norbet (Nibs) Soltysiak played the saxophone in high school. He was offered the John Phillips Sousa Award Scholarship from Roosevelt University, but attended Mayfair City College and Loyola U instead. Soltysiak studied music and psychology. Then he joined the Hudson Bay Company and concentrated on music. He said he got picked for the Hardy Boys because he can sing and he's "chubby."
Bob Crowder was raised in Cincinnati. When he was a kid, he did tap dancing with relatives. They called themselves "The Stepbrothers." He attended the University of Chicago and the Chicago Conservatory of Music. When Crowder and his brother had their first gig, they drove all night to get to the place. When they arrived, the building had burned down. He played the drums for Jerry Butler, Fontella Bass, The Shirelles, and The Esquires.
Deven English was from Denver and studied voice at the University of Colorado. She performed in plays such as "Oklahoma" and "My Fair Lady." While at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, rehearsing, Vic Damone heard her and asked her to appear on his television show. "That started everything," she said. She sang at colleges, on local TV, and a TV workshop in Chicago.
During the cartoon's two-year run, the group produced two albums and several 45rpm records.
The first album was titled "Here Come the Hardy Boys" (RCA LSP-4217). The album's front cover has the Hardy Boys logo from the cartoon series largely displayed with a photo of the "real" Hardy Boys rock group posing in front of and around a statue and holding balloons marked "Lincoln Park Zoo."
There were 11 songs on the album: Here Come The Hardys; Those Country Girls; One Time in a Million; That's That; (I Want You to) Be My Baby (Not the song of the same title by the Ronettes); Sink or Swim; Namby-Pamby; My Little Sweetpea; Sha-La-La (Not the song of the same title by Mannfred Mann); Feels So Good; and Love and Let Love.
The second album was titled: "Wheels/The Hardy Boys" (RCA LSP-4315) and the front cover showed the real Hardy Boys rock group and their reflection in the hubcap of a large wheel on the left of the cover.
Like the first, the second album had 11 songs: Wheels; Old Man Moses' Front Porch Rhythm Band; Carnival Time; Good, Good Lovin'; Let the Sun Shine Down; Long, Long Way to Nashville; Love Train; Archie Brown; Where Would I Be; I Hear the Grass Singin'; and Baby, This is the Last Time.
There were also some Hardy Boys 45rpm records. Two are known to exist. One, RCA 9795, had "Sha-La-La" and "Wheels" on it and the other, RCA 9831, had "Love Train" and "Good, Good Lovin'" on it. (Editor: Since this was written, a third Hardy Boys 45 has turned up.)
Suffice to say that the band never made it to the big time. None of their songs became a national hit although Swanigan and McNeil's "Animation by Filmation" says that "Wheels" and "Love Train" made the American Bandstand pop charts. But nowadays most people don't even know that there was a Hardy Boys rock'n'roll band. Even when "The Hardy Boys" cartoon originally aired, the band was not well known. And finding any of their records was not easy. When I was a kid, I remember trying to locate a Hardy Boys record after watching the cartoon. I searched many record stores and never found it. After much begging and pleading, my parents special ordered the album. Had it not been for special order capabilities at a local record store, I would have never been able to get the Hardy Boys' first album.
And the second album? Even though I was a fan of the cartoon series and the rock group, I didn't even know the second album existed until a few years ago. One day while looking through a collectible record album store, I accidentally found it. The album was still shrinkwrapped and had the original record store's bargain bin price tag on it.
Today, the records are collectibles but mainly to some Hardy Boys fans. Mainstream rock'n'roll fans and record collectors show little interest. For example, "Goldmine's Price Guide to Collectible Record Albums 4th Edition" by Neal Umphred doesn't even list the Hardy Boys' records. A notice in the book says that the "common" records (those with an established value of $20 or less) were deleted from the listings in order to make room for the "ever-accumulating data." Because of that, the Hardy Boys' records are not in that guide.
According to Mular, not much respect is given to the cartoon series or the rock group by Hardy Boys' fans. "The series didn't really capture the interest," he said. "Pretty much everybody overlooks the series."
Mular owns actual 16mm film copies of the cartoon series and remembers showing some of the episodes during a book fair a few years ago. There was little interest in the shows and most of the remarks about them concerned the voice for the animated Chubby Morton. "When Chubby Morton opened his mouth, they wanted to turn away," Mular said. "Everybody complains about Chubby's voice."
In spite of the rock group's and cartoon's lack of success, both definitely made a mark upon the Hardy Boys phenomenon. In addition to the record albums, many Hardy Boys' products were generated from the rock group and the cartoon series. To this day, Hardy Boys fans and collectors seek the collectibles which include a game, a toy car with plastic figures of the characters, four comic books based on the series, a Viewmaster adventure pack, a Halloween costume, a fan club kit, and animation art. Also, some influence may have been made upon the books When "Hardy Boys 22: The Flickering Torch Mystery" was revised in the early 1970s, the new edition came out with a cover of Frank and Joe playing guitars. And as part of the story, Frank and Joe were members of a band that they had formed with friends. Had some of the writers and editors for the book series been watching the cartoon show?
"I'm sure there is a correlation there. Prior to that there was little mention of the Hardys showing any interest in popular music. That revision of that book came out in 1971. That would have probably been written while the cartoon series was on the air," Mular said.
So even though the cartoon may not have been the best or most liked version of the young detectives, a place in the Hardy Boys' history was definitely made and is still around.
This article first appeared in the December 7, 1998 issue of the now defunct AB Bookman's Weekly and is reproduced here by permission of the author.
First aired on the ABC network Sunday 1/30/77 in a 7:00-8:00PM (Eastern) time slot, the series alternated with The Nancy Drew Mysteries and, once every fifth week in January and February 1977, The Brady Bunch Hour. In February 1978, the Boys were joined by Nancy Drew in some episodes. Nancy Drew was dropped altogether in the fall of 1978. The series finally went off the air in January 1979, although reruns were shown from June to August 1979 as a summer replacement. Harriet Stratemeyer Adams retained script approval for both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series.
Chet, Iola and most of the rest of the gang (including Mrs. Hardy!) never made it as regulars in this series, although they did show up from time to time but Callie was featured in the first season as Fenton's part-time office assistant. In 1978 the Boys teamed up with two government agents, Harry Gibbon and Harry Hammond.
Many past and future movie, recording and TV stars made appearances on the show and even directed a couple. There are even some children and grandchildren of famous actors! Have fun trying to spot them!
The following episodes were released on VHS video tapes:
One of the shows was released by MCA on "DiscoVision" (Last cataloged in 1980)
Sources don't seem to agree on exactly how many episodes were filmed, but I consider the following list to be complete.
See the OTHER MEDIA page for collectible items from this series.
Thanks and a tip of the Hardy cap to Meredith Jaffe & Karen Plunkett-Powell for their help on the 90's series.