The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (retitled The Hardy Boys Mysteries for season three) is a television series which aired for three seasons on ABC. The series starred Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as amateur sleuth brothers Frank and Joe Hardy, respectively, and Pamela Sue Martin (later Janet Louise Johnson) as girl detective Nancy Drew.
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries was unusual in that it often dealt with the characters individually, in an almost anthological style. That is, some episodes featured only the Hardy Boys and others only Nancy Drew.
The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were both successful book publishing franchises, owned by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a publishing group which owned many successful children's book lines.
The Hardy Boys are brother amateur detectives. Frank is the elder of the two and Joe is a year younger. The two boys live in the fictional city of Bayport (on Barmet Bay) with their famous father, Fenton Hardy (Ed Gilbert), a private detective formerly with the New York Police Department.
In addition to the Hardy Boys, their stories feature two other characters with some regularity: Aunt Gertrude (Edith Atwater) and a platonic female friend of the boys, Callie Shaw (Lisa Eilbacher), who also does part-time work for their father, Fenton. Other characters which played a major part of the Hardy Boys books, such as Chet Morton (Gary Springer), appeared only briefly in the series.
Nancy Drew is the amateur sleuth — she prefers the term "part time investigator" — daughter of attorney Carson Drew. She lives with her father in the fictional River Heights which, by the nature of the cross-over element of the series, cannot be too distant from the Hardy Boys east coast United States home town of Bayport.
In addition to Nancy Drew and her father, Carson (William Schallert), her stories feature two other characters with some regularity: her close friend George (Georgia) Fayne (Jean Rasey and, later for two episodes, Susan Buckner) and Ned Nickerson (George O. Hanlon, Jr.) Another prominent character from the Nancy Drew books, Bess Marvin (Ruth Cox), made only two appearances.
In the novels on which the series was based, Nickerson is explicitly identified as Nancy's boyfriend; in the television series, their romance is more ambiguous.
In the first series, Nickerson is a law student who does part-time work for Carson Drew. In the second series, Nickerson is re-introduced — with no reference to his earlier appearances, and in a scene in which he is apparently introduced to Nancy Drew for the first time — as a young hotshot lawyer from the city District Attorney's office. In this second appearance he is played by Rick Springfield.
Although the characters are known to each other in the framework of the novels, in their first television encounter they are strangers. In the first episode of the second season they meet in a hotel room in Europe; the boys tracking their father, who was working on a case with Nancy Drew.
Though the relationship between Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys is largely platonic, there is an implied romance between Nancy Drew and Frank Hardy. In one episode they kiss briefly.
The series was produced by Glen A. Larson. The original music was composed by Stu Phillips.
The series was produced by Universal Studios, and the series used many of the Universal backlot locations as filming sites, particularly streets which were used to substitute for international locations such as Egypt, Greece and Romania. In some cases episodes briefly featured second unit footage shot in Europe, notably Egypt and Greece, though they were mainly establishing shots.
The two-part episode The Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom, which is set on the studio lot, were filmed on parts of Colonial Street, the backlot street which was later used in the Tom Hanks film The Burbs and is used as Wisteria Lane in the hit TV series Desperate Housewives.
During the first season individual episodes were entirely focused either on the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, and aired alternately. The opening credits featured a maze under the series title, and shifts plane of focus supposedly to "3-D."
At the end of the haunting theme music, a voice-over announcer would state who was featured in the episode and the episode title. This worked well for cross-over episodes featuring both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, as the credits featured all of the performers.
Episode #12 The Mystery of the Ghostwriter's Cruise is noteworthy because it contains a sequence in which a tidal wave appears to approach a cruise ship, a deliberate homage to The Poseidon Adventure, in which Martin also starred.
For the show's second and third seasons the title sequence was altered; the maze replaced with clips from the series and a collage of book covers from the book series. Depending on which characters were featured - the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew or both - the sequence was altered to give greater emphasis to one, the other or both.
During the second season, only three episodes feature Drew alone; the remainder starred the Hardy Boys with Pamela Sue Martin, as Nancy Drew, credited as a guest star (creating an unusual situation in which an actor playing a title role in a series was not actually acknowledged in the opening credits).
This was due in part to a change for the second season, where separate opening credits rolled for episodes featuring the different title characters. Martin left the series during the second season, and was replaced, for three episodes near the end, by actress Janet Louise Johnson.
Both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew featured in eight episodes, six of which were in the form of two-part episodes. Pamela Sue Martin played Nancy Drew in The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula and The Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom which were both transmitted in two parts.
After Martin departed the series, the character of Nancy Drew made three more appearances, with the Hardy Boys, in the episodes Voodoo Doll, Mystery on the Avalanche Express and Arson and Old Lace. In those, she was played by Janet Louise Johnson.
In the third season Nancy Drew was dropped from the show completely, and it was renamed The Hardy Boys Mysteries. In this season, the Boys become professional agents for the Justice Department.
A number of well known actors appeared in episodes of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, either as celebrity guest stars or before they achieved subsequent fame.
Celebrities who appeared in episodes included Ricky Nelson (The Flickering Torch Mystery), Bob Crane (A Haunting We Will Go), Lorne Greene and Paul Williams (The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, where he sang the song "Hell of It", which originally appeared on his starring film Phantom of the Paradise), Casey Kasem, Dennis Weaver, Jaclyn Smith and Robert Wagner (Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom), Tony Dow (The Creatures Who Came on Sunday), Maureen McCormick (Nancy Drew's Love Match), William Campbell and Missy Gold (Will The Real Santa ...?), Lloyd Bochner and Dorothy Malone (The House on Possessed Hill), Diana Muldaur (Sole Survivor), Ray Milland and Howard Duff (Voodoo Doll), Vic Damone, Fabian and Troy Donahue (Mystery on the Avalanche Express), Pernell Roberts and Joseph Cotten (Arson and Old Lace), Dana Andrews and Patrick Macnee (Assault on the Tower), John Colicos (Search for Atlantis), June Lockhart and Robert Loggia (Dangerous Waters), and Robert Karnes, who guest starred as a sheriff in four episodes: Mystery of the Fallen Angels, A Haunting We Will Go, The Mystery of the Diamond Triangle, and The Mystery of Pirate's Cove (all 1977).
Famous actors who appeared in the series earlier in their career included Jamie Lee Curtis, Robert Englund and A Martinez (The Mystery of the Fallen Angels), Rosalind Chao (The Mystery of the Jade Kwan Yin), Mark Harmon and Martin Kove (The Mystery of the Solid Gold Kicker), Anne Lockhart (The Mystery of the African Safari and The Last Kiss of Summer), Rick Springfield (Will The Real Santa ...?), Nicholas Hammond and John Karlen (The Lady on Thursday at Ten), Melanie Griffith (The House on Possessed Hill), Kim Cattrall and Linda Dano (Voodoo Doll), Valerie Bertinelli, Stepfanie Kramer and Kim Lankford (Campus Terror), Ana Alicia (Life on the Line).
Bernie Taupin, the composer and musical partner of Elton John, appeared in the two-part episode The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, as a young British musician.
Darleen Carr, who guest starred in the episode Search for Atlantis, is the sister of Charmian Carr, who played Liesl von Trapp in the Robert Wise film adaptation of The Sound of Music.
Producer Glen A. Larson also produced the science fiction series Battlestar Galactica, which aired in 1978-'79 and 1980. A number of actors who appeared in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries were also either cast members or guest stars of that series, including Lorne Greene, Maren Jensen, Anne Lockhart, Rick Springfield, Ana Alicia, Patrick Macnee and John Colicos.
The series was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1977, in the category of "Special Classification of Outstanding Individual Achievement", recognizing the work of cinematographer Enzo Martinelli.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD in Region 1 & 2. The third and final season should be released soon. In fall 2008, Netflix.com made Season 3 available to watch through their "Watch Instantly" subscription service. However, as of November 2009 the episodes are no longer available.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Region 1||Region 2|
|Season 1||14||March 22, 2005||July 16, 2007|
|Season 2||22||June 12, 2007||December 26, 2007|
|Season 3||10||February 12, 2013||TBA|
-  The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries on the Hardy Boys Wiki.