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Hackady began his career writing teleplays for early anthology series General Electric Theater and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He graduated to feature films as the screenwriter of B-movies capitalizing on the rock and roll craze, including Let's Rock, Senior Prom (both with music by Don Gohman), and Hey, Let's Twist, which earned him a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Written Musical.
Hackady's theatrical career began with the 1955 Broadway revue Almost Crazy starring Kay Medford, for which he wrote sketches and lyrics. Additional Broadway credits include Minnie's Boys, Goodtime Charley, Ambassador, and Teddy & Alice.
He also wrote lyrics for Divorce, of course! with Angela Paton and Robert Goldsby writing the book, and Lee Pockriss writing the music. It waa originally translated from the French play, Divorcons, by Victorien Sardou and Émile de Najac. Hackady and Pockriss also co-wrote a song called "The Key" that Billy Thornhill recorded for Wand Records in 1968.
In 1975, Hackady wrote the lyrics for Snoopy!!! The Musical, a sequel to You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. It premiered at the Little Fox Theatre in San Francisco, but it was not until 1982 that it was staged in New York City, at the off-Broadway Lamb's Theatre, with a cast that included David Garrison, Vicki Lewis, and Lorna Luft. It was then mounted in the West End at the Duchess Theatre, where it enjoyed a successful run.
Hackady also has been represented off-Broadway with a musical adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1993) (which also was produced at Burt Reynolds' dinner theatre in Jupiter, Florida) and the revue Little by Little (1999). Alias Jimmy Valentine and Empty Pleasures have received regional theatre stagings.
New York Mets fans are familiar with Hackady's lyrics for "Let's Go, Mets," the team's theme song that was commissioned by advertising executive Jerry Della Femina in 1986. The recording earned a gold record and its companion video was a best-seller.