The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries dvd cover.jpg
Genre Mystery
Developed by Glen A. Larson
Theme music composer Stu Phillips
Opening theme "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Theme"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 46 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Glen A. Larson
Producer(s) Joyce Brotman
Arlene Sidaris
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 44-48 minutes
Production company(s) Glen A. Larson Productions
Universal Television
Distributor Universal Television
Original network ABC
Original release January 30, 1977 (1977-01-30) – January 14, 1979 (1979-01-14)

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (re-titled The Hardy Boys for season three) is a television mystery series based on the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew novel series. The series, which ran from January 30, 1977 to January 14, 1979, was produced by Glen A. Larson from Universal Television for ABC.

The series starred Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as detective brothers Frank and Joe Hardy, respectively, and Pamela Sue Martin (later Janet Louise Johnson) as amateur sleuth 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, Frank and Joe, are brother amateur detectives.[1] The two boys live in the fictional city of Bayport, Massachusetts (a change from the book series, which sets Bayport in the state of New York) [2] with their famous father, Fenton Hardy, a private detective who spent "twenty years" with the New York Police Department.[3]

In addition to the Hardy Boys, their stories feature two other characters with some regularity: Aunt Gertrude and a platonic female friend of the boys, Callie Shaw, who also does part-time work for their father. The only other character who played a major part of the Hardy Boys books, Chet Morton, 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, Carson, in the fictional town of River Heights, New Jersey (another change from the book series, which sets River Heights outside of Chicago).[4]

In addition to Nancy Drew and her father, her stories feature two other characters with some regularity: her close friend George Fayne and Ned Nickerson. Another prominent character from the Nancy Drew books, Bess Marvin, made only three appearances in two-part episodes. 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 season, Nickerson is a law student who does part-time work for Carson Drew. In the second season, Nickerson is re-introduced, with no reference to his earlier appearances, 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.

The TV show marked the first time that the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew met and worked together as they had never done so in the context of the books at that time (up to that point). In the first episode of the second season ("The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula") 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 mostly platonic, there is a heavily implied romance between Nancy Drew and Frank Hardy. In one episode ("Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom") they kiss briefly.





  • Robert Karnes as Sheriff King (Season 1)
  • Gary Springer as Chet Morton (Season 1)
  • Herb Voland as Chief Ezra Collig (Season 1)
  • Susan Buckner as George Fayne (Season 2)[6]
  • Rick Springfield as Ned Nickerson (Season 2)[7]
  • Ruth Cox as Bess Marvin (Season 2)


The show was filmed at Universal Studios on the studio lot on parts of Colonial Street, the backlot street which was later used in the Tom Hanks film The 'Burbs and was used as Wisteria Lane in the hit TV series Desperate Housewives.

The theme music was composed by long-time Glen A. Larson collaborator Stu Phillips.[9]

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis auditioned for the role of Nancy Drew.[10][11] She later guest starred in a Nancy Drew episode, "The Mystery of the Fallen Angels".


Season Episodes First aired Last aired Rank Nielsen ratings
1 14 January 30, 1977 May 22, 1977 #61 17.2
2 22 September 11, 1977 May 7, 1978 #69 15.8
3 10 October 1, 1978 January 14, 1979 #92 13.0

First season[edit]

During the first season individual episodes were entirely focused either on the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, and aired alternately.

The show was pitched to ABC in September 1976, and the pilots were filmed for 24 straight hours.[12]

Episode #12 "The Mystery of the Ghostwriter's Cruise" is noteworthy because it contains a sequence in which a tsunami appears to approach a cruise ship, a deliberate homage to the 1972 film, The Poseidon Adventure, in which Martin had also starred.

Second season[edit]

In an attempt to garner more ratings, the series went under an overhaul, both creatively and production-wise.

The producers decided to focus more on The Hardy Boys, with Nancy Drew mainly appearing in crossover episodes. The decision behind this was more of a financial decision. In an unusual situation, Martin was credited as a guest star in the crossover episodes. Only three episodes feature Martin alone. By the end of the season, both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew had been featured together in eight episodes; six of these were in the form of two-part episodes.

After the first season, most of the cast members were let go. The character of George Fayne was recast with Susan Buckner for three episodes; Ned Nickerson was changed to a guest star in one episode, in which he is supposedly introduced for the first time; and the characters of Callie, Aunt Gertrude, Chet, and any recurring characters were dropped from the series altogether. More famous celebrities of the time, such as Maureen McCormick and Robert Wagner, also began to be utilized as guest stars.

Following production on Episode #13, ("The Lady on Thursday at Ten") Martin left the series due to creative differences, which included the shift in the focus of the series and the departure of most of the first-season cast. She was replaced, for four crossover episodes near the end, by actress Janet Louise Johnson. However, audiences supposedly reacted negatively to the change, and Johnson— as well as the Nancy Drew character— were dropped from the series following the end of the second season.

Third season[edit]

Following the departure of Pamela Sue Martin, and the subsequent mixed reaction with replacement Janet Louise Johnson, producers once again rebooted the series. This time, they cut the "Nancy Drew" character, and the series, now titled The Hardy Boys, focused solely on The Hardy Boys.

The first episode saw a major departure from the previous seasons, with Frank and Joe hired by the US Justice Department as professional investigation agents. The series now focused on darker subjects, such as drug trafficking and murder.

In January 1979, the series was cancelled. According to the cast and crew members, this was due to ABC attempting to garner better ratings in that time period (which ultimately failed, and in fact, ratings declined following the cancellation).[12] This season aired before another notable Glen A. Larson series, Battlestar Galactica, which would be canceled in the spring.

Theme song[edit]

  • For the first season, the opening credits featured a maze under the series title, and shifts plane of focus supposedly to "3-D." Martin, Stevenson, and Cassidy were all credited in all episodes, despite the program alternating between the characters. At the end of the haunting theme music, a voice-over announcer would state who was featured in the episode and the episode title.
  • For the second season, 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 emphasis to one or the other.
  • For the third season, the series' theme song was remixed, and given more of an upbeat disco sound. It featured clips from the various season three episodes, along with the names of Cassidy and Stevenson.


Average seasonal ratings[edit]

Season TV season Timeslot (EDT) Season Premiere Season Finale Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 1977 Sunday 7:00 PM January 30, 1977 (1977-01-30) May 22, 1977 (1977-05-22) #61 17.2 [13]
2 1977–78 Sunday 7:00 PM [14] September 11, 1977 (1977-09-11) May 7, 1978 (1978-05-07) #69 15.8 [15]
3 1978–79 Sunday 7:00 PM October 1, 1978 (1978-10-01) January 14, 1979 (1979-01-14) #92 13.0 [16]


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.

Guest appearances[edit]

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, Bernie Taupin, Trini Lopez and Paul Williams (The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, where Williams sang the song "Hell of It", which originally appeared on his 1974 starring film Phantom of the Paradise); Jaclyn Smith, Robert Wagner, Casey Kasem and Dennis Weaver (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); Jack Jones (Death Surf); Pernell Roberts and Joseph Cotten (Arson and Old Lace); Kevin Tighe (Last Kiss of Summer) 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); and 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.

Home video[edit]

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD in Region 1 & 2. In fall 2008, made Season 3 available to watch through their "Watch Instantly" subscription service. However, as of November 2009 the episodes were no longer available. In 2016, select episodes were made available through on its "Watch Instantly" subscription feature, but was removed as of January 1, 2017.[17] Shout! Factory released the third and final season on DVD on February 12, 2013.[18]

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


  1. ^ At no point does the series state the ages of the brothers. Chief Collig refers to them as "underage" in "Mystery of the Jade Kwan Yin" & the implication in that episode is that they're still in high school, but no age is specifically mentioned. The books at the time have the brothers as one year apart.
  2. ^ As stated in the episodes "Mystery of the Jade Kwan Yin", "House on Possessed Hill", and "Mystery of Witches Hollow", Bayport is in Massachusetts. The book series is set in NY, but the location was changed for the TV show.
  3. ^ Stated in the episode "Mystery of the Haunted House"
  4. ^ Location changed for the TV show. The book series sets River Heights near Chicago, IL, but the TV show sets it near NYC, New York. No specific state is mentioned.
  5. ^ Pamela Sue Martin portrayed Nancy until the thirteenth episode of the second season. From the seventeenth episode onwards, she is portrayed by Janet Louise Johnson, in a guest starring role.
  6. ^ a b Jean Rasey's portrayal of George Fayne was credited as a main cast member, while Susan Buckner's portrayal was credited as a guest star.
  7. ^ a b During season one, George O'Hanlon's portrayal of Ned Nickerson was as a main cast member. For season two, Rick Springfield takes over the role as a guest star.
  8. ^ Kelly had portrayed a similar character called "Helms" in a season two episode.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^ One episode, "Arson and Old Lace", aired on a Saturday at 8:00 PM.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Moore, Kasey (3 December 2016). "Titles Leaving Netflix in January 2017". What's On Netflix. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  18. ^

External links[edit]