Actually, as fans of the books know, Dixon and Keene were both pen names used by Edward Stratemeyer when he created those characters in 1927. Just as the young detectives have been updated in print every so often to accommodate successive generations of readers, so too did the TV show present Joe (Shaun Cassidy, brother of David Cassidy of The Partridge Family), Frank (Parker Stevenson), and Nancy (Pamela Sue Martin) as thoroughly 1970s kids. The boys are outfitted with motorcycles, Joe enjoys a retro-pop singing career, and Nancy has a certain freedom of movement only the hippest of dads in a permissive age would allow. Hardy Boys finds the always-amicable siblings following in the footsteps of their father, Fenton (Edmund Gilbert), a private detective, as they untangle capers that take them from haunted houses to Hawaii. The Hardy episodes make for brisk, family viewing, much better than the bubblegum reputation that built up, undeservedly, around the series. Slightly less interesting are the Nancy Drew programs (despite a more entertaining supporting cast), but only because the heroine is less focused and distractingly man-crazy, and the storylines are less exotic. An emphasis on the supernatural and science-fiction themes lends a Scooby-Doo vibe to several programs in both series, though the best stories are the ones with straightforward, meat-and-potatoes detective work. Among the directors on either series are Jack Arnold (The Creature from the Black Lagoon), Winrich Kolbe (Star Trek: The Next Generation), and actors Vince Edwards and Stuart Margolin. --Tom Keogh
The Hardy Boys Mysteries and The Nancy Drew Mysteries Trivia
Jamie Lee Curtis and Robert Englund, who played the biker couple Mary and Gar in an episode of this series, started acting in horror films during this era.