A series of popular detective mysteries in novel form, by Franklin W. Dixon. 58 of these books were originally written. Fans of this series eventually grew up and a new generation of serial cans enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure series, which for some ungodly reason caused a large spike in interest in Dungeons and Dragons. Dixon's series also gave way to R.L. Stein's series Goosebumps.

Some time after the original 58 stories were written, the series was resumed, and a spinoff series, The Hardy Boys Casefiles, was also begun. Now there are well over 200 Hardy Boys books.

Basically, this is some of the best fiction reading for boys there is. It's action-packed, and exposes the young reader to many hobbies and occupations. It's about the thrilling adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy, sons of detective Fenton Hardy.

A lesser known fact about The Hardy Boys (as well as Nancy Drew, Bomba The Jungle Boy, the Bobsey Twins and others) was that they weren't written by a single person. Franklin W. Dixon was a pen-name for probably a few dozen writers (in the begining, and the continuation after number 58 is very likely a few dozen more).

In addition the original Hardy Boys series and the The Hardy Boy Casefiles, Joe and Frank have appeared in Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys crossover "supermysteries". I hated these as a child, because they were far too Nancy Drew centered and she always ended up solving the crime while the Hardy Boys just sat around and got saved by Nancy. I guess there was some message being sent about female empowerment or something, I don't know. Nonetheless, I read them because the Hardy Boys were my heros. Plus, I wanted to see Nancy and Frank hookup. There was a lot of sexual tension going on, but it never happened. God, I hated those books.

The Hardy Boys also appeared on the small screen in several different formats. The first attempt was in the 1950's. The Boys were in two serials aired by Disney's Mickey Mouse Club on ABC. Frank Hardy was played by Tim Considine and Joe Hardy was played by Tommy Kirk. Both Episodes were produced by Walt Disney and the Disney channel still shows these every once in a while.

In 1966, NBC tried their hand at airing a live action series of The Hardy Boys. It lasted only one episode.

Things got a little worse for the Boys in '69. They were turned into teens who used their groovy rock-n-roll band to cover their mystery solving ways. This animated series was complete with a soundtrack (think The Monkees). The cartoon aired on Saturday mornings on ABC until 1971.

In 1977, once again the Boys turned into live action heros on ABC. Joe Hardy was played by Shaun Cassidy (the love of my life for a short time) and Frank Hardy was played by Parker Stevenson. This series alternated with "The Nancy Drew Mysteries" and they even appeared in some of the episodes together. But in 1978, Nancy was dropped altogether. 38 episodes were filmed and aired, and the series lasted until January of 1979. Eight of the episodes are still available on VHS.

Finally, in '95, New Line Television developed and syndicated a version of The Hardy Boys. Colin Gray played Frank and Paul Popowich portrayed Joe. There were 13 episodes filmed and it was on the air for only 3 months.

http://www.geocities.com/fwdixon06/hbtv.htm

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