Weird old titles: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries

Weird old titles featuring books and mazes. Eeek

There was a time when every kid with an imagination and who read books would have known about those young detectives the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. If you were a boy, you read about brothers Frank and Joe Hardy and their intrepid investigations; if you were a girl (or called Rob Buckley), you read about Nancy Drew and her equally intrepid investigations.

And when I say was ‘there was a time’, it was a very long time indeed, since the original books came out in the 1920s and continued to be must-reads into the 90s.

Times have moved on, and there have been attempts to update the books, and dramatise them on TV or even in the movies – Nancy Drew getting the latest movie treatment, a slight pisstake with Nancy as a goody twoshoes struggling with modern teens; Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise are still working on a movie with them as the grown-up Hardy Boys. These updates haven’t been totally successful and the characters are fading somewhat into history.

Back in the 70s, though, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries was the Saturday night show to watch. The show starred teen heart-throb (and future TV show writer) Shaun Cassidy as Joe Hardy, Parker Stevenson (future star of Baywatch and Isaac Asimov’s P.R.O.B.E.) as Frank Hardy and Pamela Sue-Martin (future Fallon on Dynasty) as Nancy Drew (she was replaced towards the end of the second season by Janet Louise Johnson).

The format of the Mysteries was a bit weird. In the first of the show’s three seasons, it alternated each week between the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. By the second season, only three episodes featured Nancy Drew by herself and the rest had her as a ‘guest star’ in the Hardy Boys’ episodes. And by the third season, Nancy Drew was gone altogether, and the show became The Hardy Boys Mysteries.

Whatever you think of the show itself – and you can still catch an episode or two on YouTube (look, here’s one with Melanie Griffiths) – the opening titles for the second two seasons were weird and creepy, as was the theme music. They also quite cleverly managed to add the members of the cast to the then-famous book covers. Over to you weird old title sequence:


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.