Posted in Books

Some Old Books On My Shelf, Part 2 or The Hardy Boys off the top of my head

OK, I’m winging this. No research and no rereading. So if there are any Hardy Boys experts out there feel free to correct me – its been a while.

The Hardy Boys were Frank and Joe Hardy. In every book within the first few pages, the author would always mention that Frank had dark hair and was 18 years old while Joe had blond hair and was 17. Taken literally, it would mean they had one heck of a year solving all these mysteries but I don’t think this was meant to be taken quite that seriously. Realistically, each mystery could and perhaps was intended to stand alone.

They had a revolving circle of friends of which Chet Morton was the “staple”. I think he may have been in every book while others rotated in and out of various stories which is probably why I don’t remember their names – one of them I think was Biff. Frank tended to date Callie Shaw while Joe tended to date Iola Morton, Chet’s younger sister. This seemed to always be mentioned the way their age and hair color was mentioned. I think sometimes the girls got pulled into the mysteries.

Wait, I think it was Biff Hooper. I’m going to go with that.

Their dad was Fenton Hardy who I think had retired from the FBI? They had an Aunt Gertrude and I’m pretty sure they had a mother but I can’t remember anything about her.

They lived in Bayport. I don’t think it was ever said exactly where this Bayport was. I always had a feeling it was somewhere on the east coast but that might have been just because I lived closer to the east coast than the west coast.

Sometimes the mysteries would keep them in Bayport and sometimes the mysteries would take them elsewhere. In one story they went to Iceland. As a kid, I wondered if anyone ever really went to Iceland. As an adult, I know lots of people who have been to Iceland.

Many of the stories would involve their hobbies and the Hardy Boys and their friends had lots of them. The one I remember the most was The Hooded Hawk Mystery in which they trained hawks. Similar to Iceland, I thought “Do teenagers actually do this?” I don’t think the Hardy Boys watched much TV.

They also liked their cars and Chet’s was always referred to as a jalopy.

As with most mystery series (and campy Batman series from the 1960’s), the boys would always get themselves into a life and death situation that required rescue that came in the form of others or in the form of their own ingenuity. These plot elements made for great suspense as a kid even if eventually I began to realize that they probably would always escape. If they died there wouldn’t be anymore mysteries.

As for plots, I don’t remember a lot. I could probably look at the covers and get some ideas. Speaking of covers, most of them looked pretty cool.

The one piece of research I did had to do with the author Franklin W. Dixon. According to wikipedia, this was a pseudonym for a number of different authors who wrote the stories. This kind of blew my mind but it made sense and Hamlette over at The Edge of the Precipice confirmed this for me, too.

So that was my trip down memory lane regarding the Hardy Boys. I have more old books on my shelf that I plan to post about in the near future.

Do you remember anything about the Hardy Boys?

10 thoughts on “Some Old Books On My Shelf, Part 2 or The Hardy Boys off the top of my head

  1. I remember all of that too! I loved that they had their own motorcycles, and they turned the barn in the backyard into a gym for themselves and their friends. And they had a darkroom there too, and a fingerprint lab, because of course they did.

    My brother and I still joke about “Hardy Boy Pockets” that magically contain absolutely everything you could ever need if you were stuck in a cave or lost at sea or captured by bad guys. Flashlight? Check. String? Check. Matches? Check. Candle stub? Check. Candy bar to nourish your dad who’s been held captive with no food for 3 days? Check. They were more prepared than any boy scout ever!

    Man, I loved those books so much.

    1. Ah! You’ve got me thinking now that I should reread one of them – just for fun. It would probably be The Hooded Hawk Mystery.

  2. Hi Dale,
    We may have talked about this before but, yes, I remember the Hardy Boys and read pretty much all their books that we could find. I too remember, the 18, dark-haired, 17, blond-haired reference ritual. You are right about Chet being the pole position friend. I seem to remember he was often messing things up for them – kind of a grown up version of Larry Mondello’s relationship with Beaver in the Leave it to Beaver sitcom. Biff was the 2nd most frequently appearing and I think one of the other boys was named Cohen, but there were two more friends making 6 in all, counting Frank & Joe, and there were some stories where all of them were enlisted to join the cause. They also had a small boat named “The Sleuth” that frequently aided in their crime solving.

    Once, in the past year or so, in a ‘spasm of nostalgia’ I bought and read a kindle version of The Tower Treasure, which I think was book #1 in the series. I read it quite quickly (even as a kid I remember they only took a couple of hours for me – a slow reader – to finish) and enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Recently, my short story reading group (now up to 67 meetings and counting!) read an excerpt from Thomas Hardy’s Two on a Tower, and one of our members jokingly asked if he was “related to the Hardy Boys”; I remembered enough at that moment to tell them that the first mystery they solved was the TOWER treasure, so maybe he was on to something.

    -Jay

    1. Hi Jay,
      I think it was Phil Cohen?! And they had a friend named Tony I think. I remember The Sleuth, too!

      67 meetings is impressive!
      -Dale

      1. Oh, and one other common thing I forgot – someone was always taking a hit in the “solar plexus” when fisticuffs erupted! Hahaha

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