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?