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Subj: Creature Feature 211: The Hardy Boys And Nancy Drew Meet Dracula (1977)
Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 at 11:30:03 pm EDT (Viewed 99 times)
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries was a TV series that lasted for three seasons from 1977-79, with the third season featuring only The Hardy Boys. The show featured the heroes from their respective book series and was produced by Glen A. Larson for ABC television. Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy starred as brothers Frank and Joe Hardy and Pamela Sue Martin portrayed Nancy Drew in seasons 1 and 2. The second season premiere was a two part story titled "The Hardy Boys And Nancy Drew Meet Dracula" which aired on September 11 & 18, 1977, and featured Lorne Greene(Battlestar Galactica) and Paul Williams(Phantom Of The Paradise).
When detective Fenton Hardy disappears in Transylvania while tracking an art thief across Europe, Frank and Joe Hardy try to track him down. After running into Nancy Drew in Paris, whose attorney father is a friend of Fenton, the amateur detectives learn that Fenton was following the tour of rocker Allison Troy(Williams), as all the thefts coincided with Troy's tour dates and cities. This leads them to the Dracula Festival at Dracula's castle in Transylvania, Romania. Between musical numbers by Williams and Shaun Cassidy, the sleuths search the castle while Inspector Stavlin (Greene) also tries to piece the case together, dealing with stories of Dracula and the superstitious villagers. People are found with bite marks on their necks and Nancy is attacked by a huge vampire bat, but Mr. Hardy is found alive and the thief/vampire is eventually uncovered.
This series was a childhood favorite and, about 15 years ago, I revisited it. It was still very enjoyable but I remember being disappointed by this two-parter. Too much Paul Williams and not enough Dracula. This time, however, I give it much more credit. It's still not great as a Dracula story, not Scooby-Doo enough, but it's great Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew.
The first meeting of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew works very well with sitcom-style shenanigans and antagonism/attraction between Nancy and Frank. I never read the books but I love the characterizations as portrayed by Stevenson, Martin and Cassidy. They're smart, confident and charming.
Lorne Greene would've made a great "true" vampire. He's almost Lugosi-like in his performance and, occasionally, even looks like the horror legend.
Paul Williams is annoying, with his fake vampire teeth and bad horror jokes, but he was playing the role he was given.
The plot is typical Hardy Boys, but in this instance it's just a means to the vampiric end and doesn't make a ton of sense if you think about it too much. You kind of forget about the art thefts once you get to Dracula's Castle, until the very end. Attempts to bring about classic Dracula lore are only partially effective.
I'm sure it's a lot of nostalgia, but I really enjoyed watching this again and am considering a rewatch of the series.
Fenton Hardy searching Dracula's Castle. We don't know what's going on yet, but it's a bit of traditional Dracula, as Hardy's driver ditches him at the castle. The castle is creepy with bats and spiderwebs but Mr. Hardy gets clunked on the head instead of bitten on the neck. All we see of the vampire in this scene, as well as through most of the 2-parter, is the boots, cape, and hand with a big red ring of Dracula.
The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew booking the same room in the Paris hotel. This scene is well written and great fun as they keep missing each other and have the bellboy remove the other's luggage from the room. Frank and Nancy have good chemistry but their personalities make a relationship difficult, as Joe points out later.
Nancy being attacked by a bat in her room. Unlike Chosen Survivors, which Superman's Pal recently wrote about, this scene features a huge fake bat. Nancy is capable but shows some weakness after Frank gets her out of the room. Of course, she quickly composes herself afterward. This is the most monster movie-type scene in the episodes.
Catching the crook. It seems a bit far-fetched that Frank and Joe would piece together the mystery when confronted by Stavlin in the hidden room with all the stolen artwork, but it works well enough. I'm not sure how I feel about Joe noticing that Stavlin has no reflection in a mirror. I'm sure it was just a throw-away scene when made, but, if Stavlin is truly a vampire, it changes how the entire story should've progressed.
The Hardy Boys were created in 1927 by Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate publishing firm. Written by several ghostwriters under the penname Franklin W. Dixon, the characters have continued to the present day under the titles The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories, The Hardy Boys Casefile Series, The Clues Brothers, and The Undercover Brothers, among other titles. Stratemeyer followed up on The Hardy Boys with Nancy Drew in 1930, also ghostwritten by numerous writers under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene.
Shaun Cassidy broke through as a singer in 1976 and had 3 top 10 hits in 1977, including "That's Rock And Roll", which he performed at Dracula's Castle. Later in his career, he appeared on General Hospital (1987) and was a writer and producer on American Gothic (1995) and Invasion (2005). Comic fans remember this former teen idol from his poster advertisements. He is the son of Shirley Jones and half-brother of David Cassidy, both of The Partridge Family.
Parker Stevenson had roles in shows like Falcon Crest, Probe and Baywatch and is currently seen on Greenhouse Academy. Pamela Sue Martin had a memorable role on Dynasty. She left Nancy Drew in 1978 and was replaced by Janet Julian.
Lorne Greene had a long career as an actor but is best known for his roles as Ben Cartwright on Bonanza and Commander Adama on Battlestar Galactica. Paul Williams (Battle For The Planet Of The Apes) provided the voice of the Penguin on Batman and Superman cartoons in the 1990s.
You can watch "The Hardy Boys And Nancy Drew Meet Dracula" here:
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