The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (retitled The Hardy Boys Mysteries for season three) is a television series which aired for three seasons on ABC from 1977 to 1979. The series starred Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as amateur sleuth brothers Frank and Joe Hardy, respectively, and Pamela Sue Martin (later Janet Louise Johnson) as girl detective Nancy Drew.

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries was unusual in that it often dealt with the characters individually, in an almost anthological style. That is, some episodes featured only the Hardy Boys and others only Nancy Drew.


The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were both successful book publishing franchises, owned by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a publishing group which owned many successful children's book lines.

The Hardy Boys are brother amateur detectives. Frank is the elder of the two and Joe is a year younger. The two boys live in the fictional city of Bayport (on Barmet Bay) with their famous father, Fenton Hardy (Ed Gilbert), a private detective formerly with the New York Police Department.

In addition to the Hardy Boys, their stories feature two other characters with some regularity: Aunt Gertrude (Edith Atwater) and a platonic female friend of the boys, Callie Shaw (Lisa Eilbacher), who also does part-time work for their father, Fenton. Other characters which played a major part of the Hardy Boys books, such as Chet Morton (Gary Springer), appeared only briefly in the series.

Nancy Drew is the amateur sleuth — she prefers the term "part time investigator" — daughter of attorney Carson Drew. She lives with her father in the fictional River Heights which, by the nature of the cross-over element of the series, cannot be too distant from the Hardy Boys east coast United States home town of Bayport.

In addition to Nancy Drew and her father, Carson (William Schallert), her stories feature two other characters with some regularity: her close friend George (Georgia) Fayne (Jean Rasey and, later for two episodes, Susan Buckner) and Ned Nickerson (George O. Hanlon, Jr.) Another prominent character from the Nancy Drew books, Bess Marvin (Ruth Cox), made only two appearances.

In the novels on which the series was based, Nickerson is explicitly identified as Nancy's boyfriend; in the television series, their romance is more ambiguous.

In the first series, Nickerson is a law student who does part-time work for Carson Drew. In the second series, Nickerson is re-introduced — with no reference to his earlier appearances, and in a scene in which he is apparently introduced to Nancy Drew for the first time — as a young hotshot lawyer from the city District Attorney's office. In this second appearance he is played by Rick Springfield.

Although the characters are known to each other in the framework of the novels, in their first television encounter they are strangers. In the first episode of the second season they meet in a hotel room in Europe; the boys tracking their father, who was working on a case with Nancy Drew.

Though the relationship between Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys is largely platonic, there is an implied romance between Nancy Drew and Frank Hardy. In one episode they kiss briefly.


In 1976, producers Arlene Sidaris and Joyce Brotman thought of adapting the Nancy Drew books. Initially, the rights to Nancy Drew were unavailable, so they instead focused on The Hardy Boys, first as a movie at Paramount, then as a television series at Universal. The studio also encouraged them to get the rights from Stratemeyer Syndicate head Harriet Adams, who was in her eighties. Brotman and Joyce had to convince Adams that the adaption would be "innocent" before they could secure the rights. Once the rights were secured, Glen A. Larson joined the project.[1]

Hearing the pitch in September 1976, ABC believed the project to be perfect for the Sunday night 7:00 pm timeslot, otherwise known as "Family Hour". Shaun Cassidy was the first to be cast, after the producers were looking for a "young David Cassidy" (Shaun was the younger brother of David). Parker Stevenson was cast after producers liked their chemistry together as brothers. Nancy Drew was reportedly the hardest to cast, with Pamela Sue Martin being cast after an exhaustive search. In November, ABC ordered the pilot to series, replacing the Bill Cosby-fronted sketch comedy Cos.

The series premiered on January 30, 1977, with extreme competition from 60 Minutes on CBS, and The Wonderful World of Disney on NBC. The series was successful, placing at #61 in the overall season.[2] However, ABC forced the producers to focus more on The Hardy Boys and less on Nancy Drew, citing financial costs and higher ratings of the Hardy Boys episodes over Nancy Drew. The higher ratings could be attributed in part due to the success of Cassidy's recording career. Within the first thirteen episodes, Nancy Drew was only featured in seven episodes; the first four in crossover appearances, and the final three in solo episodes. After the network decided against more solo episodes, Martin left the series. She was replaced by Janet Louise Johnson for the remainder of the season, before the character was dropped altogether.[1]

For the third season, producers decided to retool the premise to now have The Hardy Boys working as government agents. The show also took a more darker turn, with Joe becoming engaged in the first episode before his fiancée is killed that same episode. Despite respectable ratings, ABC cancelled the series in an attempt to gain more ratings for the night.[1]


The series was produced by Universal Studios, and the series used many of the Universal backlot locations as filming sites, particularly streets which were used to substitute for international locations such as Egypt, Greece and Romania. In the first season, the characters' homes were located on Colonial Street; The Hardy Boys' home would later be featured on the ABC series Desperate Housewives as the home of main character Susan Mayer.[3]

Theme Song and Music

The original music was composed by Stu Phillips. The first season opening featured a maze under the series title, and shifts plane of focus supposedly to "3-D." The second season opening featured clips, over collage of book covers from the book series edited with the characters' actors onto them. Depending on which characters were featured - the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew or both - the sequence was altered to give greater emphasis to one, the other or both. Both seasons featured an announcer at the end of the sequence stating which character would appear, and the episode title. The third season featured a disco remix of the theme song, which played over clips; the voice announcer was dropped completely.


Main article: The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries/Episodes

First Season

Episode #12 The Mystery of the Ghostwriter's Cruise is noteworthy because it contains a sequence in which a tidal wave appears to approach a cruise ship, a deliberate homage to The Poseidon Adventure, in which Martin also starred.

Second Season

During the second season, only three episodes feature Drew alone; the remainder starred the Hardy Boys with Pamela Sue Martin, as Nancy Drew, credited as a guest star (creating an unusual situation in which an actor playing a title role in a series was not actually acknowledged in the opening credits). This was due in part to a change for the second season, where separate opening credits rolled for episodes featuring the different title characters. Martin left the series after the thirteenth episode of the season, and was replaced by Janet Louise Johnson for four episodes. In all, the Nancy Drew character appeared in eight "crossover" episodes, with the first six being two-part episodes.

Third Season

In the third season Nancy Drew was dropped from the show completely, and it was renamed The Hardy Boys Mysteries. In this season, the Boys become professional agents for the Justice Department.

Celebrity Appearances

A number of well known actors appeared in episodes of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, either as celebrity guest stars or before they achieved subsequent fame.

Celebrities who appeared in episodes included:

  • Monte Markham ("The Mystery of Pirate's Cove")
  • Ricky Nelson ("The Flickering Torch Mystery")
  • Bob Crane ("A Haunting We Will Go")
  • Robert Alda ("Mystery of the Fallen Angels")
  • David Wayne ("The Mystery of the Ghostwriters' Cruise")
  • Lorne Greene ("The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula")
  • Paul Williams ("The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula")
  • Bernie Taupin ("The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula")
  • Casey Kasem ("Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom")
  • J.D. Cannon ("Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom")
  • Dennis Weaver ("Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom: Part I")
  • Jaclyn Smith ("Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom: Part II")
  • Robert Wagner ("Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom: Part II")
  • Tony Dow ("The Creatures Who Came on Sunday")
  • Maureen McCormick ("Nancy Drew's Love Match")
  • Christopher Connelly ("Nancy Drew's Love Match")
  • William Campbell ("Will the Real Santa Claus...?")
  • Lloyd Bochner ("The House on Possessed Hill")
  • Dorothy Malone ("The House on Possessed Hill")
  • Diana Muldaur ("Sole Survivor")
  • Ray Milland ("Voodoo Doll")
  • Howard Duff ("Voodoo Doll")
  • Edd Byrnes ("Mystery on the Avalanche Express")
  • Gary Crosby ("Mystery on the Avalanche Express")
  • Vic Damone ("Mystery on the Avalanche Express")
  • Troy Donahue ("Mystery on the Avalanche Express")
  • Fabian ("Mystery on the Avalanche Express")
  • Tommy Sands ("Mystery on the Avalanche Express")
  • Deborah Walley ("Mystery on the Avalanche Express")
  • Jack Jones ("Death Surf")
  • Joseph Cotten ("Arson and Old Lace")
  • Pernell Roberts ("Arson and Old Lace")
  • Cathy Rigby ("Arson and Old Lace")
  • Valerie Bertinelli ("Campus Terror")
  • Dana Andrews ("Assault on the Tower")
  • Patrick Macnee ("Assault on the Tower")
  • John Colicos ("Search for Atlantis")
  • June Lockhart ("Dangerous Waters")
  • Robert Loggia ("Dangerous Waters")

Several celebrities also appeared in episodes early in their career, including:

  • Joe Penny ("The Mystery of Pirate's Cove")
  • Robert Englund ("Mystery of the Fallen Angels")
  • Jamie Lee Curtis ("Mystery of the Fallen Angels")
    • Curtis had also auditioned for the role of Nancy Drew, but lost to Pamela Sue Martin.
  • A Martinez ("Mystery of the Fallen Angels")
  • Rosalind Chao ("The Mystery of the Jade Kwan Yin")
  • Mark Harmon ("The Mystery of the Solid Gold Kicker")
  • Martin Kove ("The Mystery of the Solid Gold Kicker")
  • Anne Lockhart ("The Mystery of the African Safari", "The Last Kiss of Summer")
  • Rick Springfield ("Will the Real Santa Claus...?")
  • Missy Gold ("Will the Real Santa Claus...?")
  • Nicholas Hammond ("The Lady on Thursday at Ten")
  • John Karlen ("The Lady on Thursday at Ten")
  • Paul Regina ("Oh Say Can You Sing")
  • Melanie Griffith ("The House of Possessed Hill")
  • Kim Cattrall ("Voodoo Doll")
  • Linda Dano ("Voodoo Doll")
  • Maren Jensen ("Death Surf")
  • Stepfanie Kramer ("Campus Terror")
  • Kim Lankford ("Campus Terror")
  • Ana Alicia ("Life on the Line")

Executive producer Glen A. Larson also produced the science fiction series Battlestar Galactica, which aired from 1978 to 1979 (airing immediately after the third season) and 1980. A number of actors who appeared in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries were also either cast members or guest stars of that series, including Lorne Greene, Maren Jensen, Anne Lockhart, Janet Louise Johnson, Rick Springfield, Ana Alicia, Patrick Macnee and John Colicos.

Emmy Nomination

The series was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1977, in the category of "Special Classification of Outstanding Individual Achievement", recognizing the work of cinematographer Enzo Martinelli.

DVD releases

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released the first two seasons of the series on DVD in Regions 1 and 2, and season three in Region 1.

DVD Name Ep # Region 1 Region 2
Season 1 14 March 22, 2005 July 16, 2007
Season 2 22 June 12, 2007 December 26, 2007
Season 3 10 February 12, 2013 TBA


Promotional material



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Konow, David (April 20, 2010). The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. Den of Geek. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  2. 1976-77 television ratings
  3. Colonial Street – Hardy Boys.

External Links

  • [1] The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries on the Hardy Boys Wiki.
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