About The Hardy Boys-Nancy Drew Mysteries TV series from the ’70s – plus cast pictures & opening credits

The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries TV show

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Based on the famous book series, The Hardy Boys-Nancy Drew Mysteries debuted in 1977, and alternated between Hardy Boys stories, Nancy Drew stories, and crossover episodes.

This television version starred Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as the brothers Frank and Joe, and Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy.

Under the original name, the show lasted for two seasons — but in season 3, the Drew part was dropped entirely to focus on Frank and Joe Hardy, and the name changed to The Hardy Boys.

Then, in 1979, the show was suddenly — and surprisingly — canceled mid-season. In all, the series had 46 episodes.

When it comes to TV’s new Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, clues to teen detectives’ appeal

By Jerry Buck in Hollywood, from the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) June 4, 1977

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys must be the world’s oldest teenagers. Like Little Orphan Annie, they never age.

But ABC’s new “The Hardy Boys-Nancy Drew Mysteries” offers a contemporary setting for the indestructible mystery-solvers whose adventures have enthralled several generations of young readers.

The shows, which rotate weekly, have an affecting quaintness that reflects creation in an earlier and more innocent age, but otherwise, are up-to-date.

They also are proving nearly as popular as the novels and are giving the venerable “Wonderful World of Disney,” the NBC Sunday night opposition, a run in the ratings. (Both shows are losing out to CBS’s “60 Minutes.”)

Secrets of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew - Electric Company magazine

Nancy Drew

“CASTING THE role of Nancy Drew was one of the toughest things we did,” said Glen Larson, executive producer for the two shows. “The difficulty was that with 50 years of books, you have a following of all ages. Everyone had a preconceived of what she should be like.”

He said Pamela Sue Martin fit the image he had in mind: contemporary, wholesome without being saccharine and clever without being smart-alecky. In addition, she also drives a mean motorcycle, which has come in handy on the show.

Larson said Martin also acts as a cliche spotter when “our writers let their male fantasies slip in.” In a football story, she nipped the characterization of the cheerleaders as vacuous stereotypes.

THE HARDY BOYS/NANCY DREW MYSTERIES, Parker Stevenson, Pamela Sue Martin, Shaun Cassidy, 1977-79

The Hardy Boys

Parker Stevenson plays Frank Hardy and Shaun Cassidy is Joe Hardy. Shaun, the younger brother of former teenage heartthrob David Cassidy, is a popular singer in his own right.

After filming the final show he went on to Australia for a concert tour. His musical abilities were put to use in one show when the boys solved a mystery of record pirating — a crime, incidentally, that did not exist when the books were written.

Up & comer Shaun Cassidy follows in illustrious footsteps (1977)

“WE TRY FOR a sense of realism,” Larson said, “but there are times when our villains don’t act realistically, because we’re in the pre-family hour. We can’t have guns or violence.”

Larson said few of the stories have come from the books, but he expects this may change next season. “The books were written in form and a time span that would take too long to tell,” he said.

“We have no restrictions against using the books, but some of them are just not that easy to transfer to the screen. But as we have more time, I think we’ll use more material from the books. As a producer, it’s nice to know that sitting on a shelf are all those stories to go to.”

Shaun Cassidy - The Hardy Boys TV show

In the past half-century, the Nancy Drew books have sold 60 million copies and the Hardy Boys 50 million copies — more than any other juvenile books on the market. And sales still are going strong. 

THE SUCCESS STORIES of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew began in 1886, when a man named Edward Stratemeyer scribbled his first story on a piece of brown wrapping paper (so so legend has it) in his brother’s tobacco shop in Newark, N.J.

Stratemeyer wrote more stories for boys’ magazines, then began writing dime novels. Eventually, he was chosen to complete the works of Horatio Alger Jr. after Alger died. Pretty soon, Stratemeyer launched his own series of children’s books — first, the Old Glory series, then the Rover Boys and the Motor Boys.

Vintage Nancy Drew books
Photo by Celeste Lindell
Vintage Hardy Boys books
Photo by Bradley P Johnson

By 1908, he had formed his own syndicate to produce children’s books and brought in extra help. Stratemeyer began to supply outlines. Freelance writers, many ill-paid journalists, wrote the books for flat fees ranging from $50 to $200 a volume with no royalties.

The system worked. Stratemeyer farmed out the first three “breeder” volumes of the Hardy Boys series to a young Canadian author named Leslie McFarlane, who wrote them under the name of Franklin W. Dixon until 1946. The series caught on.

Nancy Drew is the work of Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, Stratemeyer’s daughter. She and her late sister, Edna Squier, took over the syndicate when their father died in 1930.

Video clips from season 2

YouTube video

Network boosting ‘Hardy Boys’ series

By Charles Witbeck in Hollywood, via the Sunday Call-Chronicle (Allentown, PA) August 14, 1977

Getting to know “The Hardy Boys” on Sunday nights appears to be ABC’s current game plan.

Instead of alternating Sundays with “Nancy Drew,” ‘The Hardy Boys” reruns fill the August and early September calendar until the boy detectives team up with Nancy for a two-part spook show in Transylvania, Sept. 11 and 17.

Then the brothers chase crooks in Egypt, Paris and Germany on subsequent Sundays this fall before Nancy Drew is allowed a show of her own.

ABC’s interest is obvious — build “The Hardy Boys” audience on a weekly basis. “Nancy Drew” fans cool their heels until mid-October.

The “Hardy Boys” demonstrated unexpected strength this past winter, airing on alternate weeks after a rush-rush opening in late January.

Instead of watching Disney, girls 8 to 28 oohed over David Cassidy’s younger brother, singer Shaun Cassidy, as he and Parker Stevenson gunned their motorcycles, kaboomed with karate, and sneaked in a bit of Hawaii surfing on Sundays, to the point where an estimated 40 million caught their act.

Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy in Hardy Boys TV show 1970s

While Shaun has the kiddies squealing, sidekick Parker Stevenson is no slouch either with the fans.

Parker made a personal appearance recently in Scranton, Pa., to face a howling mob of thousands. The nice kid from Princeton was stunned.

He had made a few pictures such as “Lifeguard” and managed to remain in obscurity, but after a few Sunday nights on television, here he was being treated like a rock star.

As of last November, teenaged America was in the dark about Parker Stevenson. At that time, the slim Ivy League youngster, who had helped pay prep school and college bills by doing commercials, was about to put aside his acting for a master’s degree in business at NYU.

Parker’s pals are mostly bankers and lawyers, so it seemed logical for Stevenson not to put all his eggs in the acting basket, and to study business. It could never hurt.

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At Princeton, Parker majored in architecture, as did a former Tiger, one James Stewart, and rowed on the undefeated 1972 light-weight crew, even traveling to England for the tea-and-crumpets Henley Regatta.

Then Hollywood called in the nick of time. Parker came west for a Hardy Boys presentation, which was quickly followed by a pilot, and, within a few days, a work order to begin shooting the series.

Actor Parker Stevenson in the seventies

Stevenson didn’t have to hang around and wait months for pilots to sell as do most actors. It all transpired within weeks.

“I saw ‘The Hardy Boys’ on Disney’s Mouseketeer Show when I was a kid,” Parker said recently. “Disney should never have allowed Hardy rights to elapse. I also knew someone in New York who had an option on the books, but couldn’t sell it to a network.

“People have tried before. Now I think the timing is right for a family show. We’re wedged right in between Disney and ’60 Minutes’ and manage to do very nicely.”

While a camera crew supposedly is in Europe shooting backgrounds for the fall Hardy shows, Shaun and Parker perform at Universal Studios pretending to be abroad.

In upcoming episodes where the Boys team with Nancy Drew, Parker’s Frank Hardy and Nancy may create a few sparks. Since Stevenson and Nancy’s Pamela Sue Martin worked together in the film, “Our Time,” the pairing is a natural.

“I know Pamela Sue well,” says Parker. “We’re very comfortable together.”

Actress Pamela Sue Martin - 1977 - Nancy Drew

They should be. Both come from the Westport, Connecticut/Westchester County area, earning money in their teens by modeling and by commercials. Though Parker never had to model, the “How do I look?” syndrome always applied when he walked into an audition.

“After a while,” said Parker, “that’s all you think of — ‘How do I look?’ It’s scary. I don’t watch our dailies because I’ll start doing it again and forget about the performance.”

“Princeton Parker,” as one grip calls him, plays down the Ivy League background in Hollywood. Single, addicted to water, and curious, Parker enjoys performing, but admits he could be just as happy doing something else. Fortunate to have fallen into a rocketing show, Stevenson will savor the ride and the adulation.

And when it’s all over, Parker may be found sculling down a river far away from Hollywood, living another life.

Vintage Hardy Boys TV Guide ad

Young sleuths lead The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries TV show

From the San Bernardino County Sun (California) June 19, 1977

The Hardy Boys (Parker Stevenson as Frank and Shaun Cassidy as Joe), like their world-famous investigator father, Fenton Hardy (portrayed by Edmund Gilbert), cannot resist an exciting case with elusive clues.

In addition to being brothers, the boys are the best of friends — working together and enjoying themselves while hotly pursuing clues that lead to ultimate resolutions of the mysterious cases despite their very different personalities.

Frank lives for the moment, never planning ahead and rushing headlong into the fray. Like his father, he is a natural detective and enthusiastic crime fighter, perceiving everything about him in terms of clues.

Up & comer Shaun Cassidy follows in illustrious footsteps (1977)

He is counterbalanced by brother Joe — the steady and methodical one who provides checks and balances for Frank’s unbridled enthusiasm. The boys live with their father and their Aunt Gertrude (Edith Atwater).

Working part-time for Mr. Hardy in his thriving detective agency is Callie Shaw (Lisa Eilbacher), a bright and pretty girl who shares Joe and Frank’s adventures.

Hardy Boys family

Parker Stevenson entered the world of show business via commercials which came about because his mother, actress Sarah Meade, was also in that field in New York, This led to a successful audition at Paramount for a leading role in the motion picture “A Separate Peace.”

Parker has also appeared in “Our Time” and “Lifeguard ” Born in Philadelphia, Parker has an older sister, Sarah. and a younger brother, Hutch. He graduated from Princeton University where he majored in art and architectural history. He plans to go to graduate school for his M.A. A bachelor, he maintains residences in both New York and Hollywood.

Nancy Drew, the All-American girl detective and one of the first liberated young ladies of American literature, shares her adventures on alternate Sunday evenings (ABC at 7PM) with The Hardy Boys, a team of teenage detectives.

Pamela Sue Martin stars as eighteen-year-old Nancy Drew, who resides in River Heights with her widowed father whom she adores. She is intelligent, courageous and self-reliant, with a talent for solving mysteries.

Jean Rasey and Pamela Sue Martin - Nancy Drew
Pamela Sue Martin (right) stars as Nancy Drew, resourceful young amateur sleuth, and Jean Rasey co-stars as her friend and aide, George Fayne.

William Schallert co-stars as Carson Drew, Nancy’s father, and one of the best criminal lawyers in the country. He is assisted in his office by law student Ned Nickerson (George O’Hanlon Jr.) who is always around when Nancy needs him, and also gets involved in her capers.

Accompanying Nancy on her adventures is her closest female friend and cousin, George Fayne (played by Jean Rasey).

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Pamela Sue Martin was born in Westport, Conn., and has an older sister living in San Francisco.

While she was attending Staples High School in Westport, a friend suggested she try modeling in New York. Pam took her friend’s advice, and was soon earning a good living as a teenage model in magazine advertisements and television commercials.

Actress Pamela Sue Martin - 1977 - Nancy Drew

While still active as a model, she tried out for a part in the Ray Stark film, “To Find A Man,” and wound up playing the lead role. After the film was completed, Pamela returned to Westport to finish her last year of high school.

Because of favorable critical notices for her performance in “To Find A Man,” she was called to California to costar in “The Poseidon Adventure.” She has also starred in “Buster & Billie” and “Our Time.”

When not before the cameras, Pamela enjoys athletic pursuits, especially scuba diving, tennis and skiing.

Parker Stevenson stars as Frank Hardy, Cassidy co-stars as his younger brother Joe. Shaun Cassidy was born in Los Angeles and is a member of a show business family. He is the son of Shirley Jones and the late Jack Cassidy, and a half-brother to pop-rock star David Cassidy.

Scene - Hardy Boys Mysteries vintage TV show 70s

Shaun organized his first band while still in grammar school, performing both as the singer and guitar player at local high school functions and parties.

After graduation from Beverly Hills High School, Shaun — in coordination with the release of his first single recording — toured several European cities, and was well received in concert. He was presented his first gold record for the album “That’s Rock.”

C'mon get happy! Meet the Partridge Family & see the intro (1970)

In the summer of 1975, he toured the United States with his mother in the musical “On A Clear Day,” and has also appeared on stage in “The Sound of Music,” “High Button Shoes,” and “Oliver.”

According to Shaun, “writing and performing music is my love, and acting is my hobby — although I do like baseball.”

Hardy Boys-Nancy Drew Mysteries: Opening credits and theme

YouTube video

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