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In season two, the makers of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew decided that it might be a good idea to have the kids get together to solve crimes. They did this partly to boost viewing figures for Nancy's show, which was under-performing quite badly, but mostly just to annoy me. Oh, Nancy. Not only is she even more obviously not a teenager than Frank, she's also just really, really boring. Even her cunning self-defence abilities and lock-picking skills can't save her from that. Still, if she's going to combine forces with the Hardys, there's no escaping her, is there. So, here we go with...

Transylvania, 1979. The photo-story.


Fenton Hardy, father of Frank and Joe, is creeping through a creepy castle in the dark. Why do people always wait until night-time to explore creepy castles? I have nothing against night-time escapades, but if you've gone to a castle for a look around, it's generally considered a good idea to be able to see what you're doing. Anyway, this creepy castle was once owned by Count Dracula, apparently. Needless to say, Fenton doesn't believe in vampires, which is a bit daft of him. Still, I suppose he does rather pre-date Buffy.


A bit of a creepy castle. Not a particularly creepy bit, though, admittedly.


Buckbeak!


Fenton is being followed by a pair of knee-high leather boots. I'm sorry, but this can only mean one thing. I am compelled by law to link to this:


It's okay, you don't have to thank me. Anyway, the kinky boots bash Fenton over the head with a two-by-four, and we're immediately whisked away to Paris, two weeks later, where the boys are looking for their missing father.


Because they're worried about Fenton, they're wearing their Sensible Clothes. Hmm. One of them appears to have managed ‘sensible' rather better than the other. It's quite remarkable how the Sensible Clothes disappear from scene to scene, so that Frank and Joe aren't so much ‘sensible' as ‘half-dressed'.





Anyway, whilst continuing to investigate their father's disappearance, they meet:


Hurrah! Ben Cartwright tells them that he's a police officer, who was co-operating with Fenton on a case involving the theft of hundreds of famous paintings in a series of daring art thefts right across Europe. In 1979? Well that's no mystery. That was just Stefano and John.

Yes, I know. Stop talking about Days Of Our Lives.

The boys decide that they have to follow their father across Europe, because who cares about school anyway, and besides, money grows on trees. In order to help them in their endeavours, they fall in with a travelling folk group, led by a comedy Cockney, who is, for some inexplicable reason, this man here:


Yes, it's Bernie Taupin, by now already extremely famous as the co-writer of almost every hit that Elton John has ever had. What he's doing cropping up in this as a travelling musician, I have no idea. He doesn't even get to play anything, so it's not like they needed to cast anybody with talent in the role. Anyway, off they all set across Europe. This is a Very Scary Journey.

Firstly by night:



And then by day:



And all this time they are singing the same song. Mind you, further horrors are in store, as once they've arrived in Transylvania, and are happily ensconced in their hotel, who should turn up but Nancy Drew. With a giant bunch of roses stapled to her neck, and a truly appalling travelling companion.


Nancy, with inadvisable floral necklace.


Her awful friend.

This is a not altogether good thing for many reasons. For one thing, there's precious little for her to do plot-wise, and for another... it's a voice thing. See, Joe has a deep, gravelly voice that makes him sound like he has a fifty-a-day habit, whilst Frank has a tendency to speak like a twelve year old boy. This is weird enough on its own, without the addition of a female guest star who also has a deeper voice than he does. Anyway, still eager to find news of their father, Frank and Joe go off for a quick look around the creepy castle where he disappeared.


Kinky Boots is watching them, and has been joined this time by...


Jon Pertwee, apparently.

Meanwhile, Fenton has turned up in a nearby hospital, with two suspicious holes in his neck, and a marked loss of blood. This provides a handy excuse for Frank's predilection for ghastly polo-neck sweaters. I can just pretend that they're a defence against vampires.


Bernie's asking for it, mind.

Back in the plot, Dracula's castle is being used for a rock festival. This involves scary singers. Firstly this man:



And secondly this one:


Yikes. Still, by now we know what this means. Whilst Joe warbles...


... Frank goes off and does something more interesting instead. In this case, dressing up like a toy soldier, and going exploring around a creepy castle in the dark. He must get it from his father.


Kinky Boots is in pursuit. So, sadly, are Nancy and her awful friend.


Frank has a much better torch.


Meanwhile, creeping onward through the creepy castle (with his much better torch), Frank discovers a dungeon. Hurrah! Well, not for him necessarily. In the dungeon is a rather pale looking man, out for the count, and when Frank goes to check up on him, Kinky Boots locks them both in. Still, it's not all bad news, as the padlock is awesome.


Frank seems strangely unmoved by this, though. Philistine.


Then he discovers that his companion has two suspicious holes in his neck. Golly! Fortunately for Frank and his rather bloodless cellmate, Nancy is on hand with a magic safety pin, which allows her to pick the giant padlock in two seconds flat. Everybody goes off back to the hotel, where Frank and Joe set to work figuring stuff out. Nancy, however, decides to go to bed. Well, she's done one useful thing tonight. Presumably she's not expected to do anything else. As punishment for her lack of adventuring spirit, however, she gets attacked by a giant plastic bat. Why do women on TV always scream at bats? It's one of life's great mysteries. Frank heroically rescues her from the scary bat-on-a-pole, and she sobs at him that "It was a vampire bat, Frank! It had teeth!"


Well, thanks for that, David Attenborough. Shortly after this, Ben Cartwright announces that he's solved the art thefts, and has the scary singer from earlier hauled away. No, not Joe. This bloke...


... pictured here with his scarily lookie-likie bass player. Frank and Joe are not convinced, however, for complicated reasons involving inadmissible evidence discovered whilst snooping. Ben doesn't care for their deductions, and is happy with his own conclusions, which means that Frank absolutely has to go and explore Dracula's castle in the dark again. Because the connection is an obvious one, apparently. Still, this is good news, as it allows Joe one of his comedy moments. For some reason, he doesn't think that the idea of breaking into a vampire's crypt in the middle of the night is a good idea. Frank, on the other hand, clearly thinks that it's The Best Idea In The World.


The not-very-secret door to Dracula's secret tomb.


After finding their way inside remarkably easily, the boys find the stolen paintings. Neither of them, however, seems remotely concerned about who lighted all the candles.


Probably not this bloke.

But suddenly - gosh! - who should appear, in a flash outfit, a set of kinky boots, and the same mysterious ring from earlier, but:


Ben Cartwright. Frank is not remotely surprised by this, and proceeds to re-cap the plot in order to show what a bad boy Ben is.


Might have been a better plan to have told all of this to the police, Frank, although admittedly your way is more fun. Ben opens a secret trap door, intending for them to fall into a deep hole, when Nancy, her pointless friend and Fenton arrive, complete with some policemen. The shock of this makes Ben fall through the trapdoor himself. This is something of a disappointment.


I tend to prefer my criminal masterminds to be... well. Masterminds.


Frank and Joe enthusiastically attempt to save him, with absolutely no help at all from the completely unconcerned onlookers.


Who then arrest Ben, as soon as he's been saved from his own stupidity. "Hurrah!" says everybody. Well, possibly not in quite so many words. However as Ben is cuffed and led away by the police, we see his reflection in a nearby mirror.


Or, rather, his lack of a reflection. Gasp!

The end.

Apparently there are further Nancy and Hardy crossovers to come. Hopefully Nancy will actually have something to do in some of them, as even though I've never liked her, I'm quite willing to have my opinion changed - should she ever choose to do something more interesting than scream at bats.

Comments

( 10 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
ladygretchen
Dec. 27th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
That was terrific! So funny how 'Dracula Ben Cartwright' has pale hands and a very tanned face, must be a spray on. And I guess this Dracula doesn't finish the job..since he left Fenton alive..but even so, wouldn't that Make Fenton Hardy a Vampire now??? Yikes!
Why do shows always go for the little 'shocker' at the end..gasp! That's really a vampire! LOL They did the same in QL too..and it didn't stop there, bigfoot, aliens, ghosts, mummies..

and as for Nancy, I heard the second season replacement is a real dud and does nothing, so you could be right on the money...but uhoh, that's NOT the 2nd season replacement! So Nancy might just go from bad to worse.. Is that her annoying friend Bess or George? LOL.
Buckbeak! or..Manimal making a cameo! :D
swordznsorcery
Dec. 28th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)
A very good question, and one that I had to go look up on the IMDb. Apparently she's called Bess.

Fenton wouldn't be a vampire, no. Being turned means that they have to suck you, and then you have to suck them. As Buffy put it: "It's like a whole big sucking thing." So he'd be okay as long as he didn't drink any of Ben Cartwright's blood. Many stories also require that you then be buried, allowing you to be reborn from within the earth.

You're then required by law to begin dating a pretty blonde human girl, and brood a lot.
ladygretchen
Dec. 29th, 2009 06:40 am (UTC)
Ooh, I'm so not up on vampire lore these days. That makes sense, they're the ones with the vampiric dna, and you would need to be exposed to it, lol.

Ahh yes, Bess! and in every original Nancy story, she was pretty, blonde-blue-eyed and pleasantly plump! lol. So, I guess eventually you'll meet thin,Tomboyish George, with the short black hair,
eandh99
Dec. 28th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
is this the one where Joe and Frank move a fingerprint from one briefcase to another using talcum powder and ordinary Scotch tape? Do enjoy all the guest starts - Lorne Greene, Paul Williams, and Bernie Taupin? They must've had serious money to spend.
swordznsorcery
Dec. 28th, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC)
That fingerprint trick rings a bell, but it wasn't in this one, no.

As for Lorne Greene, it's a Glen A Larson production, which might explain his presence. They'd have been working together on Battlestar Galactica then. Bernie Taupin is such a bizarre one, though. I suppose he might have been trying to get into acting at the time, but what a weird thing to turn up in!
ladygretchen
Dec. 29th, 2009 06:42 am (UTC)
Doh, and I forgot to mention, Guess what I found on Youtube! NancyHardy posted this entire two parter and a bunch of other episodes. Pretty cool, gotta get to watching soon.
swordznsorcery
Dec. 30th, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
I was sort of planning to watch the next Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew two-parter later tonight, if you want a good place to start. ;) It's called "Hollywood Phantom", and it looks like she's got it all posted on YT.
ladygretchen
Dec. 30th, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
Just finished Hollywood Phantom last night, it was a lot of fun! You learn Frank's true feelings for Nancy, even if he is a bit stale, I like watching him more than Joe...who actually doesn't have much of anything to do..but believe it or not, Nancy does! Great guest stars too. You'll have a lot to play with. ;)
swordznsorcery
Dec. 31st, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
You must be a lot more forgiving than I am! I don't think I can be bothered to write a review of that one. It was just dire.

And headbusting. Starring Dennis Weaver as himself, but JD Cannon as a fictional character?! Just as well they didn't share any scenes together. :)
ladygretchen
Dec. 31st, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
LOL..I guess I am, I just love the cheesiness of these shows and I've always loved these little mysteries. I think I had a brain freeze right in the credits when they showed 'Casey Kasem' and I'm sitting there for a full 2 minutes saying they got it wrong, it's Peter Falk. LOL! He honestly was a standout in this. Right this moment I'm watching an episode in season 2 called Arson and old lace, and it starts, with Nancy Drew's father bemoaning to the boys how she's been missing for 6 months!!! (being held prisoner by an eccentric millionaire in his penthouse.) Can we say full on therapy will be needed? And by this time, Nancy switched heads. I'm watching this on Netflix, but after friday, no more streaming episodes, bummer! So I will have to eventually purchase this, lol.
( 10 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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