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Disney's 16-episode serial "The Hardy Boys": "The Mystery of the
Applegate Treasure" (1956) is based on Franklin W. Dixon's (aka Edward
Stratemeyer) "The Tower Treasure"- the first of many "Hardy Boys"
books. It was the first of two "Hardy Boy" serials produced by Disney
(originally broadcast during October 1956) for its "Mickey Mouse Club"
show; which was broadcast from 5PM-6PM each weekday. The one-hour show
was broken into four segments with this sort of serial taking up one of
these 15-minute segments The "Spin and Marty" serials were also used
for this purpose.
As in the books, Frank (Tim Considine) and Joe (Tommy Kirk) are the teenage sons of Fenton Hardy (Russ Conway), a private detective. Following in their father's footsteps the two boys are looking for a pirate's treasure supposedly hidden in the Applegate Mansion in their neighborhood. The series has a cool theme song (see below). Despite the song there are no pieces of eight. They were one ounce Spanish silver coins, worth 8 reales, or half of a gold dubloon.
Frank and Joe are assisted by Joe's girlfriend Iola (Carole Ann Campbell) and hindered by their Aunt Gertrude who is looking after them while their father is out of town.
The Applegate mansion is a spooky looking house and when the boys finally meet the owner he confirms that there really is a treasure, given to his grandfather by LaFitte the pirate as repayment for when he burned the Applegate plantation. His grandfather hid the treasure and no one has been able to find it since.
The story has gold doubloons and crooks, and Iola gets a lot of scream queen moments. "Applegate's Treasure" was my personal favorite of all the MMC serials. The only drawback is that it was a rather complex mystery with a lot of misdirection, and having to watch it in a cliffhanger serial format was extremely frustrating. No sooner had they cleared up the suspense from the last episode than something would happen and they would break off- telling you tune in for the next episode. But we were hooked and faithfully tuned in day after day. A lot of family plans were altered during this time so as to not interfere with daily viewing.
Watching it now I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the performances by the child actors; especially Campbell and Kirk. The serial is definitely several notches above "Spin & Marty" in what was demanded of the cast, and for the most part they come through.
The DVD has some nice special features including a 2006 interview with Considine and Kirk in the Disney Studio where the serial was filmed. Also included is the entire (hour-long) MMC episode in which it premiered. It was a Monday, which was "Fun With Music Day", and Darlene does a lengthy song and dance number with Bobby.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
"Gold dubloons and pieces of eight, handed down to Applegate? From buccaneers who fought for years for gold dubloons and pieces of eight. Handed down in a pirate chest, the gold they sailed for east and west. The treasure bright that made men fight, till none were left to bury the chest. So now the gold and pieces of eight all belong to Applegate. The chest is here but wait...now where are those gold dubloons and pieces of eight?"
We bought this "disney treasure" and took it to our lake house to watch
with our children over summer vacation.
We will always remember the summer we watched the Mystery of the Applegate Treasure. We looked forward, each evening, to the next episode. So much fun. It is the end of the summer and they are still singing the theme song. I know it will be a sweet memory for years come. I wish there were more shows like this to experience together as a family. We ALL enjoyed it!
With so much "junk" out there, it was so refreshing to watch something that both our children and ourselves could really enjoy.
My first exposure to the Hardy Boys came courtesy of this serial from
the Mickey Mouse Club. It was after seeing this that I bought a load of
the Hardy Boys kids novels to read. Those two certainly did have some
No doubt that later incarnations of the boys with Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy in the Seventies and later for Canadian television Paul Popowich and Colin K. Gray in the Nineties were good in their day, but Tommy Kirk and Tim Considine will be the quintessential Hardy Boys for this former devoted Mouskaviewer.
The film is based on the very first of the Franklin K. Dixon novels which came out in the Roaring Twenties, The Tower Treasure. The Disney Studio nicely updated the story to fit into the Fifties. The boys get wind of a secret treasure hidden in the dark secluded mansion of miser Applegate. Somebody's taking very seriously the legend that pirate gold is hidden there. And miser Applegate, played by Florenz Ames isn't a guy to ask for help.
In the books the Hardy Boys did have a living mother who was not a really memorable character, just your average good mom. Their father is Fenton Hardy, formerly of the NYPD and now a famous private detective. In this serial, he's played by Russ Conway.
But the show made Fenton a widower and had Sarah Selby as their constantly interfering Aunt Gertrude. She was in the books as well, but here she was the female of the house. Half the time Kirk and Considine were trying to outfox her to get to their sleuthing business. Selby was memorable I have to say.
However what you will remember best is that Treasure Island pirate theme song of the serial about 'gold doubloons and pieces of eight' that is guaranteed to rattle around in your brain for weeks upon hearing it.
The Disney channel used to run all these old shows, but around 2000 just surrendered and now run their new shows on the cable network. Hopefully stuff like this will see the light of day again.
Tommy Kirk and Tim Considine were wonderful as "The Hardy Boys," but Disney has holding on to this like a mean dog with a good bone. "Spin and Marty" re-runs are fun, but woefully repetitive. Give us some original "Hardy Boys!" . .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Finally! After 30 some odd years, I finally got the chance to see The
Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure in its entirety. In
the early 70s, one of the local UHF channels ran repeats of the Mickey
Mouse Club from the 50s. Included was the daily serial The Mystery of
the Applegate Treasure. For whatever reason, I never got to see the
whole thing. So for over 30 years I was left wondering about the show
and what happened and how the mystery was resolved. And for 30 years,
I've had the theme song stuck in my head. I'm very happy Disney
released this series.
So was it worth the wait? You betcha! While The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure may not have been as "spooky" as I remembered, it was a lot of fun reliving this moment of my childhood. The story is solid in that innocent, child-friendly, 50s sort of way. Remember, this is a serial designed for kids and made more than 50 years ago. The acting is actually quite good. While neither Tommy Kirk nor Tim Considine is what I would call a world-class actor, both give it their all and are a joy to watch. The supporting players are just as good (if not better in some cases) with Arthur Shields, Florenz Ames, and Carole Ann Campbell really shining. The sets are much better than I remembered. Sure, it's all stage-bound, but the Applegate Tower looked as good as I remembered. The direction is capable at a minimum with the usually dependable Charles Haas at the helm. Overall, it's a good show.
Disney has released The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure as part of their Walt Disney Treasures line. While I didn't really care about seeing the Mickey Mouse Club stuff or some of the other extras, the overall package is very nice. It makes for a very welcome addition to my DVD library.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
cool. i liked it. i first saw this when i was very little and didn't
remember any of it. i bought the 'Disney Treasure' edition at the
Disney store when it was on sale real cheap. i love Disney but i
thought this would be corny and cheesy. it was, but it was sooo
i lot of this was really funny too. i loved the character of the apartment landlady. she was hilarious. i also liked the scene where the little girl tried to escape with the shovel and stepped on the pipes and began running in one place before she fell. classic.
the only drawback here for me was Tommy Kirk. i always love Tommy Kirk in old Walt Disney movies, but here he was so whiny and obnoxious, i wanted to kick him in the butt. i couldn't stand the way he cried and threw tantrums when his dad told him he could't do things. people don't like it when i whine and cry, so why should we put up with it from TK? i thought he acted like a bratty baby face.
all in all it was funny and fun. i thought Perry looked like he was related to Aldous Huxley. watcha think? could be.
Even though these good-natured Hardy Boys' episodes (which were
regularly featured on TV's "Mickey Mouse Club") are somewhat silly and
strictly juvenile in their story-lines, they are still sure to be of
some interest to anyone who might be a nostalgia-buff for 1950's
television programs, especially light-hearted ones of mystery and
Set in the small, middle-class town of Bayport, N.Y. - Join 13 year-old Frank Hardy and his gung-ho, 12 year-old bro', Joe, as the suspense and drama unfolds and our 2 amateur detectives (along with their friends and family) search for vital clues that will reveal the truth behind "The Mystery Of The Applegate Treasure". (Wow! It sure sounds exciting, eh!)
So, sit back, relax, and see just why this highly-popular kiddies' show thrilled television's first generation of children and still continues to thrill audiences to this very day.
Filmed in b&w, each of these 19 episodes (dating from 1956-1957) has a running time of approx. 12 minutes. This 2-DVD set also contains some interesting bonus material.
This serial was still airing in reruns about a decade later. "Gold
doubloons and pieces of eight / Handed down from Applegate / From
buccaneers who fought for years / For gold doubloons and pieces of
eight." At least part of that is right, I'm sure. Then there was,
"Yo-ho-ho, the wind blows free / Oh, for a life on the roaring sea."
The late Thurl Ravenscroft may have been one of the singing voices.
My personal memories of Disney in connection with adventure are primarily confined to comic books rather than television. At the time I saw this serial (when it and I both already were almost 10 years old), I was into Carl Barks's Uncle Scrooge comics, and sometimes the Mickey Mouse comics of the adventure-serial variety, where Mickey wore a red suit. I wouldn't mind seeing this story again to see how it compares against other Disney adventures I loved that were presented to me in another form.
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