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My tag line says it ALL. This 1969 carton show is THE GROOVIEST cartoon show
in all of history. It takes the characters of Frank and Joe Hardy and makes
them rock stars AND as they are in the Hardy Boys books amateur detectives
and mystery solvers. You have to see this show to believe it. The drawings
are SO dated. The guys all have platform shoes, pink ties, and very trendy
suits that make Fred from Scooby-doo look like a conservative dresser by
comparison! On top of the clothes and character design, you get a very
psychadelic music video in every adventure. Also the guys drive a vintage
Rolls Royce that has been MOD-ified. The boys even have as part of the group
a hip chick groupie named Wanda-Kay, a total ditz. The opening and closing
credits of the show feature live action look-a-likes on a stage performing
their rock Hardy Boys theme song. If you look close there is a shot of the
actors from the back and you can see there is no audience.. just an empty
sound stage they are playing too.
Overall the show is a lot of fun, very fast paced and SUPER GROOVY MAN!
Back in the late sixties,enterprising rock music executives used children's shows as springboards for promoting pop and rock records, broadening the appeal of the music to an ever-younger audience. The Archies were the first and most successful example, but there were other, lesser entries that produced excellent, if not successful, records. Such is the case of the Hardy Boys, one of numerous efforts that coat-tailed in on the Archies'success. Filmation, something of an animation sausage factory in the 70s (and the Archies' production company as well), produced the show. Despite the trivia claim, Don Kirshner had nothing to do with the Hardys, although the powers that be did use live musicians in promotions and to perform live. Bill Traut and Jim Golden of Dunwich Productions acted as musical supervisors and producers of the records. The Hardys produced two albums and three singles, all to negligible notice. This is not to say they were bad; the records are good compared to some of the other offerings from Saturday morning groups, especially the second Lp,"Wheels", which boasts some some of the best country/blues/pop hybrids ever put on wax by cartoon characters. Speaking of cartoon characters, the show itself wasn't that great; it was produced on the cheap and shows its seams 36 years later. Camera zooms and quick cuts create a sense of movement where there is none, a necessity when one is limited by time and money to use limited cell animation. Some of the voice over actors affect grating accents--the actor voicing Chubby Morton is particularly annoying--and it often is hard to differentiate between different character's voices, giving the impression the same guy is doing all the voice-overs. Still, the "videos" for the songs are jewels of late sixties kitsch, with lots of pulsating, psychedelic backgrounds, shifting designs, quick cuts, spinning frames, etc. High art it ain't, but surely a pleasant, although rather dated, diversion.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The show went off the air when I was 5, but I remember thinking those
fellows, especially the two 'singing' as Joe and Frank, were just cool!
No other way to put it, I guess.
Now 40 years on, it's all very fascinating to me, I guess.
I remember the cartoons, didn't recall much about the songs. I recall Chubby had Archie's voice (both cartoons were by Filmation, so voicework crosses over).
I remember Wanda Kay, the female, but really remember nothing about her, being dumb or anything. She is pretty ditzy, as others have said.
Pete beat out Valerie on Josie and the Pussycats as the first black animated character by a year. Also alongside Valerie was Freight Train on Where's Huddles? So far, the adventures I've watched are okay. Just watches like a very serious ARchie (which is kind of welcomed).
Watched one episode where we meet Pete's relations, I would guess in the Louisiana bayou, and Pete called them 'baby'.
Bit fun to hear Pete call the bad guys 'paleface' in a native American episode as well.
Couldn't help but notice the first episode I watched had the audience screaming playing over the song, then the other songs removed this very distracting noise, thank goodness.
Again, best way to describe it is a serious version of the Archie cartoons.
Apart from their book series written in the early 1900's under the
pseudonym "Franklin W. Dixon," the Hardy Boys are best known for two
television appearances-as a short-lived serial(which starred Tim
Considine of My Three Sons fame) on The Mickey Mouse Club(q.v),and as
an short-lived ABC prime-time series based on the novels by Franklin W.
Dixon that starred Shaun Cassidy as Joe and Parker Stevenson as his
brother Frank that ran two seasons from January 30,1977-August 26,1979
and was produced by TV mogul Glen A. Larson. Often forgotten was
another adaption of The Hardy Boys that aired also in prime-time and
also was short-lived that ran on NBC from September 8,1967 until
November 29,1967. That version had Rick Gates and Tim Matheson in the
leads. Another version was the live-action syndicated(and Canadian
produced)series that came out in 1995;and this animated version
produced by Filmation Associates that produced 34 episodes,all in color
and ran for two seasons on the network from September 6,1969 until
September 4,1971. This was under the direction of Hal Sutherland and
executive produced by Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott. And it ran only
on Saturday Mornings for the ABC-TV network.
"The Adventures of The Hardy Boys" premiered the same year of another successful show as well,"Scooby Doo,Where Are You?"(which was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions,but was shown on CBS)which also featured a group of teens solving mysteries and unexplained crimes. In this version,the producers took a cue from their most successful show at the time "The Archies"(also produced by Filmation Associates but was on CBS)but this time around the show was in tune to the groovy fashion statements and psychedelic colors of the time..very stable for the time this cartoon came out in the fall of 1969. Here they become rock stars touring the world in concerts with the opportunity to solve crimes and other baffling mysteries along with their sidekick-a female hippie-chick named Wanda Kay,who was a total ditz. Other friends who were their pals are Pete Jones and Chubby Morton. Fenton was there detective father while Gertrude Hardy was the boys dearest aunt. While most of the episodes were based on the novels by the way,the opening and closing credits of the show consisted of Frank and Joe singing bubble gum tunes in the foray of the psychedelic sounds that exploded onto Saturday Mornings.
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