The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula – USA, 1978

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The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula” was a double-episode of The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries American TV series which aired for three seasons on the ABC network from January 1977 to January 1979.

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The series starred Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as amateur sleuth brothers Frank and Joe Hardy, respectively, plus Pamela Sue Martin (later Janet Louise Johnson) as detective Nancy Drew. Many of the episodes, such as “The Mystery of the Haunted House“,”The Mystery of Witches’ Hollow“,”A Haunting We Will Go“,”The Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom“,”The House on Possessed Hill“, and “Voodoo Doll” featured mild horror themes.

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

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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 Meet Dracula” marked the first time that the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew met and worked together…

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International investigator Fenton Hardy (Ed Gilbert) has gone missing whilst looking into art thefts and so his sons attempt to track him down, which leads them to Paris and then Munich. The Hardy boys hook up with a three piece rock band named The Circus, led by a chirpy English leader, who happens to be playing at a music festival in Castle Dracula hosted by a rock star named Allison Troy. Meanwhile, the boys encounter amateur sleuth Nancy Drew, who is also attempting to track down Hardy Senior.

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All roads lead to Transylvania and soon local town dignitaries are being bitten by a vampire. Or so it seems…

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Review:

It’s probably not worth shouting ‘spoiler’ once guest star Lorne Greene turns up playing a slightly dour and mysterious Romanian Inspector. He’s clearly the villain-to-be and aforementioned “rock star” Allison Troy is obviously a red herring. Indeed, the playful plot positively encourages this development.

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Slightly arrogant Troy is amusingly played by diminutive composer/crooner Paul Williams (also in Brian De Palma’s 1974 movie Phantom of the Paradise), and is seen to be hosting a world-televised music fest to about twenty-five fans dressed as monsters such as Frankenstein’s creation and a werewolf! Alas, Bernie Taupin, lyricist for many of Elton John’s songs and one-time Alice Cooper collaborator, joins Williams’ on stage for some cringe-inducing soft rock that is only slightly eclipsed when Shaun Cassidy takes his star turn for insipid saccharine songs such as ‘Teen Dream’.

Alas, Bernie Taupin, lyricist for many of Elton John’s songs and one-time Alice Cooper collaborator, joins Williams’ on stage for some cringe-inducing soft rock that is only slightly eclipsed when Shaun Cassidy takes his star turn for insipid saccharine songs such as ‘Teen Dream’.

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Soon, the Hardy Boys are creeping around Castle Dracula, being mildly troubled by the requisite bats and rats in the caverns, whilst an angry mob (“I say we burn the castle!”) are demanding justice for the mysterious near-deaths in the neighbourhood. All along, Nancy Drew is given less to do, but there is one great female empowerment moment when she floors a bewildered Frank Hardy with a swift move. Elsewhere, there’s some mild humour to be had with two former comedy Nazis mocked as downtrodden employees at a hotel in Munich.

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It all ends with the inevitable revealing of Lorne Greene’s character as the baddie hankering for power, yet there’s at least a coy suggestion that something supernatural was indeed going on. This being a double-trouble TV-episode, the amateur sleuths’ antics are somewhat protracted but, like old episodes of Scooby-Doo, it’s all done with ’70s-style campy fun and amiable enough to pass nearly a couple of hours if you’re in a charitable mood and willing to endure the soft rock interludes.

Adrian J Smith, moviesandmania

Choice dialogue:

“Why don’t we just come back in the morning? You can almost feel death!”

Wikipedia | IMDb

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