Saturday, April 10, 2010
Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew Meet Dracula
I trace my love of the character DRACULA to one piece of media. Not Lugosi's Dracula, no. Not Nosferatu, not Lee, not Palance or Jourdan.
No, my first taste of the character that would come to be so important to me came from a 1977 episode of HARDY BOYS/NANCY DREW, where they, yes, "Meet Dracula."
I saw that Netflix was carrying the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries on DVD and had to get this. If you're not familiar, here's the great opening credit sequence, with it's swell Night Gallery-like opening theme.
Oh, by the way, if you want to know what we were watching when I was a child: this was it.
The plot? The Hardy Boys, a pair of young, wealthy amateur sleuths, head for Europe when their father disappears while investigating a series of art thefts. They run into Nancy Drew, a young, wealthy
amateur sleuth as well, who is trailing her father, who has been working the same case. But where the boys make everything up as they go along, Nancy is meticulous and kind of a priss.
A lovable priss, though. Did you get that? This is the episode where the Hardy Boys meet Nancy Drew.
The art thefts seem to coincide with the concert dates of "Allison," a prog rocker played by no less than Paul Williams. Allison is headlining and organizing a concert-- a sort of 36-hour Draculapalooza -- at Dracula's castle in Transylvania, and so the Hardy Boys bribe their way into a rock group.
While older Hardy Boy Frank creeps around looking for clues, younger Hardy Boy Joe will sing in the band. This works out okay because Joe is played by Shaun Cassidy, and he and the band both seem to know
Cassidy's songs. Down below the castle? Dracula.
Also, Nancy and Frank kind of get a thing going, but very, very slowly.
God, this is great stuff. Castles, cobwebs, rock and roll, way cool 70s gear, and Dracula, who is portrayed the best way I have ever seen: boots. That is, we see not the vampire king, but his boots. I was six years old and I remember the boots of Dracula like it was yesterday.
I also really love the feel of this story, that these characters are so slick and smart that everyone-- everyone, from Mayors to rock bands-- immediately take them in and let them get involved in their lives.
Extra points to the show for, in 1978, including a minor lecture on the history of Vlad the Impaler and even the controversy over the location of Vlad's burial.
I wonder if Lorne Greene, the Romanian Inspector who claims to be a friend of their father's, will turn out to be a bad guy?
Here's part 1!