Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Case of the Hardy Boys Hoax

Lately, I’ve been going through all the old tokens and mementos that I’ve managed to keep from my childhood in a big unmarked cardboard box under the bed. Among all the faded hockey and baseball player cards, G.I. Joe comic books, and ratty old Star Wars action figures with broken swivel-arm battle grips, I found my collection of Hardy Boys mystery novels. What a discovery! So, I have been reliving my old fascination and interest that I had a young impressionable boy with these old juvenile mystery novels. However, now that I am a more enlightened adult and suitably more jaded with the real functional world around me, I find the whole Hardy boys trilogy significantly more queer than Richard Hatch sucking off Richard Simmons in the White Tiger Pit at Neverland Ranch.

I wouldn’t be so much fascinated now with the Hardy Boys adventures as I would be disturbed at the regularity of crime and seemingly supernatural phenomenon that exists in their quaint little North-East seaboard town of Bayport. As it seems to me now, I wouldn’t so much as dare to venture into downtown Bayport unless I was wearing a full suit of armor. By the sounds of it, I’d need an entire armed escort of highly skilled mercenaries just to pickup a box of donuts from Krispy Kreme. Certainly, what with all the zombies, smugglers, thieves, bootleggers, killer robots, vampires, werewolves, four-headed dragons, counterfeiters, swamp monsters, mummy’s, ghosts, dinosaurs, rogue agents, hissing serpents, specters, flaming swords, and wailing sirens, I would feel more secure strolling through the Main street of Baghdad during the ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign in my underwear.

I’m sure their father Fenton Hardy, supposedly an Internationally famous super sleuth for the NYPD, was a master crime solver and all, but apparently he was really asleep at the wheel of his squad car when it came to solving crime in his own home town. So where did all this international notoriety come from when Evil Doers are running amuck in the streets of Bayport? Did his super sleuthing skills suddenly diminish when he returned home after a long shift at his New York Police Precinct? Or did he actually have a secret vested interest in the accumulated booty being smuggled, swiped and swindled from the local town citizens on a regular basis? I suspect a conspiracy is afoot!

Nor would I say that Fenton Hardy was ever going to win “Father of the Year” in the parental department either. Who in their right mind would move their family of two impressionable boys and an aging sister named Gertrude of all friggin' things to a place with such inviting locals as Skull Mountain, Wildcat Swamp, Pirate’s Hill, Smuggler’s Cove, Serpent’s Tooth, Coyote Canyon, Devil’s Paw, Skeleton Rock, and Vampire Trail exactly? Shit, why didn’t he just relocate them directly into a Clive Barker movie instead? It would have been much safer. I would have loved to have been able to hear that sales pitch from the local Bayport Real Estate agent: “There is a beautiful view of the sunset reflecting off the Outlaws Silver at the Haunted Fort this time of year. You can get there easily by taking the winding Shore Road past the Lost Tunnel and across the Spiraling Bridge, turn left at the Twisted Claw, and continue until you see the Sinister Sign Post pointing toward the Flickering Torch at the Old Mill. And oh, don’t forget about the Phantom Freighter that appears out of the fog in the Hidden Harbor at midnight. You can see it nicely from the Demon’s Den up at the Sinister House on the Cliff. Just make sure you watch out for the Mysterious Apeman and the Hooded Hawk.” Not exactly the reception I would be looking for from the local ‘Welcome Wagon’.

My other curiosity, is exactly what the fuck Chief Collig is doing all day that he has to rely on two horny teenage boys * to solve all the mysteries, secrets, and crime rings currently operating in his jurisdiction? Life must be sweet down at the Bayport Police Station. He and patrolman Con Riley must be all laid back on cabana chairs sipping margarita’s served in the heads of Masked Monkey’s and counting the Hidden Gold the boys found down at the Dungeon of Doom. Just the kind of authority figures you’d want watching over and protecting your community from the evil currently being spawed within the breeding grounds of Barmot Bay. Hell, I bet even Steven King wouldn’t dare venture into the place!

But still, the Hardy Boys kick the ass out of the Nancy Drew mysteries. It's pretty safe to say that one is not going to get too overtly worked up over something entitled the 'Case of the Haunted Carousel', are they? "Ooooooooo, a Haunted Carousel!" Give me a break! Likewise, the 'Ghost of the Lantern Lady' isn't exactly going to strike terror into anyone's heart, nor is the 'Chocoloate-covered Contest' going to have anyone quaking in their loafers with fear so much as it would have them running down to the corner store for Jersey Milk's. I am certain that is it a proven scientific fact that any over-exposure for any young developing male to any of this pantywaist poppycock would result in the drastic diminishing of the normal levels of healthy testosterone and result in having their nads shrink down to the size of boiled peanuts. In hindsight, I suppse the adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy weren't so bad and that these old dusty novels really do deserve a place of distinction in that unmarked cardboard box of childhood souvenirs under my bed. I guess some things just shouldn't be questioned.

* And occasionally, two useless stumblefuck friends named Chet and Biff who would be spooked over a can of Scario’s, and whose greatest contribution to any case is clinging to one another in fear like a pair of latex shorts on Ruben Studdard.


Blogger JRF said...

This really brings me back.

Funny enough, Tuesday is SSR (sustained silent reading) day over at the old summer school. The students bring in a book of their choice to read for twenty minutes at the start of class (a great way to burn time at the outset of my excruciating hour and a half workday). I don't screen the books. They don't have to bring in anything that qualifies as good literature and surprise surprise, they rarely do.

Anyway, what's funny is that today, as I scanned the room to check out what they were reading, to my unexpected delight I was tossed back in time some 15 or so years upon seeing one of my little lovelies thumbing through The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior (how do you italicize on this damn thing!) . . . Join Frank and Joe Hardy as they travel to exotic Mexico to rescue Chet's dumb ass from certain doom. "Don't tell me you drank the water Chet! You'll be pissing out your ass for weeks!"

Hilarious assessment of the series, Terry. I used to be hooked on this literary junk-food as a youngin' but thanfully I was satiated by the time the original series came to a close. Do you remember the series that came out afterwards. The Hardy Boys Case files? They were truly laughable. Joe and Frank start womanizing, learn all about high-tech gadgetry and start packing heat! I guess that's what an adolescence spent in Bayport will do to you.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is a bayport on LI :)
just thought i'd throw that out there...

(you know i love your writing, Mr Nash...and if you can't figure out who this is...the anonymous poster will have to do...)

5:39 AM  

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