Occult Detective Countdown 8/20: The Hardy Boys / #40DaysofHalloween

I grew up on the edge of my grandparent’s farm in rural Indiana, roaming the sparse woods and wading in the shallow waters of the creek that wound its way through our backyard. At night I’d slip out to prowl the local boneyard and explore the isolated wonders that surrounded me. It was the 70s and in the Midwest it might as well have been twenty years earlier. It was a simpler place and time.


We didn’t have much in the way of television back then, catching four, sometimes five channels with our towering tv antenna. Channel 40 was one of them, and it played reruns of everything from the Lone Ranger to the Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers, the Beverly Hillbillies, and a host of other shows long past. My favorite was the Mickey Mouse Club, but only because of the Hardy Boys serials.

The Hardy Boys captured my imagination and opened up to me the world of books. The public library in nearby Converse had a few dozen of the original tales, and every Christmas and birthday my family would buy me the blue spined editions. Whether reading the revised texts or the unaltered texts didn’t matter. I was invested in the world of the Hardy Boys and after I’d plowed through every copy of the series I could get my hands on I tackled Nancy Drew and Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators to fill the void.

I’d read them all by the time I was ten years old.

hardy boys

And then, in 1977, ABC introduced The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries and I was smitten all over again. What intrigued me the most was the addition of a supernatural element to the stories, especially in episodes like The House on Possessed Hill which guest starred a young Melanie Griffith. The Hardy Boys as occult detective was a perfect match and the CW’s Supernatural was a natural extension of that formula, and the more recent re-imagining of Nancy Drew followed suit.

The Hardy Boys, and other teen detective series of my youth, were such a huge influence on me as a child, it’s hard to imagine anything more defining, especially from ages 6-10. When I went sneaking out of the house at night to prowl abandoned barns and old boneyards, it was because of the influence of those books more than anything.

They still mean a lot to me…

A Note on the Occult Detective Countdown: As I make my way through my list of favorite occult detectives, bear in mind, I am not recording them in any particular order. I thought it would be more fun to release them organically, narratively rather than in a simple “best to worse” format. I’ll let you decide for yourselves their pecking order.

I will be posting to the countdown roughly every other day throughout our 40 Days of Hallowe’en adventure.

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