Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Mystery of Pirate's Cove - The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries ( 1977 )

Strange lights are seen coming from an abandoned lighthouse at Pirate's Cove. When Nancy Drew and her friends investigate, they discover the lighthouse completely locked with no visible means of anyone having entered there in the past five years. But activity of a ghostly nature is soon to be stirred up by Professor Wall, a ghost hunter who has just purchased the "haunted" lighthouse from Old Man Jenson. 

A Shroud of Thoughts is hosting the 4th Annual Favorite TV Episode Blogathon and "The Mystery at Pirate's Cove" certainly rates as one of my favorite television episodes. 

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries were an entertaining primetime series that premiered in the winter of 1977. The show was aimed at a juvenile-teenage audience and, in its first season, alternated each week between episodes featuring the brother-sleuths of Frank and Joe Hardy of Rockport, and the intrepid "part-time investigator" Nancy Drew of River Heights. 

The Hardy Boys episodes never appealed to me because they tended to focus on promoting squeaky-clean Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as teen idols and featured scripts that were a tad more serious and less amusing. Mysteries were also frequently interrupted by segments featuring Cassidy singing his bubblegum tunes. 

Nancy Drew, on the other hand, featured some really good mysteries and great scripts with witty banter between the main characters, which included Carson Drew ( Nancy's father, one of the best lawyers in River Heights ), Ned Nickerson, and George Fayne. And "The Mystery of Pirate's Cove" is an especially delightful episode. It was the premiere episode to the series and introduced audiences to Nancy, her companions, and her wizard detecting skills. 
Unlike most premiere episodes, all of the actors portraying the main characters are perfectly at ease from the get-go. Nancy and George ( played by Pamela Sue Martin and Jean Rasey ) truly seem like cronies from high school and the bespectacled Ned Nickerson ( George O'Hanlon Jr. ) like Nancy's old friend who is tired of being viewed as a brother and not as a love-interest. 

Monte Markham, the only face on television in the 1970s, has the starring guest role in this episode as Professor Wall, a professor of parapsychology. One flash of his boyish grin at George and she proclaims him "an Adonis!" whereas Nancy suspects his charming demeanor to be merely a front and is determined to discover what his real motive is behind purchasing the lighthouse. Clever gal she be. 
The plot to "The Mystery of Pirate's Cove" is a marvelous blend of everything you would want in a mystery: buried treasure, legends of pirates and bootleggers, secret maps, shadows in the night, thunderstorms, hidden caves, a haunted lighthouse, mysterious dead fish, and even the prerequisite obstinate Irish policeman. Surprisingly, the story was written directly for television with only a nod to Carolyn Keene for the use of her characters. 

Instead of divulging the episode in depth, I'd rather let you discover its charms for yourself. The complete Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries series is available to purchase on DVD or to rent through DVD.com. 

It's great fun and a perfect episode to watch on a cool autumn afternoon with a cup of hot cocoa. Sadly, only seven episodes of Nancy Drew were released with the threesome of Martin, O'Hanlon Jr. and Rasey. Darn, I wish more episodes were made! 

This post is my contribution to the 4th annual Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon being hosted by A Shroud of Thoughts. Be sure to head on over to Terence's land of pop culture commentary to read more entries for this fun event. 

8 comments:

  1. I don't remember this episode, but it sounds like fun and Monte Markham--indeed "the only face on television in the 1970s"--was always worth a watch. (I'd love to see an episode of his PERRY MASON TV series as I can't imagine him as Perry.) Speaking of Parker Stevenson, I interviewed him at a nostalgia convention a few years back. He was much more entertaining in person than in any of his TV appearances--kind, witty, and insightful.

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    1. Rick, yes I can imagine how entertaining Parker Stevenson is to talk with in person. He is quite an intellectual. In an article about the Hardy Boys show he mentioned that he first realized how popular the show was becoming when he went to see a King Tut exhibit at the L.A Museum of Art and one of the guests was paying more attention to him than to the exhibit. Ha!

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  2. Sounds like sheer delight. I didn't watch the series back in the day. Don't know why. Maybe it wasn't on a night I was free or something like that.

    I'd like to know what it is about television that they give us something we really enjoy and then grab it away like some sort of ratings ogre.

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    1. It is a fun episode to check out, CW. And if you want to see a really witty one, watch "A Haunting We Will Go" which features an all-star cast that includes Dina Merrill, Carl Betz, and Victor Buono. It plays out like an Agatha Christie style mystery.

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  3. I only saw a few episodes of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (I think it aired opposite The Wonderful World of Disney, which my family watched faithfully). Reading about this episode it sounds like I will have seek it out and watch it! Thank you so much for taking part in the blogathon.

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    1. Yes, that would have been a hard decision to make - the Wonderful World of Disney or the Hardy Boys - I would have went with Disney, too. But this series is really enjoyable and I hope you check it out and let me know what you think.

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  4. Great article. I also loved The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, but especially Nancy Drew. Pamela Sue Martin and Jean Rasey were the perfect Nancy and George!

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    1. They were the best duo and it is such a shame that more episodes weren't made with the two of them. I would have liked to see them in a Colorado ski themed mystery or one dealing with Indian relics in the Arizona desert.

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