Sunday, November 01, 2015

Creeping Up On Halloween With The Hardy Boys

Wait? Is Halloween over? Or can I count Daylight Saving, and the fact it's night still?

Oh, well. Either we're finalizing Halloween this year, or slowly ramping up for next year. (What? Is Christmas coming up? I hadn't noticed.)

So let's take one more trip back before we stop our creeping for a few days, or weeks, or months. And we again head back to the 1970's. -- Hey? Between this KISS, Paul Lynde, and The Halloween That Almost Wasn't. Was there a hidden theme this year of the 70's? Weird.

The Hardy Boys returned to TV in 1977. It was part of a co-series with Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. In the end, in my opinion, Nancy Drew ended up with the short straw on that deal. It's just not my favorite take on her character. The show, most seasons would have an episode about either the Boys or Drew, back and forth.

The show went 3 years, and let people enjoy Parker Stevenson (Baywatch, Falcon Crest, Probe, and Batman Beyond) and Shaun Cassidy (He went on to produce on American Gothic and Roar).

Nancy Drew the first two seasons was played by Pamela Sue Martin (Dynasty and The Poseidon Adventure). Then briefly by Janet Louise Johnson (Falcon Crest, Swamp Thing, B.J. and the Bear, and Battlestar Galactica).

The episode we are interested in is the first episode of the series. "The Mystery of the Haunted House". What had amused me watching this episode and the next one, a Nancy Drew mystery called "The Mystery of Pirate's Cove", about a haunted lighthouse, is the haunted theme that pops up. The next episode is a Witches' Hollow. And you remember how this stuff when it was newer had inspired the likes of Scooby Doo. Allegedly haunted places are bread and butter of these tales for youngsters.

So the first episodes haunted house is not the real center of the mystery, just a key clue, and a fun 70's set piece. They actually do also end up at a cemetery with a secret...But that's not as much fun as the haunted house. Nor is the mystery of the episode. Better to just revel in the house, and wish it actually existed outside the mind of TV writers of the 70's. What were they on at the time?

Come on! Do we get graveyards like this on TV anymore?
The boys are drawn to the house by a clue they find that their father left them.

I don't know. It looks like it says, "Hauut Hs". But I'm not the brilliant one.

They follow the clue to...

A well travelled commercial spot. Oh, those crafty sleuths.

And, yes. This is THAT HOUSE from Psycho. (And isn't the last time the house will appear in the show.)

Inside The Haunted House they are greeted by a ghoul, of sorts. He's played by Reggie Nalder, who I always remember first for playing an Andorian in the original Star Trek. He points them to a coffin on the right.

It opens to reveal stairs.

Down the stairs, it either becomes a slide, or they omit the part that they get onto a slide. And then the slide down. At the bottom, a suit of armor swings automatically atthem with an ax. It's a haunted house effect, so I'll assume it is built to safely miss even tall people...

Next they are harried by a crystal ball and a figure who tells them to go to the main crypt.

But they have to find it.

Finally, they find a secret door, but a skeleton pops out. They step in once it's passed.

It leads to small exit.

And a small hall of horrors.

And a ghost.

Following the ghost, they find an iron maiden. Which opens to reveal more stairs, that lead again to a slide. Man, slides must have been big in the 70's.

At the end of the slide they find a hall of mirrors. ...Really. So how far underground are they at this point? Because they started at a ground floor, and have gone down multiple stairs and slides. Is the hill the house in on just hollowed out?

"I think we've landed in Austin Powers bedroom."

And how big is this haunted house setup? I would love the twists and turns. But this is all to get to a spot at the end. This is kind of time consuming.

"Frank? I think this armor is groping me."
After following music out of the mirrors, they finally arrive.

Yup. All of that to get into a very 70's club. A Halloween/haunted house club. That. Is. Awesome.

It is realistically an implausible setup. It would be expensive to maintain. It is such a journey to get in, I imagine a lot of people would get annoyed.

But I wish we had this type of thing in real life. I've been to the spy themed bar in Milwaukee, and that had some gimmicks inside, and a trick to get inside, but the idea was to get people in. (And if only we had Planet Krypton to, right?)

Entering the are met by the Maitre d'enstein. And he's even played by Richard Kiel who always brings it to a role like this.

The place even has the rest of the staff dressed up, with ghoulish waiting staff,

and stewards...?

Luckily they make use of the spot, with a return later to chase down a person.

But will these hard working entrepreneurs come out safe?

You'll have to watch to see how it ends, and also find out what happened to their dad, and the case.

This show is a matter of taste. The jokes and mysteries and wholesomeness works for you, or it doesn't. But they are a relaxing series of mysteries.

But I'd point out that the show does become weirdly dark in the third season.

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