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#TBT: The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Hidden Message

#TBT: The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Hidden Message


Yes, we are going to make gay double entendres about revered American icons. We're readers, and patriots.

Since their creation in 1926, Frank and Joe Hardy have been locked in closets, pursued by dark strangers, and quite often put in bondage. So we all have a lot in common with them.

The original intention was to promote all-American masculine ideals for boys and young men, which essentially meant white privilege and sexism. The books were retooled later on to take all the racism out.

There have been five television series based on Frank and Joe Hardy. The best-known was with Parker Stevenson as Frank and Shaun Cassidy as Joe, which ran alongside a Nancy Drew series from 1977 to 1979. A Disney iteration starred gay child superstar Tommy Kirk.

The books were the launching pad for many fantasies for me as a young boy. I was certainly locked in closets, desirous of being pursued by dark strangers, and the bondage thing? Our Human Resources rep says I can't talk about that. My older brother Kevin and I read the books avidly and we fantasized that we were just like them (The Harrity Boys) and tried to solve our own mysteries: The Murky Smell From the Laundry Hamper; What Exactly Is Chipped Beef on Toast?; Why Is Our Allowance Only 50 Cents a Week?

The open-faced sincerity of the crime-solving brothers triggers our biological need for caustic and suggestive remarks. And to think, we get paid for this!

Hardy_crisscross_0 The basic elements are all here: hipster casual wear, minors out after midnight, and a dark stalker. Rinse and repeat.

Hardy_vikingsymbolmysteryx633_0 "Joe! Put that large phallic object down! You don't know where it's been! Now go get the hand sanitizer!"

Hardy_boys_clock_tickedx633_0 The boys make a silent agreement: No more Craigslist.

Hardy_boys_cover_by_j_clemens_gretterx633_0 "Relax, Joe, it's just a sombrero."

Hardy_boys_whale_tattoox633_0 The boys realize that the Eagle is not a club for senior-level Boy Scouts.

Hardy_boys_the_secret_panelx633_0 The salesman at the Pleasure Chest found that Electrostim(c) was a hard sell to the Hardy Boys.

Hardy_boys_short-wave_x633_0 Sadly, Frank and Joe found that their smart new car coats were no match for the winter cold.

Hardy_hoodedhawkx633_0 "No, Joe. That's not what 'chicken hawk' means."

Hardy_huntingforhiddengold_0 "Isn't Boo Radley from To Kill a Mockingbird? How the hell did he get in our book, Frank?"

Hardy-boys-missingchumsx633_0This exploitative "Hardy Boys Behind Bars" episode was quashed by the censors.

The-hardy-boys-disneyx633_0Look, it's adorable little Tommy Kirk (right) from the Disney TV version.

Hardy_parkerandshaunx633_0 Parker Stevenson as Frank Hardy and Shaun Cassidy as Joe in a perhaps more sultry television version of the all-American boy heroes.

Hardy-boys_lunchboxx633_0 Mystery lunch.

Parkerstevenson_dollx633_0 A Parker Stevenson doll, which if what his ex-wife, Kirstie Alley, alluded to is true, should be sold at the Pleasure Chest.

Hardy_shauncassidydollx633_0 Matching Shaun Cassidy doll. He's Shirley Jones's son!

Hardyboys_gamex633_0 There is a drinking version of this game. We are playing it in the office right now and drinking. Please note ubiqituous dark stranger in right corner. Obviously these boys hadn't grown up with the sing-song "stranger danger" warning. In fact, there wouldn't have been any books or five television shows if they had.

Mysteryoftheurinalx633_0 Those terrible boys at South Park just have to ruin everything with their dark sense of humor.

A_hardly_boys_mystery_by_x633_0 More overripe parody, from some nameless blogger. Tsk-tsk.

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