Although the Hardy Boys books are credited to Franklin W. Dixon and the Nancy Drew mysteries are signed by Carolyn Keene, both of these children's literature properties were created by one man -- Edward R. Stratemeyer -- who, using a wide variety of pen names and a huge staff of ghost writers, churned out hundreds of "Hardy," "Drew," and similar book series from the WWI years onward. Curiously, while both The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew had been adapted for films and television, the two properties never "merged" until ABC got the bright idea of creating the Sunday-evening TV series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries in late 1976. In this incarnation, teen heartthrobs Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson were respectively cast as Joe and Frank Hardy, the amateur-sleuth sons of celebrated private investigator Fenton Hardy (Edmund Gilbert), while Pamela Sue Martin was seen as Nancy Drew, the bright, insatiably inquisitive daughter of criminal lawyer Carson Drew (William Schallert). In keeping with their common "parentage," The Hardy Boys Mysteries and The Nancy Drew Mysteries both found their young protagonists seeking out clues and risking their lives in order to solve baffling cases, much to the dismay and disapproval of their respective parents -- not to mention the Hardy kids' aunt Gertrude (Edith Atwater) and the Drew family's maid Bess (Ruth Cox). Joe and Frank Hardy were occasionally assisted by their school friend Callie Shaw (Lisa Eilbacher), while Nancy Drew's partners in deducing were her erstwhile beau Ned Nickerson (George O'Hanlon Jr.) and her tomboyish gal pal George Fayne (played first by Jean Rasey, then by Susan Buckner).
Debuting January 30, 1977, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries was during its first season a "rotating" series, with a Hardy Boys episode one week, followed by a Nancy Drew installment the next. Beginning with season two, the Hardys and Nancy would occasionally appear in the same episode; in February of 1978, the two shows became one (albeit under the same "blanket" title), with Joe, Frank, and Nancy appearing together in every episode. At that time, Pamela Sue Martin left the series, balking at the notion of her "separate" vehicle being eliminated. Janet Louise Johnson then stepped into the role of Nancy Drew, remaining with the property until it was decided to drop Nancy altogether. Thus, though The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries officially ended in the fall of 1978, the series hung on as simply The Hardy Boys until August 26, 1979. ~ Rovi
- Shaun Cassidy, Parker Stevenson, (more)