Frank and Joe Hardy are over 80 years old but you’d never know it by looking at them. The brothers have been solving mysteries since pre-World War II but still remain teenagers. Well, after many years of sleuthing, it sounds like the Hardy Boys will finally be growing up — and you won’t believe who they’ve grown into.
The Hardy Boys were created in 1926 by Edward Stratemeyer, head of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The Stratemeyer Syndicade was a publishing company that made its reputation publishing popular childrens’ books of the day like The Bobbsey Twins and Tom Swift. The Hardy Boys books, though credited to Franklin W. Dixon, were secretly written by various ghostwriters, as was the case with all of the syndicate’s properties. The original tales of the amateur detectives have been reprinted and revised many times over the years to reflect current times. In addition, several spin-off series of books have been published, usually updating brothers Frank and Joe Hardy. A recent series even includes the brothers uttering mild curse words.
Many people remember the popular The Hardy Boys Mysteries television series that ran from January 30, 1977 until August 26, 1979. A pre-Baywatch Parker Stevenson played Frank and Joe was played by teen heartthrob Shaun Cassidy (who years later created Invasion). In the series, the brothers were frequently partnered with fellow sleuth Nancy Drew (also a Stratemeyer creation), played by a pre-Dynasty Pamela Sue Martin.
The mystery brothers have actually appeared on television several times throughout the years. In 1956 and 1957, Disney staples Tim Considine (Spin and Marty, sitcom My Three Sons) and Tommy Kirk (Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog) played the Hardys on The Mickey Mouse Club. NBC aired a Hardy Boys pilot entitled The Mystery of the Chinese Junk starring Tim Matthieson (The West Wing) and Rick Gates (L.A. Law). Filmation produced an animated version in 1969 that resulted in two pop-singles (Here Come the Hardys and Wheels). As recently as 1995, a Canadian Hardy series was created and starred Pal Popowich (Angela’s Eyes) and Colin Gray (The West Wing) but it ran only 13 episodes.
Well, it’s taken them a long time but it looks like the Hardys could finally be growing up — and graduating to the big-screen. Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller are reportedly planning to play an updated version of the Hardy boys. The film for Twentieth Century Fox, tentatively titled The Hardy Men, would follow the well-known brothers as adults. Early reports are that the script will center on Joe and Frank after they haven’t spoken to each other in 15-20 years. The two reluctantly reunite to rescue their father who has been kidnapped.
The film will likely have a semi-comic sensibility and will be directed by Stiller’s most recent director from A Night at the Museum, Shawn Levy (who’s also just been signed to direct a movie version of the superhero The Flash). Though The Hardy Men has been in the planning stages for a few years, the film’s now finally scheduled to begin shooting in October 2007.
It sounds like a solid concept but I’m wondering which brothers Cruise and Stiller would play. It could go either way, I guess. But the real question is, which brother finally hooked up with Nancy Drew? Get Pamela Sue Martin on the phone! Stay tuned!