The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries 1.13 – The Secret of the Jade Kwan Yin

Tonight’s episode was the last of the seven Hardy Boys installments in the first season, and the last appearance of Lisa Eilbacher as their friend Callie. The episode is also notable as an early credit for Rosalind Chao, who’s been in several dozen films and TV shows over the last forty years, and may be best known for her recurring role as Keiko in a couple of the ’90s Star Trek series.

The story is about a stolen jade statue that’s very important to the Chinese-American community in Bayport that climaxes with a big chase during a nighttime parade. They mixed the parade footage filmed on the Universal backlot with some very well-selected footage from the library, and they did an impressive job pulling it off, with only a couple of differences in film stock betraying the joins. Some of the earlier uses of “Chinatown” footage during the day are actually far less convincing, because we’re kind of given to understand that Bayport isn’t a particularly large city. (This article at Stratemeyer.org suggests its population is about 50,000.) But the “Chinatown” buildings and streets that we see in establishing shots is all quite clearly film footage from a major metropolis.

But it’s during the parade that our son, who was already enjoying this one a great deal, really sprang to life. He thought this was completely wonderful, and loved Frank and Joe hiding from the criminals under the skirts of a Chinese dragon. The episode climaxes with a dumb joke, as they often do, but this joke’s unlikely punch line involves breakfast cereal, and he just collapsed onto the floor in giggles.

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