There are times where you have to remind yourself “this is just a kids’ show.” I can’t imagine any grownup being very surprised by anything that happens in this episode, with the possible exception of ninety seconds of padding just before the cops show up, but our son was riveted by all the twists and turns. In Cairo, Joe and Frank get caught up in a con that two American girls, played by Taryn Power and Elyssa Davalos, are trying to pull on a much larger and more dangerous gang of con artists. The real bad guys are pulling a “King Tut’s Tomb” job on rich marks, using one gold artifact as bait, the girls arrange to have the artifact “stolen” in public, and then the Hardy Boys butt in. Our son loved it, and the revelation that somehow along the line, the gold artifact got switched for a lead fake was his favorite moment.
So while the plot didn’t really grab my attention, I was actually very impressed with the filming choices. They sent a second unit and a white VW hippie van to drive around Cairo for all the establishing shots, including setting the scene of the theft in a large outdoor market, then had the actors – usually framed very tightly – on a Universal backlot dressed like the market the Egyptian unit had filmed. I’ve seen lots of TV from this era and this really is one of the most successful switcheroos I can recall. Using the same film stock instead of library footage makes a huge difference. Apparently the Hardy Boys will be in Kenya for their next case; I wonder whether they can pull it off twice?