The Hardy Boys 3.1 – The Last Kiss of Summer (part one)

And now we time-travel back to October 1978 and the third season of The Hardy Boys. Once again there are a pair of small format changes. For starters, Nancy Drew’s no longer involved, but Bart Maverick is. Jack Kelly starts a semi-regular role this season as a federal agent named Harry Hammond, but all ten episodes – the show was cancelled after a few weeks of terrible ratings opposite 60 Minutes – feature Frank and Joe. Frequent Glen A. Larson guest star Anne Lockhart is here in this opening two-parter written by Larson and Michael Sloan, and for a few minutes it looks like a massive format change might be in the works, because Joe’s fallen in love with a California girl named Jamie, played by Kristie Welch, and proposes to her. But the night before their wedding, Jamie is killed in a car accident. The other driver is a small-time criminal that the feds have been watching for six years, trying to get proof of an old robbery and murder. Joe’s not interested in waiting six years for his revenge…

Well, okay, obviously nobody watching, then or now, was fooled into thinking that Joe was getting married. This girl had a bullseye on her back from the first bars of “If” by the seventies soft-rock combo Bread. I had no idea what that godawful song was, which really surprised Marie, because she figures that’s the first time in twenty-four years of putting up with me that she knew a song and I didn’t. I told her that was her misfortune. (It’s not true, either. I swear I never in my life heard “Last Christmas” by Wham! until this past December when I looked it up to see what the heck everybody complains about every holiday. Turns out the song I thought was “Last Christmas” is actually called “Careless Whisper.”)

Anyway, after far, far more of “If” than anybody wants to hear, and a lot of Shaun Cassidy having flashbacks to his lost love, I thought our son was going to lose his mind from boredom. Things finally pick up at the end with a cliffhanger involving great white sharks. He liked that a lot.

Incidentally, your eyes aren’t deceiving you: the image quality of this episode is far, far worse than what we’ve been used to. I appreciate Shout! Factory releasing this season, but they sure didn’t do much remastering of the picture. Shame; there’s one coming up that I’m particularly interested in (finally) seeing…

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