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20 Ridiculous Cameos on the Hardy Boys TV Show

Here’s something you might not remember about the Hardy Boys TV show …

It was actually The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, and the reason you don’t remember that full name is because …

  • It’s complicated
  • It ran on Sunday nights
  • You’re sexist or old-fashioned
  • You’re just old and forgetful

Maybe all of these, maybe something else. Maybe you do remember the title, in which case you have a lying problem.

hardy boys tv show

Anyway, something else you might not remember about this three-year run is that it was the breeding ground for some cheesy, sometimes ridiculous cameos by big names.

Big names then, or big names to be.

Either way, here are 20 of those cameos from the Shawn Cassidy-and-Parker Stevenson-Pamela Sue Martin-led Hardy Boys TV show.

Casey Kasem

Kasem may have been famous for his America’s Top 40 gig, but kids knew him from his extensive voice work on cartoons … notably all over the Scooby-Doo franchis.

Fitting, then that he’d show up here in another 1970s mystery show, as detective Paul Hamilton … who bore a striking resemblance to Columbo.

Kim Cattrall

Before she was Andre McCarthy’s dream Mannequin or taught the world about some of the more lurid aspects of Sex in the City, Cattrall showed up here as Marie Claire in New Orleans, embroiled in voodoo shenanigans.

Lorne Greene

Depending on just how old you are, Greene was either a patriarch — Bonanza and Battle Star Galactica — or, in between, a dog gourmet … Alpo, baby.

Right before he took off for the stars, though, Greene showed up in Transylvania, where Nancy and the Boys were battling vampire stuff.

Pernell Roberts

So, right … Roberts was the eldest Cartwright boy on Bonanza, Greene’s son. And, yes, he was also Trapper John, M.D.

But when the Hardy Boys needed a fire chief or a detective named Molly? Well, ol’ Pernell was happy to step in. Or at least he did step in.

Bernie Taupin

This is all starting to twist into a big ball here.

See, in that vampire episode where Lorne Greene shows up, the Boys also end up hanging out with this hippie sort of dude in a blue jumpsuit open to his waist.

Short dude. Carries a guitar everywhere.

Yeah, it’s Bernie Taupin, famous for being Elton John’s lyricist. Can’t make this up, right?

Dennis Weaver

By 1977, Weaver was a major star, both on the big screen and on TV, having just come off a seven-year run on McCloud. So you expected him to have some bit part with the Hardy Boys?

Nah, baby.

Dennis Weaver appeared as Dennis Weaver. Duh.

Robert Wagner

Ditto Robert Wagner, who was in the middle of his Switch tenure.

And he was also in the middle of bedding, like, whoever he wanted, thanks to his status as a Hollywood hunk dude.

So, yes, Robert Wagner appeared with Joe and Frank as Robert Wagner.

Jaclyn Smith

Look, I know this is getting old, but a Charlie’s Angels Angel couldn’t appear on another TV show in 1977 as anybody else but her own damn self.

So we get Jaclyn Smith as Jaclyn Smith.

Why did this keep happening?

Well, see, the episode was a two-parter called “Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom.” So …

Maureen McCormick

Marcia Brady was pretty much dead by 1977, though, so Maureen McCormick had to settle for appearing alongside Nancy Drew as a tennis player named Karen Phillips in “Nancy Drew’s Love Match”.

Maybe she would have seen more mystery air time if something hadn’t suddenly come up.

Larry Storch

Storch had been going forever when he appeared in a 1977 episode called “The Mystery of the Silent Scream.”

Lots of character acting, lots of cartoon voice-overs — another Scooby-Doo alum.

Several episodes of the Brady Bunch under his belt, too, so you have to wonder about that Marcia connection … no?

Valerie Bertinelli

Sweet, cute little Valerie Bertinelli had just three acting credits to her name when she showed up on “Campus Terror” in 1978.

But one of those was as Barbara Cooper on One Day at a Time.

So, yeah, the future former Eddie Van Halen was already sort of a big deal.

Rick Springfield

Before Rick Springfield hit it big on General Hospital and with meh pop music, he ran off a string of TV appearances, including six seasons as a voice on Mission: Magic!

Mixed in there was one episode with the Hardy Boys, “Will the Real Santa Claus…?” in 1977.

Melanie Griffith

Griffith already had a few movie credits, and some TV spots, under her platinum skirt by 1978, but she wasn’t yet half the power couple that she would go on to forge with Don Johnson.

Though she sort of was, because their first marriage to each other had already come and gone, all in 1976.

On the sleuthing trail, though, Griffith played Stacey Blain in “The House on Possessed Hill.”

Cathy Rigby

In “Arson and Old Lace,” Rigby landed the coveted role of ” Greata Delquist’s Daughter.”

Later on, of course, she would play Cathy Rigby on CHiPs, and then Peter Pan on Peter Pan.

Maybe there’s still a chance she gets that shot at playing the Great Gazoo on some rendition of The Flintstones.


Did you know that “Fabian” is Hollywood-ese for “fabulous.” Go ahead. Look it up. I’ll wait (but not long).

Anyway, Fabiano Anthony Forte was a teen idol, then did like 40 years of TV, then didn’t do anything.

In the middle of all that, he sleuthed it up on Mystery on the Avalanche Express in 1978.

Gordon Jump

Gordon Jump uttered one of the most famous lines in TV history as Mr. Carlson, the boss of WKRP in Cincinnati.

“Worse? What could be worse than Momma?” He said it. Again … look it up.

Anyway, later on, he was the Maytag Man.

Did other stuff, too, like playing in Soap.

But none of it could touch Officer Hooper on “The Mystery of the Diamond Triangle” in 1977.

Joe Penny

Penny gained fame as the fit Jake that somehow staved off being eaten by Fatman William Conrad for five seasons.

Penny was also on Riptide.

And a bunch of other stuff. Like, you know, “The Mystery of Pirate’s Cove” in 1977, where he played Dreamy Brandon (adjective mine).

Howard Cosell

Cosell played Cosell in a 1977 episode called “Mystery of the Solid Gold Kicker” because trying to pass Cosell off as anything other than Cosell was like trying to fool your Mom.

Good luck with that, a-hole.

Anyway, this is the episode where Cosell steals Ray Wersching and sells him to Vin Scully.

Trades him, I guess, as Cosell got Boog Powell back in return.

Robert Englund

Did you know that Robert Englund tried out for the original Star Wars? They said he wasn’t grotesque enough for what they had in mind.

Ol’ Freddie would take care of that malady a few years later, but in the meantime, he licked his wounds as Gar on “Mystery of the Fallen Angels” in 1977.

Missy Gold

One of 74 Gold children who have held roles on TV and Clone Wars over the last five decades, Missy was in her acting infancy in 1977.

That’s when she showed up in that same Hardy Christmas episode as Springfield, only she played Grace instead of Ned Nickerson.

There’s something wrong about all this … I’m just not sure what.

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