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The Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew Mysteries: Will the Real Santa Claus… (1978)

by on 2010/12/08

“You can’t let Santa Claus spend the night in jail . . . it’s un-American!”

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When I was a kid, I had these ridiculously early bedtimes. My mother wasn’t a big child person. These sun-still-shining, Ned Flanders-style tuck-in times meant that I could just snatch a glimpse of the opening title sequence of Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977-1979), hear the alluring theme song, but never stay up late enough to watch the actual show.

As is the way with unrequited love, the Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew Mysteries became my obsession. Now that I’m of um, voting age, I can finally watch it whenever I want.  As late as I want.

Do you hear that mom?


The series ran for a scant three seasons. Unfortunately only two of the seasons are available on DVD currently. I’ve read reports that the third season will be out “soon.”

One day they will all be mine.

This particular festive gem, Season 2’s Will the Real Santa Claus… aired on Dec. 18, 1977. This instalment features Pamela Sue Martin playing feathered-hair, doe-eyed Nancy Drew, working to help an aged, train-hopping vagrant Mr. Griffin (Dan O’Herlihy), who claims to be Santa.

In the meanwhile, River Heights is being terrorized by a cat burglar creatively dubbed the Christmas Thief. This sicko dresses up like Santa, complete with scary clear-plastic Santa mask, and steals all the polished silver urns and bowls he can from the swank suburban homes around the Drew residence. As we all clearly know, every suburban home in the 70’s had pillowcases-upon-pillowcases full of silver.

When Mr. Griffin winds up in the slammer after he sneaks a long winter’s nap in a stable, Nancy wheedles her dad Carson Drew (William Shallert) into becoming Griffin’s lawyer.

Unfortunately there’s a doings a-transpiring, and the real Santa (or is he?) is being tailed by very bad men. In several pay phone conversations we learn that Santa may have witnessed a drug deal. A big-time crime boss, with a Greco-Roman bust on his glass desk, wants Santa outta da picture. (Nothing says evil like a bust on your desk).

Only Ms. Drew is Santa’s staunch supporter, analyzing red fabric samples and sacks full of loot. Faster than you can say baby blue, gabardine bell-bottoms, Nancy Drew finds herself turtle-neck deep in mystery and thugs in beige overcoats.

All the while Nancy’s dogged by an arrogant young district attorney, Ned Nickerson, played by the hilariously wooden 70’s teen sensation Rick Springfield. (This was Springfield’s first and last appearance on the show). Nickerson chides Nancy Drew for  improper evidence handling of a Christmas card with her sweaty Lee Press On Nail-ed fingers.

You know, I’m so glad someone finally had the guts to confront Drew on the shoddiness of her evidence-processing protocols. Happily, she forgives Nick Nick and they totally kiss.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little, inoffensive 70’s holiday time capsule. Watch it for this reason alone: Never, ever has a Christmas episode been so crammed with plaid.

* * *

Rated PG – Ms. Martin’s pants are pretty tight.

47 minutes

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