Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Ghost of the Hardy Boys

Leslie McFarlane, a resident of Haileybury, Ontario, was the author of one of the most famous children's book series in the world. You probably aren't familiar with his name, although you've heard of his books and you may even have read some of them too. I've read quite a few. The series was the Hardy Boys.

McFarlane was a writer in Northern Ontario when a job pulled him to the Boston area. While working there, he answered an ad in a local paper for writers. This job was for various ghost writers who would publish under the one pen name, Franklin W. Dixon. This set-up allowed the publisher to change authors without interrupting the series. The series McFarlane began with was not the Hardy Boys. That was created later, after he tired of writing for the first series called the "Dave Fearless Series". The publisher had been pushing around an idea about two teenage sleuths and offered the book to McFarlane. He wrote 21 books in the Hrady Boys series. The rest is history.

His son, Brian McFarlane of Hockey Night in Canada fame, recalls that his father regarded the Hardy Boys books as lost labour, doing it only for the pay, $50 and $100 per book. I assume he received royalties from the books and televison series, but maybe not.


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