To help Frank prepare for Four O’Clock Scholar in The Prime-Time Crime (#109), Joe asks Frank who won the 1979 World Series. Frank guesses the Phillies, which is incorrect; the correct answer is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Twenty-five years after The Prime-Time Crime, 1979 is still the Pirates’ most recent championship. Coincidentally, the cover artist who took over with #113, Daniel R. Horne, is a Pirates fan and put a greeked version of a classic Pirates cap on the cover of The Baseball Card Conspiracy.
In Rock ‘n’ Roll Renegades, Chet tells Joe that he should play Loup Garou, which neither Frank nor Joe has heard of. (“Loup Garou” is a French phrase for a werewolf-type creature — or just a werewolf, if you like direct mapping of one culture onto another.) It could be a joke on the Hardys expense, making fun of their lack of musical knowledge, but I bet the author is referring to a real band. I can’t find any information on a musical group that would have existed at that time with that name. Anyone know who Chet’s referring to?
According to a site that bills itself the Hardy Boys Unofficial Home Page, Rock ‘n’ Roll Renegades was written by Chris Lampton. That site has Lampton down as the author of nine books, beginning with Danger on the Air (#95) and ending with The Case of the Cosmic Kidnapping (#120). Lampton himself, however, says he wrote ten digests. (Both Lampton and the Hardy Boys fan site above mention Casefiles #65 as well.)
The complete list of Hardy Boys books Lampton claims to have written are:
- Danger on the Air (#95)
- The Dungeon of Doom (#99)
- The Secret of the Island Treasure (#100)
- Terminal Shock (#102)
- Attack of the Video Villains (#106)
- The Prime-Time Crime (#109)
- The Secret of Sigma Seven (#110)
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Renegades (#115)
- The Case of the Cosmic Kidnapping (#120)
- End of the Trail (#162)
- No Mercy (Casefiles #65)
Looking at that list, it’s fair to say Lampton was a pretty good Dixon. Dungeon of Doom, The Secret of the Island Treasure, and Prime-Time Crime are excellent books, and the only real objection I had about End of the Trail was that it was so short. None of the others were bad, really, although they had their shortcomings.
Most of his books were set around Bayport, with much of the action set around some new interest / hobby of the Hardys or Chet. (That’s not exactly an unusual description of any Hardy author, really.) You can pick out some areas Lampton concentrated on: TV and radio broadcasting, computers and video games (his bio says both are interests), and sci-fi / fantasy fandom. He introduces the boys’ work at WBPT, but he’s not the only writer who used it: another (unknown at this time) writer picked it up for Spark of Suspicion (#98).
Also, this list shoots a hole in my theory that the same person wrote Video Villains (#106) and Mystery with a Dangerous Beat (#124). Since both books mention the video game Hack Attack, I thought the two probably shared an author. It turns out it was either an observant editor or writer who picked up the game’s name from Video Villains. According to the Unofficial Home Page, the author of Dangerous Beat was Frances [sic] Lantz. That should be Francess Lantz, who wrote many juveniles, including the first six Luna Bay surf series books.
At his blog, Lampton talks about writing Terminal Shock, which he mentions he originally titled The Computer Clue. He also mentions another article about Terminal Shock written less than three months ago.
Lampton has written a number of non-fiction books, mostly for the publisher Franklin Watts. His fiction includes three sci-fi / fantasy books under his own name (The Seeker, Cross of Empire, and Gateway to Limbo). He also wrote three books under the name Dayle Courtney, the pseudonym for the author of the Thorne Twins book series. The Thorne Twins was a series of nineteen books in which twins Eric and Allison used Christian principles to solve mysteries.