Worried about a case their father is working, Frank and Joe tail him and soon get mixed up in missing government secrets, an empty grave, and a man with amnesia.
Being the first episode of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, I wish I could be more enthusiastic about "The Mystery of the Haunted House" and could rate it higher rating. There would be much better episodes to come, but this one is average at best. I have two main gripes. The first is the "Haunted House" in the title. Even when I watch it back in 1977, I wasn't expecting real haunted house. But what I was expected was a house that was supposedly haunted where weird things happened. In the end, it would be revealed that someone was using an old legend to scare people away so they could carry on their nefarious activities without interruption. Sort of like the house in Nancy Drew episode I watched last night, The Secret of the Whispering Walls. But in this episode there is no haunted house or even a supposed haunted house instead there's a nightclub/restaurant called "The Haunted House". It includes secret passageways, etc. as you head to the main dining area. The only cool thing about the whole idea was seeing Richard Kiel in full Frankenstein make-up. Otherwise, it's a horrible gimmick.
My second issue is with the plot. As the episode begins, we're dropped right in the middle of a story we know nothing about. At this point, we've not even been introduced to the characters. It's a muddled was to begin a series. Even after we learn a few things, it never "feels" right. It doesn't seem like the kind of case our amateur detectives should find themselves wrapped up in right out of the gate. Something a little more local that didn't involve national secrets might have been a more appropriate way to start off. Something like the haunted house I described previously would have worked better.
Overall, I cannot in good faith rate this episode any higher than a very average 5/10.
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