Monday, February 15, 2010

Power Boys

Meet the Power Boys, a cheap knock-off the Hardy Boys circa 1964. They lasted through six novels and have largely been forgotten. Except for the likes of me.

I've an entire set of their novels, all authored by Mel Lyle, and released by the now defunct Whitman Publishing Company. According to Wikipedia (America's Source For Reliable Information™):

Nothing is known about Mel Lyle. It is unknown whether this is his real name, a pseudonym for a single author, or even a house name for different writers - nor is it known whether he is still alive.

I don't know what is more tragic, the fact that Mel Lyle has been rendered so obscure by modernity that absolutely nothing is known about him, or the fact that he probably never existed to begin with.

The books themselves bear wonderful titles like The Mystery of the Haunted Skyscraper and The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton. Seriously, how awesome is that? Flying fucking skeletons! How was this series not optioned for television? Even the Three Investigators got themselves a movie. (Two movies, actually. So what if they're German?)

So, who are the Power Boys? Jack and Chip, of course! (The following info was gleaned from the first chapter of the first book in the series.)

Jack is "big for seventeen, had reddish-brown hair, cut short, and freckles."

Chip, on the other hand, "was almost as tall as Jack, but he hadn't filled out yet" and "his blond hair had reddish glints."

Note, the "reddish-brown hair, cut short, and freckles" pretty much could describe me in my teen years, but the only thing that perplexed me was the Mystery of the Chickenhawk in the Alpha Beta Parking Lot. (True story: When I was a young lad, a creeptastic old man asked me "Wanch yer cock suck'd?" This, in the parking lot of the local supermarket. My mother was out of earshot at the moment, fortunately for everyone involved.)

Speaking of parental figures, the patriarch of the Power clan is a globe-trotting photojournalist, with "thick black hair" peppered with a bit of "premature gray," named Thomas. Dad walks out on a "dangerous" assignment a few pages into chapter one, leaving the boys to their own devices.

Mom is mentioned in passing, having died at some indeterminate time of some unmentioned cause.

I googled Power Boys for more background, and had little luck. (In fact, I don't recommend you do the same, unless you want your screen flooded with twink porn. Then again...) There seem to be no other recurring characters, the boys have no friends save each other, and no permanent home, the result of the family's itinerant lifestyle. It's tough being a single parent, especially in the 1960s.

The titles, published between 1964 and 1967, are (in chronological order):

The Mystery of the Haunted Skyscraper
The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton
The Mystery of the Burning Ocean
The Mystery of the Million-Dollar Penny
The Mystery of the Double Kidnapping
The Mystery of the Vanishing Lady


Two chapters into Haunted Skyscraper and I am pretty sure the ending is going to be quite Scooby. I'm also pretty sure the Power Boys are kind of dense. But more on that in the next post.

9 comments:

  1. Could I please have 30 e Million-Dollar Pennies?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi. I am the principal writer of the Power Boys Wikipedia article. It is effectively a condensed and abridged adaptation of a much longer and detailed web page I wrote on the books. If you Google "Power Boys" *together with* "Mel Lyle", you will zero in on the page straight away, and you may find it of interest. Another editor also placed a direct link to my web page in the Wikipedia article.

    I believe it is currently the only source on the Internet about the Power Boys, apart from the Wikipedia article, which is based on the page anyway.

    Regards, Michael.

    ReplyDelete
  3. thanks for the info, michael. i saw the article as i was writing my piece, but i avoided reading it because i didn't want it to unduly influence my own piece. i will definitely go back to it once i'm through the series.

    ReplyDelete
  4. As a kid, I bought and read two of the novels.
    Mystery of the Million Dollar Penny is one of my all time favorites. Maybe it is because I like caves and outdoor adventure. There was something
    simple about that era that is missing now.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I grew up with them back in the 60's (aging myself) just couldn't get into the hardy (whimps) boys so it was the power boys for me. That was so long ago, I thought to seek the truth, that they did exist and wasn't a childhood dream that resurfaced. So that's my reason for the researching.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had the title, The Vanishing Lady... I recognized the cover right away, and quickly reordered it off Amazon, since I probably haven't read it since it was first published...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Loved the series. I also have a complete set... Wish we could figure out the mystery of "Who is (was) Mel Lyle?" I suspect a house name for different writers. But who knows?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I loved it when I was a kid, also in the sixties. I have since collected a full set. Wish we could figure out the mystery of "who was (is) Mel Lyle?" I suspect a house name for different writers. We may never know.

    ReplyDelete