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I recorded the demo Feels So Good, written by Gary Liozzo of the American Breed. This demo was recorded to convince Filmation to select our band from the groups then under consideration. That recording won us the audition, and the audition got us the job. I was to play the role of Frank Hardy. I had suggested that I knew somebody who could fill the character of Joe Hardy. His name was Jeff Taylor, from the Milwaukee band known as The Messengers. It’s interesting to note that Jeff’s voice can be heard on the version of Midnight Hour performed by Michael and the Messengers, on which I sang the background vocals. Midnight Hour was recorded on the USA label, which was the sister label to Destination records. The others members of the Hardy Boys gang were found by Dunwich Productions. Devon English was the Wanda Kay character, Bob Crowder was the drummer, and the sax player was Nibs (Norbert) Soltysiak. Using a variety of studio musicians selected by Dunwich Productions, we recorded two albums for the ABC TV show at RCA Records on Wacker Drive. It was a fun time. While at the studio, I also had the opportunity to meet Burton Cummings of the Guess Who.

 

 

 

 

 

The opening of the show was depicted as playing a live concert, performed at Second City on Wells Street. The show debuted on a Saturday morning and was shown in 52 different markets. Prior to the opening Saturday morning show, there was a huge party given in our honor at the Cheetah in New York. There was also a press junket for people in the media, which attracted reporters from many newspapers nationwide as well as representatives from several popular magazines. The show became a hit series for ABC with the Saturday morning audience. The single Love and Let Love and the following two albums were moderate successes. Interestingly, my version of Hello Girl was used on one of the shows. The music was integrated right into the show and appeared to be performed by the cartoon characters themselves. Filmation had high hopes that Hardy Boys would become a commercially-viable live band and embellish the organization’s wealth. Filmation had done so successfully on a previous TV series, called the Archies, with the band’s hit single Sugar Sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

The group did play some live shows, such as a Junior Miss Pageant in Birmingham, Alabama. We decided to drive the band down. By the time we reached Nashville along the way, we stopped to get something to eat. Two restaurants refused us service because we had a black drummer. We finally arranged to get something to eat at a small outdoor hotdog stand located on a college campus. We proceeded to Birmingham, where we had reservations at the Putweller Hotel. Upon arriving, we were escorted to the second floor, where musicians and people of color were segregated. I clearly remember we were there for a two-day stay for rehearsals. The first evening after rehearsal, Jeff and I went to the hotel lounge to watch Steppinfetchit, who was a well-known black comedian, much like Red Fox. Steppinfetchit was also staying on the second floor.

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