Friday, August 19, 2011

The very existence of this entry, I fear, suggests that I need a hobby (beyond, that is, this blogging thing).

{Photo by Flickr user penreyes, used under a Creative Commons license that reserves some rights.}

At a party a couple of weeks ago, my friend Joseph Clayton Mills and I got onto the topic of Chet Morton, friend of the Hardy Boys; brother of Joe Hardy's girlfriend, Iola; and inveterate hobbyist. I mentioned my favorite of Chet's one-per-book hobbies, taxidermy, and Joseph countered that he was always most impressed by Chet's brief passion for falconry.

"Falconry?" I asked. "Where in Bayport would Chet have encountered falconry, the sport of kings?"

Then, earlier this week, I stumbled upon what I thought might be the answer: perhaps Chet's interest in falconry began with a session of George Plimpton's Video Falconry on Biff Hooper's Colecovision?

This led Joseph to some quick research on the subject of Chet's hobbies. The list on Wikipedia, he reported, is "woefully inadequate," but the entry did deliver this remarkable bit of information:
Chet is one of the most popular characters in The Hardy Boys. In fact, by the mid-sixties, Chet had become so popular that in 1965 the Stratemeyer Syndicate was planning to develop a series about him and his hobbies.

It seems that the Stratemeyer Syndicate did a lot of work on this series (even some complete chapters were written), yet the Syndicate never began to publish it.
And that's not all:
A list of proposed titles in the Chet Morton series were found in the Stratemeyer Archives at the New York Public Library.
1. Chet Morton and the Funny Putty Caper
2. Chet Morton and the Talking Turkey
3. Chet Morton and the Mighty Muscle Builder
4. Chet Morton and the Stolen Flea Circus
5. Chet Morton and his Electronic Exam Passer
6. Chet Morton and his Bird-Brain Blimp
7. Chet Morton and the Monkey’s Uncle
8. Chet Morton and the Flying Fruitcake
9. Chet Morton and the Mystery at Tucks Cove
10 Chet Morton and the Mystery at the Friar Tuck House
11 Chet Morton and the Mystery of Ben's Bat
Those aren't quite Invisible Library titles, but I couldn't resist at least passing them on to my fellow invisible librarian, Ed Park, who replied, "Why do I feel like these could all be euphemisms in House of Holes??"

Surely someone's already working on the Chet Morton fanfiction, right?


  1. Wait, George Plimpton's Video Falconry actually existed? I thought it was just a running John Hodgman joke. What a world!

  2. T. H. White's "The Goshawk" was published in 1951, I feel certain there were other popular nonfiction books on falconry around in the 40s and 50s...

    My main comment is along Ed's lines - just yesterday on a swim blog I came across the excellent phrase "budgie smugglers" (Australian slang for speedo male swim briefs) - "Chet Morton and the Budgie Smugglers" can be the first entry in the slash series...