history museums observations

What Do Hart to Hart & Scooby Do Have in Common?

What Do Hart to Hart & Scooby Do Have in Common?

Hubby and I have recently discovered old television shows on Tubi, an online streaming channel. We’ve been watching (reliving, really) Columbo, Fantasy Island, and Hart to Hart on the channel.

I could probably write blog posts on all of these shows (like one on poor Mrs. Columbo, who is the never-seen but long-suffering wife of Columbo who keeps getting left behind on cases he solves while they are on vacation), but I want to focus on Hart to Hart, specifically the mummy episode.

Hart to Hart features Stefanie Powers as Mrs. Jennifer Hart and Robert Wagner as Mr. Jonathan Hart. They are fabulously wealthy, which gives them the flexibility and access they need when they are solving murders that keep happening around them. (Y’all, if murders kept randomly happening around me like they do in all of these quaint crime shows of the past featuring non-cops (Angela Landsbury, I’m looking at you!), I’d start to wonder what sort of curse I was under.)  Lionel Stander plays their butler, Max, which is incredibly handy when the Harts need extra assistance when solving their capers. He also provides additional storylines for crimes to solve.

One of the endearing qualities of the show is that Mr. and Mrs. Hart really love and respect each other, not something you often see in terms of partners or love interests on television shows. Writers often use the negative friction between two people to move a story forward. This is not the case with Hart to Hart. Instead, they used comedy, which sometimes borders on slapstick, to propel the story.

This is especially true in the mummy episode, which is called “Murder Wraps.” In it, Mrs. Hart keeps seeing a mummy that no one else ever sees and the mummy is after her. An Egyptologist associated with a museum exhibit has been killed and the Harts are trying to solve the murder while this mummy keeps showing up.

At the end (spoiler alert!), the Harts are in the museum, poking around the exhibit, being watched by someone wearing an Anubis head and being chased by the mummy. They find a secret room within the exhibit. Mrs. Hart gets nabbed by the mummy and ends up in the sarcophagus, where Mr. Hart has to find and save her. At one point, someone grabs a flaming torch off the wall and is swinging it around.

At which point I’m like, “Hold the goddamn phone! This is a museum! There is no way in hell a museum exhibit of ancient, irreplaceable artifacts will feature an open flame of any kind, let alone a giant torch.”

And then I start picking apart everything else in the scene, like how obviously lightweight the sarcophagus lid is and wouldn’t Mrs. Hart have been in danger of suffocation if she was in there for any length of time? And who had time to change her outfit? Would the mummy have been able to do so with all those annoying bandages getting in the way? And who would put a “secret” chamber in a museum exhibit? None of this really holds together.

Of course, with a mummy and Anubis-head guy involved, you know there has to be an unmasking. And there was. After Mr. and Mrs. Hart unmask the nefarious criminals, I wanted to have one of them say, “And we would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!” At which point it dawned on me that Hart to Hart was just like Scooby Doo in its zaniness. I wonder if the writers were inspired by Scooby Doo?

Hart to Hart is also great for reliving 1980s fashion. Look it up if you want a light-hearted blast from the past.