Equal parts Our Gang and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, The Red Hand Gang was another short-lived entry in NBC’s late 70’s live-action slate.
This bunch of prepubescent sleuths took their collective name from the red paint handprints they left as a calling card (gang warfare not being much of an issue at the time). Eleven-year-old Frankie was the group’s leader (he was the oldest, after all), and the rest of the clue-hunting club consisted of streetwise J.R., nine-year-old JoAnne, glasses-wearing Doc, and Frankie’s six-year-old brother Li’l Bill. Together with team mascot Boomer the dog and occasional help from Uncle Fred Norris (JoAnne’s uncle), the kids solved mysteries ranging from robbery and kidnapping to haunted houses and Bigfoot, presented as serialized cliffhangers.
Only twelve original episodes of The Red Hand Gang aired during the show’s four-month run, but several cast members went on to bigger roles on other programs. Matthew Laborteaux, who played Frankie, later became Albert on primetime’s Little House on the Prairie, and pet pooch Boomer even got his own show, 1980’s Here’s Boomer.
Release History 9/10/77 – 1/21/78 NBC
Sub Categories live-action drama
Studio D’Angelo, Bullock-Allen
Frankie … Matthew Laborteaux
J.R. … J.E. Miller
JoAnne … Jolie Newman
Doc … James Bond III
Li’l Bill … John Brogna
Boomer … Himself