|77 Sunset Strip|
|Created by||Roy Huggins|
|Directed by||Irving J. Moore et al|
|Starring|| Efrem Zimbalist Jr. |
Joan Staley (Season 6)
|Theme music composer|| Mack David |
Jerry Livingston (original)
|Composers|| Max Steiner |
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||206 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers|| William T. Orr |
|Producers|| Howie Horwitz |
Gordon Bau (make-up)
|Running time||48–50 minutes|
|Production company||Warner Bros. Television|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Division|
|Original release||October 10, 1958 –|
February 7, 1964
|Preceded by|| I Love Trouble |
Conflict episode: "Anything for Money"
|Related shows|| Surfside 6 |
Bourbon Street Beat
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77 Sunset Strip is an American television private detective drama series created by Roy Huggins and starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Roger Smith, Richard Long (from 1960 to 1961) and Edd Byrnes (billed as Edward Byrnes). Each episode was one hour long when aired with commercials. The show ran from 1958 to 1964. The character of detective Stuart Bailey was first used by writer Huggins in the 1948 film I Love Trouble .
Private detective and former government secret agent Stuart ("Stu") Bailey (Zimbalist) and former government agent and nonpracticing attorney Jeff Spencer (Smith) form a duo that works from stylish offices at 77 Sunset Boulevard in Suites 101 and 102. The street address was colloquially known as the Sunset Strip, and was located between La Cienega Boulevard and Alta Loma Road on the south side of the strip next door to Dean Martin's real-life lounge, Dino's Lodge. Typically, the two detectives would alternate as leads, with a Stuart Bailey case being featured one week, and a Jeff Spencer case the next—although depending on the nature of the case, sometimes the two would team up.
Suzanne Fabry, the beautiful French switchboard operator played by Jacqueline Beer, handles the phones for Sunset Answering Service, located in Suite 103. The firm of Bailey & Spencer employs her answering service, as do other clients. Although not technically an employee of the firm, Suzanne is involved in casework from time to time, especially in Season 2.
Comic relief is provided by Roscoe the racetrack tout (played by Louis Quinn), who frequently hangs around the offices giving horse racing tips. However, he is sometimes used as an operative, and is an ever-informed source for the word on the street.
The firm's most frequently seen police contact is Lt. Roy Gilmore (Byron Keith), who is almost never called by his first name.
The show's breakout character, who had not been included in the pilot film, was Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III (Edd Byrnes), the rock and roll-loving, wisecracking, hair-combing hipster and aspiring PI who initially works as the valet parking attendant at Dino's, the club next to the detectives' office. "Kookie" often becomes involved in the firm's cases, and is eventually made a full partner in the firm, with his own office.
Also seen relatively frequently are the Frank Ortega Trio, playing themselves as the jazzy house band at Dino's Lodge.
Huggins intended the show to be a hard-edged drama, but beginning with the 23rd episode, "The Pasadena Caper," the tone started to become much lighter, with a strong element of self-deprecating humor and the word "caper" frequently used in episode titles. The catchy theme song, written by the accomplished team of Mack David and Jerry Livingston, typified the show's breezy, jazzed atmosphere. The song became the centerpiece of an album of the show's music in Warren Barker orchestrations, which was released in 1959, a top-10 hit in the Billboard LP charts.
The Kookie character became a cultural phenomenon, with his slang expressions such as "ginchy" (cool) and "piling up Zs" (sleeping). When Kookie helped the detectives on a case by singing a song, Edd Byrnes began a singing career with the novelty single "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)" (Warner Bros. 5047), based on his frequent combing of his hair; this featured Connie Stevens on vocals in the chorus and the song, with words and music by Irving Taylor, became the first hit single for the recently established Warner Bros. Records. Kookie was also used to provide product placement for Harley-Davidson, appearing on their Topper motor scooter in the show and in Harley-Davidson advertisements.
The show became the first "franchises" in television, spawning no less than three spinoffs, recreating the "77" format, a team of private detectives, their secretary and sidekick, solving cases, in picturesque cities. Surfside Six was set in Miami Beach; Hawaiian Eye's home base was Honolulu. Bourbon Street Beat saw a similar detective agency located in New Orleans. In some cases, "77" scripts were recycled and rewritten to fit the characters of each series. It was the genesis of the same concepts that drive Law & Order, NCIS, CSI and the [[Chicago PD]/Chicago Med/Chicago Fire series as well as 9-1-1.
When Byrnes' demands for more money and an expanded role were not met, he left the show for a period in Season 2. After an absence of 16 episodes beginning in January 1960, Byrnes and Warner Bros. settled their differences, and Kookie came back beginning in May. (During his absence, Roscoe's and Suzanne's roles were beefed up to handle the work normally assigned to Kookie.)
For the 1960–61 season, Richard Long (who appeared in different roles in two Season 1 episodes) moved over from the recently canceled detective series Bourbon Street Beat . His character of Rex Randolph from Bourbon Street Beat was said to have left New Orleans and relocated to North Hollywood, joining Bailey and Spencer's firm and taking Office 104. The character was dropped after one season, but Long (once again playing different one-shot guest characters) was seen again on 77 Sunset Strip in Seasons 5 and 6.
Kookie became a full-fledged detective and partner in the firm as of Season 4, taking over Rex Randolph's office in 104. At the same time, Robert Logan became the new parking-lot attendant, J.R. Hale, who usually speaks in abbreviations. Hale is seen throughout Seasons 4 and 5.
One of the series' more unusual episodes was 1960's "The Silent Caper," written by Smith. As the title suggests, the episode presented its story completely without dialogue. Another offbeat entry was 1961's "Reserved for Mr. Bailey," which finds Zimbalist alone in a ghost town. He is the only main actor on screen for the entire hour. (This episode was not included in the syndication package, and many fans had expressed their frustration at being unable to see it again. After 56 years out of circulation, it finally resurfaced on MeTV on June 17, 2017.)
The show was so popular that rising young actors clamored for guest spots. Up-and-comers who made guest appearances include: Ellen Burstyn, Roger Moore, DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Mary Tyler Moore, Shirley MacLaine look-alike Gigi Verone, Robert Conrad, Dyan Cannon, Janet De Gore, Jay North, Connie Stevens, Irish McCalla, Adam West, Tuesday Weld, Sherry Jackson, Marlo Thomas, Max Baer Jr., Carole Mathews, Elizabeth Montgomery, Karen Steele, Randy Stuart, Susan Oliver, Robert Vaughn, Suzanne Storrs, Peter Breck, Donna Douglas, Troy Donahue, Chad Everett, Gena Rowlands, Cloris Leachman, Eve McVeagh, and Diane Ladd. Established film and TV actors and older stars who guest-starred include Fay Wray, Francis X. Bushman, Rodolfo Hoyos Jr., Ida Lupino, Liliane Montevecchi, Keenan Wynn, Rolfe Sedan, Jim Backus, Billie Burke, Buddy Ebsen, George Jessel, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Burgess Meredith, Nick Adams, Gerald Mohr and Roy Roberts, among others. The show occasionally featured sports stars such as Sandy Koufax in guest roles.
In 1963, as the show's popularity waned, the entire cast was dismissed except for Zimbalist. Jack Webb was brought in as executive producer and William Conrad as a producer/director. The character of Stuart Bailey was presented as a solo private investigator, with no continuity or reference to his past years with Jeff Spencer, Suzanne, Kookie and Roscoe or to his military OSS background. It was an abrupt, unexplained disconnect. The series and Bailey's personality took on a darker tone, and the familiar office, parking lot and Dino's Lodge were gone. A new musical theme was written by Bob Thompson.
The Season 6 show title was not changed; it still was an address, but Bailey's new office is dramatically different from that which he shared with Spencer for the previous five years. The interior of Bailey's new office building is shown behind the show's opening and closing credits, forcing viewers to ponder how the same address could look so very different (it was actually the historic Bradbury building in downtown Los Angeles). There seemed to be no spoken mention of his office address in the Season 6 shows, although in the episode "Bonus Baby" when a police officer inspects Bailey's private investigator license, a close-up shows the address "77 Sunset Strip."
As the season progressed, there were some shifts in tone. Several episodes into the season, Bailey's stern personality became lighter, though still different from that of prior seasons. His secretary Hannah, previously known to Season 6 viewers only because Bailey addressed her in his recorded dictations, was seen on screen beginning with the season's 11th episode. Played by Joan Staley, Hannah worked in Bailey's office, where he developed a romantic interest in her—but she continually stymied and frustrated him by playing hard-to-get. As of episode "Alimony League" (the 16th of the season's 20 episodes), the opening and closing background of Bradbury building was gone, replaced by Bailey in silhouette walking past lighted store windows. This was actually a scene from "5" (the sixth-season opener) and it was supposedly located in New York City where Bailey arrived to work for a client to "pay his dead brother's way into heaven."
The episode "The Target" was unusual because key roles were played by the show's primary behind-the-scenes crew, who happened to also be experienced actors. Show producer William Conrad played Maestrian, associate producer James Lydon played Charlie, writer Tony Barrett played Carnovan and director Lawrence Dobkin played Landers.
Viewers did not appreciate the numerous changes to the show, and it was canceled halfway through its sixth season in February 1964.In the 1964 summer reruns period, shows from the Bailey and Spencer years were shown, and the Season 6 episodes were abandoned, rarely seen until September 2017 on MeTV.
NOTE: The most frequent time slot for the series is in bold text.
The success of 77 Sunset Strip led to the creation of several other detective shows in exotic locales, all produced by the Warner Bros. studio, which created Strip — Bourbon Street Beat in New Orleans with Richard Long and Andrew Duggan, Hawaiian Eye in Honolulu with Robert Conrad and Connie Stevens, and Surfside 6 in Miami Beach with Troy Donahue and Van Williams. The casts and scripts of these various shows sometimes crossed over, which was logistically easy, since they were all shot in Burbank on the Warner Bros. lot.[ citation needed ] Some of the detectives, played by the same actors, became regulars in other series after their original series had been cancelled.
The office and bar/nightclub sets of 77 Sunset Strip and Hawaiian Eye were on the same WB soundstage, intertwined to save space, with shared room walls and some doors actually going between the sets (not obvious to viewers).
Currently, only an engraving in the Sunset Boulevard sidewalk (address number 8524) between La Cienega Boulevard and Alta Loma Road commemorates 77 Sunset Strip, and the area is slated for redevelopment as part of the Sunset Millennium project.In a twist of fate, the opposition to the redevelopment of the area is known as "Save Our Strip" or "SOS" and is spearheaded by former 77 Sunset Strip semiregular Gigi Verone. No number 77 exists on the Strip, as all Sunset Boulevard addresses in the area have four digits.
The show was referenced in an episode of Jay Ward's Fractured Flickers , showing a satirical depiction of Ward looking at a lineup of fictional shows, one of them being "77 Gaza Strip."
Episodes of the television series can be seen in reruns through syndication packages offered by Warner Bros. Studios. At one time, 43 episodes had been removed from syndication for various legal reasons, but 13 of these can now be seen as reruns. As of 2017, the syndication package aired on Me-TV contained every original episode.
Thirty-one years after the series left the air, Warner Bros. proposed a modern revival of 77 Sunset Strip, which was to be the first hour-long drama series to air on the new WB Television Network. It was to be produced by Clint Eastwood and starred Jim Caviezel, Timothy Olyphant and Maria Bello.A 25-minute pilot presentation was shot for upfronts in the spring of 1995, but despite a few attempts to modify and finalize it for broadcast in 1995–1996, the project never made it past the testing stage. Early mentions of the show were made in the network's fall affiliate presentation promotion, with the 77 Sunset Strip logo visible in the movie backlot motif.
John Randolph Webb was an American actor, television producer, director, and screenwriter, who is most famous for his role as Sgt. Joe Friday in the Dragnet franchise. He was also the founder of his own production company, Mark VII Limited.
Connie Stevens is an American actress, director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor and singer. Born in Brooklyn, New York City to musician parents, Stevens was raised there until age 12, when she was sent to live with family friends in rural Missouri after she witnessed a murder in the city. In 1953, at age 15, Stevens relocated with her father to Los Angeles, California.
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. was an American actor known for his starring roles in the television series 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I. He is also known as recurring character "Dandy Jim Buckley" in the series Maverick and as the voice behind the character Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series and associated spin-offs, part of the DC Animated Universe. He also voiced Doctor Octopus in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series and the 2000 PC, Dreamcast and PlayStation Spider-Man action-adventure video game, and Justin Hammer from the second season of the 1994 Iron Man animated series.
Bourbon Street Beat is a private detective television series that aired on the ABC network from October 5, 1959, to July 4, 1960, starring Richard Long as Rex Randolph and Andrew Duggan as Cal Calhoun, with Arlene Howell as detective agency secretary Melody Lee Mercer and Van Williams as Kenny Madison.
Richard McCord Long was an American actor best known for his leading roles in three ABC television series, including The Big Valley, Nanny and the Professor, and Bourbon Street Beat. He was also a series regular on ABC's 77 Sunset Strip during the 1961–1962 season.
Warner Bros. Television Studios is the television production and distribution arm owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia. Alongside ViacomCBS' television arm CBS Studios, it serves as a television production arm of The CW, though it also produces shows for other networks, such as Shameless on Showtime. As of 2015, it is one of the world's two largest television production companies measured by revenue and library.
Hawaiian Eye is an American detective television series that ran from October 1959 to April 1963 on the ABC television network.
Edward Byrne Breitenberger, known professionally as Edd Byrnes, was an American actor, best known for his starring role in the television series 77 Sunset Strip. He also was featured in the 1978 film Grease as television teen-dance show host Vince Fontaine, and was a charting recording artist with "Kookie, Kookie ".
Roger LaVerne Smith was an American television and film actor, producer, and screenwriter. He starred in the television detective series 77 Sunset Strip and in the comedy series Mister Roberts. Smith went on to manage the career of Ann-Margret, his wife of 50 years.
Surfside 6 is an ABC television series which aired from 1960 to 1962. The show centered on a Miami Beach detective agency set on a houseboat and featured Troy Donahue as Sandy Winfield II; Van Williams as Kenny Madison ; and Lee Patterson as Dave Thorne. Diane McBain co-starred as socialite Daphne Dutton, whose yacht was berthed next to their houseboat. Spanish actress Margarita Sierra also had a supporting role as Cha Cha O'Brien, an entertainer who worked at the Boom Boom Room, a popular Miami Beach hangout at the Fontainebleau Hotel, directly across the street from Surfside 6.
The Alaskans is a 1959–1960 ABC/Warner Bros. western television series set during the late 1890s in the port of Skagway, Alaska. The show features Roger Moore as "Silky Harris" and Jeff York as "Reno McKee", a pair of adventurers intent on swindling travelers bound for the Yukon Territories during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. Their plans are inevitably complicated by the presence of singer "Rocky Shaw", "an entertainer with a taste for the finer things in life".
Joanie Sommers is an American singer and actress with a career concentrating on jazz, standards and popular material and show-business credits. Once billed as "The Voice of the Sixties", and associated with top-notch arrangers, songwriters and producers, Sommers' popular reputation became closely tied to her biggest, yet most uncharacteristic, hit song, "Johnny Get Angry".
Girl on the Run is a 1958 private detective film starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Erin O'Brien, Shepperd Strudwick, Edd Byrnes, and Barton MacLane.
Diane McBain is an American actress who, as a Warner Brothers contract player, reached a brief peak of popularity during the early 1960s. She is best known for playing an adventurous socialite in the 1960–1962 TV series Surfside 6 and as one of Elvis Presley's leading ladies in 1966's Spinout.
Don Ralke was an American music arranger, composer, and record producer, working for four decades in the Hollywood studio system in films, television, and pop recordings. He was born on July 13, 1920 in Battle Creek, Michigan. Ralke died on January 26, 2000 in Santa Rosa, California.
William T. Orr was an American actor and television producer associated with various Western and detective programs of the 1950s-1970s. In most of his Warner Bros. series, he was billed as "Wm. T. Orr." Orr began his career as an actor; his film credits included The Mortal Storm, The Gay Sisters, and The Big Street.
Yellowstone Kelly is a 1959 American Western film based upon a novel by Heck Allen with a screenplay by Burt Kennedy starring Clint Walker as Luther Sage "Yellowstone" Kelly, and directed by Gordon Douglas. The film was originally supposed to be directed by John Ford with John Wayne in the Clint Walker role but Ford and Wayne opted to make The Horse Soldiers instead.
I Love Trouble is a 1948 American film noir crime film written by Roy Huggins from his first novel The Double Take, directed by S. Sylvan Simon, and starring Franchot Tone as Stuart Bailey. The character of Stuart Bailey was later portrayed by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. in the television series 77 Sunset Strip.
"Kookie, Kookie " is a song written by Irving Taylor and performed by Edward Byrnes and Connie Stevens. The single was produced by Karl Engemann and arranged by Don Ralke, and was featured on Byrnes' 1959 album, Kookie Star of "77 Sunset Strip".
Being the little brother to world famous motorcycles, the Harley Topper could never live up to that rebel image, even with Kookie from 77 Sunset Strip pushing the putt-putts with ad copy like "Kookie, where's your Topper?"
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