- 77 Sunset Strip
show_name = 77 Sunset Strip
caption = Roger Smith,
Edd Byrnesand Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.of " 77 Sunset Strip" on 1959 soundtrack album
runtime = 60 minutes
creator = based on the novel
"The Double Take"
and other Stuart Bailey
Roy Hugginscite web|url=http://www.thrillingdetective.com/bailey.html|title=Stuart Bailey|author=Kevin Burton Smith|publisher=Thrilling Detective|accessdate=2007-08-11]
William T. Orr Jack Webb
Howie Horwitz Harry Tatelman William Conrad Jerry Davis Fenton Earnshaw Joel Rogosin
Max Steiner Jack Halloran"arranger"
Mack Davidand Jerry Livingston
list_episodes=List of 77 Sunset Strip episodes
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Edd Byrnes Louis Quinn Jacqueline Beer
country = USA
picture_format=1.33 : 1
network = ABC
October 10, 1958
February 7, 1964
preceded_by=an episode of "Conflict"
called "Anything for Money"
Bourbon Street Beat"
num_episodes = 206
"77 Sunset Strip" is the first hour-length private detective series in
American televisionhistory. It was also the first in a series of ABC clones that included " Bourbon Street Beat", " Hawaiian Eye" and " Surfside 6"—all of which were eventually revealed to share the same fictional universe.
It is further notable for being the subject of an ownership battle between
Roy Hugginsand Warner Brothers, which was the proximate cause of Huggins' departure from the studio. It was actually based on novels and short stories written by Huggins prior to his arrival at Warner, but, as a matter of legal record, derived from a brief Caribbeantheatrical release of its pilot, " Girl on the Run". The show ran from 1958to 1964and won the 1960 Golden Globe Award for best TV series.
The series revolved around two
Los Angelesdetectives, both former government secret agents: Stuart ("Stu") Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist Jr., playing a character that Huggins had created in his 1946 novel "The Double Take", which he later adapted into the 1948 movie " I Love Trouble") and Jeff Spencer ( Roger Smith). Spencer was also a former government agent, and a non-practicing attorney. They worked out of swank digs at 77 Sunset Strip, between La Cienega Boulevardand Alta Loma Roadon the south side of the Strip next door to Dean Martin's real-life lounge, Dino's. Suzanne, the beautiful French switchboard operator played by Jacqueline Beer, handled the phones.
Hanging around for comic relief were Roscoe the
racetracktout played by Louis Quinn, and the rock and roll-loving, wisecracking, hair-combing, hipster, P.I. wanna-be, valet parkingattendant next door, Gerald Lloyd Kookson III ("Kookie"), played by Edd Byrnes. Comb sales soared. So much for Huggins' hopes for a straight P.I. series. Hard-boiled drama was out and occasionally self-deprecating humor was common. Many of the episodes were named "capers". The catchy theme song, written by the accomplished team of Mack Davidand Jerry Livingston, typified the show's breezy, jazzed atmosphere. The song became the centerpiece of an [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&token=&sql=10:fvfwxqu5ldae album] of the show's music in Warren Barker-led orchestrations, which was released in 1959.
The Edd Byrnes character Kookie became a cultural phenomenon, with his
slangexpressions such as "ginchy" and "piling up Zs" (sleeping). When Kookie helped the detectives on a case by singing a song, Edd Byrnes began a singing career with "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb" (based on his frequent combing of his hair). When his demands for more money were not met, Byrnes left the show, but he came back as a full-fledged partner in the detective firm in May 1960; in 1961, Robert Loganbecame the new parking lot attendant, J.R. Hale, who usually spoke in abbreviations. In 1960, Richard Long moved from the recently canceled detective series " Bourbon Street Beat" with his role of Rex Randolph, but he left the program in 1962.
The show's popularity was such that rising young actors clamored for a guest spot. Up-and-comers who made guest appearances included
William Shatner, Mary Tyler Moore, Shirley MacLainelook-alike [http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=sbc-web&tab=&p=%22gigi+verone%22/ Gigi Verone] , Robert Conrad, Dyan Cannon, Jay North, Connie Stevens, Adam West, Tuesday Weld, James Garner, Marlo Thomas, Max Baer, Jr., Elizabeth Montgomery, Karen Steele, DeForest Kelley, Susan Oliver, Peter Breck, Roger Moore, Donna Douglas, Troy Donahue, Ellen Burstyn, Chad Everett, Gena Rowlands, and Diane Ladd. Even established film and TV actors plus older stars guested as well, including Fay Wray, Francis X. Bushman, Liliane Montevecchi, Keenan Wynn, Ida Lupino, Rolfe Sedan, Jim Backus, Billie Burke, Buddy Ebsen, George Jessel, Peter Lorre, Burgess Meredith, Nick Adams, and Roy Roberts, amongst others. The show was so "cool" that even sports stars such as Sandy Koufaxhad a guest role in an episode.
1963, as the show's popularity waned, the entire cast except for Zimbalist was let go. Jack Webbwas brought in as executive producerand William Conradas director. The character of Stuart Bailey became a globe-hopping investigator, with lavish international sets. The show was canceled at the end of the year.
pinoffs and legacy
The success of "77 Sunset Strip" led to the creation of several other detective shows in exotic locales, all produced by the Warner Brothers studio which created "Strip" — "
Bourbon Street Beat" in New Orleans, " Hawaiian Eye" in Hawaiiand " Surfside 6" in Miami. The casts (not to mention the scripts) of the various shows sometimes crossed to the other programs, which was logistically easy since they were all actually shot in Hollywood on the Warner Bros. lot.
Currently, there is only a mere engraving in the sidewalk commemorating "77 Sunset Strip" between
La Cienega& Alta Loma Roadand the area is slated for re-development as part of " [http://www.sunsetmillennium.com/ 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 spear-headed by former "77 Sunset Strip" semi-regular [http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=sbc-web&tab=&p=%22gigi+verone%22/ Gigi Verone] . There is no number 77 on the Strip, as all Sunset Boulevard addresses in the area have four digits. Edd Byrneswrote an autobiographytitled "Kookie, No More." He autographs copies of the book for fans at conventions. Byrnes is a scheduled guest for the September 2008 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Conventionin Maryland. A retrospective about the television series "77 Sunset Strip" is planned. Byrnes in scheduled to talk on stage about working for Warner Bros. and his role as Kookie.
Episodes of the television series can be seen in reruns, courtesy of syndication packages offered through Warner Bros. Studios. A total of 43 episodes have been (at one time) removed from syndication for various legal reasons. All but 13 can now be seen in reruns.
List of 77 Sunset Strip episodes
*imdb title|title=Girl on the Run|id=0051661
*imdb title|title=77 Sunset Strip|id=0051247
* [http://www.thrillingdetective.com/77sunset.html "77 Sunset Strip" at Thrilling Detective]
* [http://www.tv.com/77-sunset-strip/show/2282/summary.html "77 Sunset Strip"] at
* [http://www.tvparty.com/77.html "77 Sunset Strip" at TVparty.com]
* [http://www.goodtv.com/programs.php?programid=ST 77 Sunset Strip] at
AmericanLife TV Networkwebsite
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6229765142472313878&q=Roy+Huggins&total=20&start=10&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=5 Roy Huggins' Archive of American Television Interview]
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