77 Sunset Strip (TV Series 1958–1964) Poster


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Coolest Of The Cool!
dencar_18 May 2005
77 SUNSET STRIP was so cool that the breeze from the show could air condition your living room every Friday night from 1958--1964. This series had it all: two cool private detectives, gumshoe intrigue against the backdrop of Hollywood environs, a bee-bop-speaking parking lot attendant who became an overnight teen sensation, and not to be forgotten---one of the sexiest musical scores ever.

Whether 77 SUNSET STRIP was the best all-around private-eye series on television might be debatable, but what can't be debated is the hipness the series delivered to its loyal fans once a week. The formula wasn't rocket science: a damsel in distress who turned out to be fashioning grand larceny, a ten-cents-a-dance ballroom where a maniac slipped beautiful girls a mickey, a run-a-way beauty with a millionaire grandpa.

Effrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Stuart Baily) and Roger Smith (Jeff Spencer) were the two suave PI's who ran the Sunset Strip detective agency. Zimbalist was the more cerebral of the pair; Smith was the unabashed playboy who never saw a pair of shapely legs he didn't like. Then, to top it off, Ed "Kookie" Byrnes stunned Warner Brothers executives when he became a teen sensation as the hip parking lot attendant who combed his locks and called everybody "Daddy-O." When Byrnes recorded KOOKIE, LEND ME YOUR COMB with Connie Stevens, his place among teen-heart-throbs was cinched. In fact, his fame catapulted the ratings so dramatically, he was finally promoted to private investigator with his own office. There was the sexy French receptionist Suzzanne (Jackqueline Beer) and Roscoe (Louis Quinn), the part-time gopher and race track addict who supplied comic relief. And if all this wasn't enough, just across the parking lot there was swinging Dino's-- Dean Martin's real life watering hole where the Frankie Ortega jazz trio pounded out tunes like "I Get A Kick Out Of You."

Sadly, in the final years of the series, Roger Smith developed brain disease and was replaced by Richard Long. SUNSET STRIP was never the same after that. Moreover, it didn't seem right to see a suddenly mature "Kookie" sitting at a desk in a three-piece suit replaced by Robert Logan who was now parking the cars. The show went off the air in 1964 after seven seasons.

While many of the episodes are available on tape and DVD, it is hard to understand why 77 SUNSET STRIP is not shown more often on nostalgic television. For it's fan base remains solid and it is one of the most watchable of the older detective shows. PETER GUNN, RICHARD DIAMOND, and BOURBON STREET BEAT may have been solid competitors, but if you place them side by side, it's not really a contest. Has any other show ever compared to the cool temperatures of 77 SUNSET STRIP? As Kookie would say: "It's really the ginchiest..."

Trivia: It is rather remarkable to consider the impressive pantheon of Warner Brothers successful television series in the 1950's: MAVERICK, CHEYENNE, SUGARFOOT, HAWAIIAN EYE, SURFSIDE SIX, BOURBON STREET BEAT, COLT 45, LARAMIE--all had strong ratings in the 1950's and early 1960's....Moreover, it has often been said that when it came to the movies, WARNER BROTHERS owned the detective genre (Cagney, Bogart, Robinson); and MGM owned fantasy (Astaire, Kelly, Garland). Apparently, this was also true of television where WARNER BROTHERS invested heavily in westerns and detective shows....After Roger Smith developed a brain disorder and left the show, he later developed MLS! But he appears to be doing well today. He married actress Ann Margaret many years ago and when he retired from acting, managed her career...Effrem Zimbalist, Jr. went on to play Inspector Erskine in THE F.B.I. series in the early 1970's...Jacqueline Beer, who played the sexy 77 SUNSET STRIP office receptionist, was Miss France, 1954, and married explorer Thor Hyerdahl...As for Kookie (Ed Byrnes): his late '50's recording of KOOKIE, LEND ME YOUR COMB with Connie Stevens resulted in some 15,000 fan letters a week to Warner Bros....During the height of the series, Byrnes had a serious studio contract dispute with Warner Bros. who refused to allow the actor to do outside films such as Rio Bravo with John Wayne. But the dispute was settled and Byrnes re-appeared in the series as an investigator, not a parking lot attendant. Ratings, however, nosedived and it wasn't long before the series tanked....Byrnes also had a rather severe bout with drug addiction which he describes in an autobiography...Dino's nightclub, just across the parking lot from 77 SUNSET STRIP, was very real and was owned by Dean Martin for years...But there was never really a marquee reading 77 SUNSET STRIP in the way the series portrayed: the interior shots were all filmed at WARNER BROTHERS. In fact, if you pass by 8524 Sunset Blvd. today and look in front of the doorway of the building there now, you'll see a plaque stating that it was once the site for 77 SUNSET STRIP, filmed from 1958--1964....

Dennis Caracciolo
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The Longest Running of the Warner Brothers produced detective shows
rcj536511 February 2005
"77 SUNSET STRIP"-A Detective Drama produced by Warner Bors. for ABC-TV First Telecast: October 10,1958. Last Telecast: September 9, 1964

THEME: "77 Sunset Strip" by Mack David and Jerry Livingston

77 Sunset Strip was the prototype for a rash of glamorous private-detective teams in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Half the team was Stu Bailey(Efrem Zimbalist,Jr.),a suave,cultured former OSS officer who was an expert in languages. An Ivy League Ph.D.,he had intended to become a college professor but turned private investigator instead. The other half was Jeff Spencer(Roger Smith),also a former government undercover agent,who had a degree in law. Both of them were judo experts. They worked out of an office at No. 77 Sunset Strip,in Hollywood California.Though their cases took them to glamour spots all over the world.

Next door to No. 77 was Dino's,a posh restaurant whose maitre d,Mario was seen occasionally in the series. Seen often was Dino's parking lot attendant,a gangling,jive-talking youth named Kookie(Edd Byrnes),who longed to be a private detective himself and who often helped Stu and Jeff on their cases. Kookie provided comic relief for the series,and his "Kookie-isms" became a trademark. Other regulars included Roscoe the racetrack tout(Louis Quinn)and Suzanne(Jacqueline Beer),the beautiful French switchboard operator. But it was Edd Byrnes' character of Kookie who caught the public's fancy and propelled the show into the top ten. In the first telecast of the 1959-1960 season he helped Stu Bailey catch a jewel thief by staging a revue,in which he sang a novelty song called,"Kookie,Kookie,Lend Me Your Comb". The song was released on record as a duet between Byrnes and Connie Stevens(who also starred on another Warner Bros. detective series,"Hawaiian Eye",which was on the same network),became a smash hit making Byrnes' character of Kookie,the "Fonzie" of his day,making him a very popular celebrity.

Unsatisfied with his secondary role in the show,the young actor demanded a bigger part and eventually walked out. Warner Bors. first replaced him with Troy Donahue(of "Surfside Six")as a long-haired bookworm,about as far from the Kookie character as you could get. But Byrnes came back a few months later and was promoted to a full-fledged partner in the detective firm at the start of the 1961-1962 season. His permanent replacement at the parking lot was J.R. Hale(Robert Logan). Previously for a single season,Rex Randolph(Richard Long)had been seen as the third partner in the firm. Kookie was not the only one who tried paralaying the show's success into a hit record. The fingersnapping theme music from the series was into a best-selling album.

By 1963 the novelty had worn off,and the show was in decline. In an attempt to save it,Jack Webb was brought in as producer,and William Conrad as director and drastic changes were made. This was at the start of the 1963-1964 season,which was the final season for the series. The entire cast was dropped with the exception of Efrem Zimbalist,Jr.,who became a free-lance investigator traveling around the world on cases. Lavish production values were featured. The final season of the series opened with a five part chase thriller featuring two dozen big-named guest stars and written by eight top writers. The rest of the season was spend on the road as well,with Stu Bailey requiring a permanent secretary named Hannah(Joan Staley)didn't help. On September 9, 1964,the series "77 Sunset Strip" came to an end after six seasons on ABC-TV. This was the longest running of the Warner Brothers produced detective shows that came during the late 1950's and ended toward the early 1960's. This one outlasted them all.
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It influenced my life!
Jacquline5 February 2000
As an English prepubescent girl in the early 1960s I loved all American TV series and my favourite was 77 Sunset Strip. Unlike my friends who swooned over Edd Byrnes I loved the suave Roger Smith with the lovely smile. He has made a lasting impression on my life. If I remember correctly, in the series he used to wear his watch with the face on the inside of his wrist. I adopted this curious habit and have worn my watch this way ever since. I would love to see the series again. Sadly, I read recently that Roger Smith is suffering from a disabling disease and is looked after by his wife Ann Margaret.
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The Warner Brother's Detective Shows
schappe11 March 2002
This was one of four detective shows from Warner Brothers, four of a couple dozen series they did for ABC, (that MADE that network), from the mid 50's to the early 60's under the stewardship of William Orr and with the creative genius of Roy Huggins, (who later came up with the best show of all time, "The Fugitive"). Huggins had fancied himself a detective writer in the 40's and came up with Stuart Bailey, an Ivy Leaguer with a background in World War II intelligence who set up his own detective agency in Los Angeles. When Huggins became a story editor for Warners, it was decided to create a show around the Bailey character, 77 Sunset Strip, which debut in 1958. They gave Bailey a partner, Jeff Spencer and created the character of Kookie, the parking lot attendant, for comic relief. It set the stage for the other three, similar shows, each with a pair, (or three) handsome detectives operating in glamorous or exotic locations. Warner's learned you needed a pretty girl involved and the comic relief. they also learned from "Peter Gunn" that a musical interlude would occasionally be welcome.

"Bourbon Street Beat", set in New Orleans, debuted in 1959. So did "Hawaiian Eye", from Honolulu and in 1960 came "Surfside Six" from Miami Beach. Each had a catchy theme tune from Mack David and Jerry Livingstone. The plots were not very inspired but serviceable, (they serviced many episodes, being frequently reused). Sometimes, Warner's would do versions of novels they owned the rights to or TV remakes of some of their classic movies of the past, such as "Strangers on a Train" or "Dial M for Murder", in the guise of episodes of these shows. Characters from one show would show up on another, either in crossover episodes or full scale transfers of characters to be new members of the casts. This was easy because the shows were not shot on location: it was all done in LA.

The real difference in the shows were the cast members themselves. "77 Sunset Strip" had the charming and talented Ephram Zimbalist Jr. and Roger Smith. It also had the "Fonzie" of the 50's, Edd Byrnes. But it lacked a significant female regular or the musical interludes. "Bourbon Street Beat" had the charming and talented Richard Long, who took his charm and talent to Sunset Strip after BSB folded in 1960. It also had craggy character actor Andrew Duggan, young pretty boy Van Williams and Arlene Howell, a slightly ditzy southern belle. No one here was musically inclined but a jazz combo did a turn from time to time. "Hawaiian Eye" had it all. Anthony Eisley was a competent but slightly boring lead. Young Robert Konrad had the most charisma of any of them. Connie Stevens was a cute songbird who belted out the classic tin pan alley and show tunes. Poncie Ponce was a ukulele strumming cab driver who knew every place and every one or had a cousin who did. "Surfside Six" was maybe the weakest entry. Lee Patterson had some presence and acting ability but Van Williams, (over from BSB) and Troy Donahue were attractive but talent challenged. Marguerite Sierra was a clichéd Latin Spitfire songstress, (who unfortunately died young of a heart ailment). Diane McBain was attractive window dressing.

The other main difference was the setting. "77 Sunset Strip" was about glamorous people up to no good or international intrigue, (and Stu Bailey traveled a lot more than these other guys did). "Hawaiian Eye" was exotic- perhaps a little too much so with an occasional embarrassing story about witch doctors and voodoo type curses and such. Natives were played by guys from Jersey and Chicago in the grand tradition. Surfside Six had a beachboy look to it. Bourbon Street beat was darker and more mysterious. New Orleans at that time was not a tourist trap but a relic of the old south in which Miss Havisham's cake might have seemed at home.

But they were all pretty solid entertainment. If you liked one, I'm sure you'd like them all- if you could find them. They are all in black and white, so cable stations are loathe to show them It seems that the moment a younger audience sees those monotones, they turn the stations. It's too bad. They don't know what they're missing.
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Still Stands Up
edward-cobb7 August 2005
With the advent of the DVR, this show - which I loved as a kid - has once again become a staple of my TV viewing. To my mind, it has aged well and still stands up after all these years.

The show had good stories and tried to have something for everyone - it's TV after all - and not take itself too seriously. Kookie was there for the kids and, along with Roscoe, brought colorful comic relief. In one episode, Spencer arrives in Hong Kong and passes a rickshaw-hop (Byrnes in mufti) running a comb through his hair. It was a fun show! And the West Coast jazz they played at Dino's was very hip and still sounds great.

But at the heart of the show were Bailey and Spencer and the cases they solved. And these remain on a par with the best of episodic TV. The two characters work, the scripts are fairly thoughtful and bring in good characters. Zimbalist and Smith were spot on. Terrific TV.
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Hallelujah! 77 SUNSET STRIP On GoodLife Channel!
dtb12 January 2002
I thoroughly agree with everybody who loves 77 SUNSET STRIP, the detective show that was hip and jazzy long before shows like Miami VICE and 24 came along! I used to live in NYC, so like you, I'd been longing to see this and/or the other Warner Bros. 1950s/'60s detective shows back on TV. But when my family and I moved to Pennsylvania last fall, we were in for a swell surprise: on Saturday nights, the GoodLife TV Network -- usually a religious channel, of all things -- shows all these series under the umbrella title "The Private Eyes"! At 8 PM the evening kicks off with BOURBON STREET BEAT (my fave next to 77 SUNSET STRIP -- the New Orleans-set series was greatly underrated, IMO), then 77 SUNSET STRIP at 9 PM, HAWAIIAN EYE at 10 PM (young Robert Conrad and Connie Stevens -- yum!), then the night winds up with SURFSIDE SIX at 11 PM (formulaic but fun, even if it's got the weakest theme song of this quartet :-). The GoodLife TV Network is on the Service Electric cable system in our area, so if you or a friend have access to this, set the timer on your VCR for Saturday night! (And if you liked the '50s/'60s Warner Bros. Westerns, too, you can see them on Sunday night!) UPDATE FOR 2006: As of this writing, The GoodLife Channel has since been renamed American Life TV, the block of detective shows is now shown twice on Monday nights, and the revolving lineup now includes the late, great David Janssen's detective series HARRY O (some weeks they show BOURBON STREET BEAT, some weeks they show SURFSIDE SIX, but the detective show lineup always includes 77 SUNSET STRIP and HARRY O).
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The essence of cool
RNMorton4 July 2007
I was about 8 years old when this went off the air and adult TV series were just starting to come up on my little radar screen. I have no recollection of ever watching this private detective show until I caught it on the American Life channel (before it turned into the Combat! Channel and this along with many other fine shows disappeared). I knew nothing about the show but somehow knew about Edd Byrnes/"Kookie".

This show rocks! It is early American television at its best. Now I've only seen about 3 episodes but they are just so damn good. One, starring a very talented Bert Convey, spent almost the entire show on the guest actors, in fact Efrem didn't appear until about two-thirds of the way through and was seen sparingly after that. In another episode Efrem dramatically freed Americans in East Berlin and Smith was barely seen. Wouldn't ever see that sort of flexibility in story-telling on a series today. Some of the plot elements are overdone, cheesy and/or unbelievable, but that just adds to the camp factor.

The two leads are great and play well off each other in super cool fashion, while Byrnes earns his rep as their sometimes assistant. Great stuff, wish it still appeared somewhere on the digital dial.
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Quality TV to grow up on
Gus-4122 April 2005
The transition for large screen to small was still unlearned when "77" was released. Playhouse 90, Live From Carnegie Hall and network sponsored orchestras were still in vogue - serious TV with a performing arts feel. Note the cinema feel to this series. It was filmed, not video taped.

I enjoyed this show as a child as it was intelligent mystery/drama. It was done before secret agents. It required the private investigators to be resourceful. They were alway honest. Just the stuff a boy scout like me needed to round out his masculinity. Stuart Bailey was the smart guy. Older and no-nonsense. Jeff Spencer was the cute guy. And Kookie, well, the only thing good about Kookie were the cars he drove.

Good stuff.
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Release it on DVD
bcjj18 March 2006
Several episodes of 77 Sunset Strip and Hawiian Eye were shown late at night/early morning on channel 9 in Australia several years ago, and they was fantastic. It appeared briefly on cable TV but is this is only geared for the post 1970 generation they did not last long and were taken off. Gee cable is rubbish. I use to watch 77 Sunset Strip and its clones regularly in the late 50's & 60's. 77 Sunset Strip still stands up today even though or because it is black and white. I cannot understand why Warners don't release these old shows on double sided DVD's and sell them as boxed sets at a reasonable price like several companies have done with old black & white movies. 77 Sunset Strip & its pilot "Girl on the Run" would fit onto 10 or 11 double sided DVD's. There would be some money it for Warners, and if they wait too long people like me won't be around to buy and appreciate these shows. Also what about CHEYENNE, Surfside Six, Bronco, Adventures in Pardise, Sugarfoot etc. Maybe the independents could bring out the old westerns and cop & private eye shows right back to the beginning of the 50's.
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A Couple of Hip Private Eyes
bkoganbing1 July 2008
Although at the time it was on the air 77 Sunset Strip was primarily known as the vehicle that launched Edd Byrnes into short lived teen idol stardom. Looking back however 77 Sunset Strip set a pattern of Warner Brothers television detectives, it spun so many copycat shows.

At 77 Sunset Boulevard was quartered the private detective firm of Bailey and Spencer. Stu Bailey and Jeff Spencer were played by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Roger Smith. These two guys did not take their detectives cues from rumpled private eyes like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. With their stylish clothes and hipster rat pack style dialog, Zimbalist and Smith were the new style private eyes for the Fifties.

These guys were good, but what really made the show a success was the presence of Edd Byrnes playing one Gerald Lloyd Kookson, III AKA Kookie. Second to Elvis Presley, Byrnes was the first teen idol I was cognizant of in my youth. He talked as hip as Zimbalist and Smith and he had the most carefully groomed hair on television. Kookie was never without his comb and in fact he and the comb spawned a hit record of the time, Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb. In fact his character name became a slang term for strange, still used among folks in my age bracket. Byrnes was a parking lot attendant and he was always getting vehicles for the stars.

Eventually the guys actually made Kookie a detective in the firm and a new teen idol Robert Logan was hired as J.R. Logan however never took off the way Kookie did.

There is one constant in show business. If something succeeds, copy it to death. Warner Brothers put out Surfside Six, Hawaiian Eye, Bourbon Street Beat and a few others as did other producers trying to imitate them. During the late Eisenhower and Kennedy years, television was inundated with hip private eyes. None of them had the success of the original. Zimbalist and Smith guest starred on some of these other shows and they in turn had visiting detectives as well. In fact Richard Long who co-starred in Bourbon Street Beat after that show was canceled, Long and his character Rex Randolph moved from New Orleans to Los Angeles to get taken into the Bailey-Spencer firm.

After five seasons ABC canceled 77 Sunset Strip. Roger Smith was developing the health problems that forced him to leave acting and CBS picked up the show and promptly fired everyone else, except Zimbalist. From the hip Stu Bailey, Zimbalist became Stu the cynic. He was now an international secret agent and man of mystery.

The first five shows were appropriately entitled Five. It was possibly the first mini-series ever. Some 25 guest stars appeared in a five part show that was not bad in and of itself, but it certainly shocked those who expected what they were used to. 77 Sunset Strip didn't last long after that and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. joined The FBI next season.

Still as a pioneering show of sorts, 77 Sunset Strip has an honored place in TV Land memories.

By the way, the end of that Kookie song had Byrnes telling some girl she was the 'ginchiest'. To this day I don't know what that means.
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77 Sunset Strip
wsst-112 September 2007
Warner Brothers had a hit with this show. Efrem Zimblist Jr. was wonderful as Stu Bailey. Roger Smith played his partner Jeff. Edd Byrnes played Kookie. And for one season 1960-1961 a character was moved from one show to another. It was the first time this had ever happened. Rex Randolph played by Richard Long came on board and helped take some of the burden off of Stu. Although he didn't stay but one season and only appeared in eleven episodes including a two parter, Long was wonderful as Rex. He and Jeff seemed to always get into one mess after another when they worked together on a case. But they usually solved them. I look forward to this show being issued out on DVD someday. It is truly a classic.
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Great Detective Show didn't take itself too seriously
brb431125 September 2001
This was a wonderful show. Kookie and Roscoe gave it an added comic element. It also allowed for human effort. As I recall, even the secretary often gave ideas for solving cases.

I recall the caper where Roscoe, the horse player who always played hunches (and always lost) had to come up with all the winners for the day's races. After much effort he did so, but of course he did not bet on a single one.

I watch little TV any more but I tried out Remington Steele, because the daughter of Efriam Zimbalist, Jr.: Stephanie Zimbalist was cast as one of the leads. The two shows shared much similarity. They were both detective shows which really was only peripherally about solving cases. Mostly they were about relationships.

I'm guessing that all the film of these shows is not around any more or I think they would be shown as reruns. I would sure love to see some of these shows either on TV or bought on VHS tapes.
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The Perry Mason of Private Eye shows
vranger30 April 2009
This is another of the shows that I remembered enjoying as a kid, yet it was so long ago I couldn't remember the episodes or exactly why I liked it.

Then a few years ago American Life TV ran it for a while, and my wife and I viewed it religiously during the time it aired.

We enjoyed it every bit as much, actually more, than most current TV shows. The stories were crisp and made sense. The characters were personable, and the acting quite competent.

It made me wish that Roger Smith had not retired his own acting career to act as agent for his wife, Ann Margret.

If you see the series, watch for the episode written and directed by Roger Smith that has no dialog for the entire hour. So often he is 'about' to finally speak, keeping you on the edge of your chair with anticipation, then something happens that distracts him. LOL Brilliant and courageous episode for TV in ANY era.
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Stu Bailey, Jeff Spencer, Suzanne, Kookie and Roscoe Super-Sleuthing (and Loving It!) in 1950's LA-LA Land!
redryan6410 May 2008
This is a creation of the quite prolific Roy Huggins for Warner Brothers Television. Perhaps we could shorten this write-up, as well as so many others, simply by creating a list which would enumerate all of the Motion Pictures and TV Series which Mr. Huggins did NOT have a hand in creating. This man was simply prolific and, we presume, $ort of Wealthy.

We really mean this. In looking over Mr. Huggins' resume, we find it to be not only extensive, but also quit eclectic; having credits in many genre and multi-media. The Huggins Output includes Motion Picture Comedies: THE FULLER BRUSH MAN (Columbia, 1948) with Red Skelton and THE GOOD HUMOR MAN (Columbia, 1950) with Jack Carson as well as such varied TV Series as: MAVERICK (Warner Brothers TV/ABC, 1957-60) with James Garner (Bret) & Jack Kelly (Bart), 77 SUNSET STRIP (Warners/ABC, 1958-64) co-starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith & Edd Byrnes, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE (Roncom/Universal TV/National Broadcasting Company, 1965-68) with Ben Gazzara, THE FUGITIVE (Quinn Martin Prod./United Artists TV/American Broadcasting Company, 1963-67) Mr. Huggins' Pinnacle with David Jansen, THE OUTSIDER (Universal TV/NBC, 1968-69) with Darren McGavin, CITY OF ANGELS (Roy Huggins-Public Art Prod./Universal/NBC, 1976) with Wayne Rogers, THE ROCKFORD FILES (Cherokee/Roy Huggins-Public Art/Universal TV/NBC, 1974-80) which is right up there with FUGITIVE & starred Jim Garner and HUNTER (Stephen J. Cannell Prod./Lorimar/NBC Network, 1984-91) with Fred Dryer & Stephanie Kramer.

Additionally, when in-between projects, he contributed scripts to many an other series. So, here's the list-don't ask again! AS for 77 SUNSET STRIP, Mr. Huggins called upon his experience in mystery & hard-boiled detective Noir stories and novels to give Warner Brothers TV and we, the spoiled, pampered, oversexed, overpaid and under-appreciated Viewing Public a right now, happening and super-cool Private Detective show. Setting the show in Los Angeles; the creator disdained the obvious taking the sleazy route in favor of a couple of real "Class Guys" in Stu(art) Bailey (Mr. Zimbalist) and Jeff Spencer (Roger Smith). I mean these guys were smart William F. Buckley Jr., classy like Olivier but tough like Ralph Meeker.

IN giving the series a comic relief component, young co-star Eddy Byrnes was recruited to portray 'Kookie" a young (but not that young) as a concession to the Female Teenie Boppers and to give us a character to assist the big guns and thus keep that old storyline moving along..

Jacqueline Beer (love that surname!) appeared as "Fronch-speaking" secretary-receptionist, Suzanne and Louis Quinn as societal bottom feeder, Race Track hustler and first class informant, Roscoe! THE tone of the stories varied greatly from week to weekly episode. Some stories were deadly serious; whereas others were true Farce. Some scripts seemed to be strictly that; that is type of story that sort of marks time and operates like the menu in a Chinese restaurant. You know what we mean; two from column A, 1 from column B and before you know it, whah-lah, we have enough elements for a story.

The second type is very serious; sort of like a big time Film Noir Movie that failed. Certain aspects are damn near brutal, too violent for TV. Murders abound and the Private "I" always seems to find himself out in a sort of limbo between the sleaze of the underworld and the bright light world of the straight and narrow.

The third type is very similar to a typical MAVERICK Script in that it's all played for laughs; almost being a parody of the Detective Genre.

Whatever the variety that we were shown on a particular week, it was a sure-fire, lead-pipe cinch that the combination of plot, characters & their interaction and some of the Coolest (though now seemingly badly dated) Music all added up to a great Friday's evening of enjoyable TViewing. (TV + Viewing = TViewing. We suspect it'll make it into Webster's this year.) BUT, if there's one thing that is certain in Television, it is that once "The Suits" in the front office start to monkey around with what has been a successful series; it usually means that the show is nearing the end of its run. We're not certain if the declining series prompts the changes or if the changes hurt the ratings of the show; although we suspect that either scenario is likely to occur and indeed has.

IN its final season of 1963-64, the new Production Head of Warner Brothers' Television, old Sgt. Joe Friday (Himself!), Jack Webb decreed that two extreme changes should be implemented. First off, in order to attempt to ca$h in on the JAMES BOND Spy craze, Private Detective Stu Bailey (operating solo, without Jeff Spencer*), turned to international intrigue and espionage. Secondly, the story went to serialization. Though no Cliff Hanger Chapterplay type endings were employed, the stories continued from week to week. Also gone was any semblance of levity that had been a series hallmark for 77 SUNSET STRIP. The series left the air in February of 1964, pre-maturely cancelled.

Mr. Jack Webb was soon shown the door at Warner Brothers as well; in no small way being due to that botched experiment of Detectives to Spies switcharoo.

What with all of that adaption of old TV Series and Cartoon Shows into Live Action tidbits for the pleasure of a rapidly aging Baby Boomer Generation, we wonder if an adaptation of this great Detective Series can be far off! Whatta ya think, Schultz?

NOTE: * Roger Smith had to leave the series and indeed all acting abruptly. He was compelled to go into an early retirement due to serious illness. About 20 years had passed and in 1985, he was pronounced as being in full remission.

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77 Sunset Strip on American Life TV
rimdancer7516 May 2007
For those of you commenting on wanting to watch 77 Sunset Strip, Bourbon Street Beat, Hawaiian Eye, Surfside Six try the American Life TV Channel on Cable on Monday Nights. They usually start out with Harry O Episodes at 8:00, 77 Sunset Strip at 9:00, and then alternate the others at the 10:00 slot every week and then re-run the same episodes starting at 11:00 pm. As a huge fan of this genre of detective series, my DVD recorder memory is getting stuffed with all of these great series episodes. Also, this station runs Combat episodes on many nights as well as the Maverick series with James Garner and Jack Kelly (Another great series that is timeless). Enjoy!!!!!
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"strangers on a train", TV style
sanborneo5 June 2007
It didn't take long for me to realize the episode, "One False Step" was an adaption of "Strangers on a Train" by Patricia Highsmith, with eventual series' regular Richard Long guest-starring as a very convincingly smooth sociopath.

I particularly loved the POV shot of Long's character seeing himself reflected in his victims' eyeglasses: VERY Hitchcockian, and as far as a technical shot goes, above and beyond the call of '50's Television.

I also happened to notice Raymond Chandler got a co-writers' credit for this episode based on the Highsmith novel, & that led me to finding out he worked on the '51 screenplay for Hitchcock.
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Still the best on TV..
eddy191122 February 2006
I just move to a big house with a home theater, BIG TV, very comfortable leather recliners and perfect sound, all just to watch 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Surfside Six and Bourbon street Beat.

I am in heaven!! Where did they find all this handsome guys? and the cars!... the only character I do not like is the secretary in Bourbon St...I find her childish.

Thanks for cable TV.

I was just 4 years old the first time I remember seen 77 Sunset Strip and I still a fun of the program.

My favorite was Roger Smith and his suits and ties.

In Hawaiian Eye Conrad coming out the pool look so good that was imitated by me many, many times.

What ever happen to Cha Cha, Margarita Sierra?..she was fun too even if the songs sometimes where a bit too long.

Van Williams what a guy!...all of them, so well cast.
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Did any show ever have a better title or theme song?
Cheyenne-Bodie25 November 2006
Franchot Tone played private detective Stuart Bailey in the movie "I Love Trouble" (1948), which was based on a 1946 novel by Roy Huggins (the creator of "The Fugitive").

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. first played Stuart Bailey in a 1957 episode of "Conflict", a series produced by Roy Huggins ("Cheyenne", "Maverick"). Bailey is a low-rent guy who puts an add in the paper that says "Anything For Money", which would have been the title of the show.

Zimbalist wanted to be a movie star, and tried as hard as he could to get out of doing "77 Sunset Strip".

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. was the son of a world famous concert violinist. He dropped out of Yale and wound up a platoon leader during World War II. He was wounded in action. Zimbalist was a successful stage producer before becoming an actor. A classy guy, although perhaps a bit of a playboy as a young man.

Zimbalist projected great warmth, style and intelligence as Bailey. He was sort of a young Ronald Colman. Zimbalist was nominated for an Emmy the first season, as was Craig Stevens the same year for "Peter Gunn". Stuart Bailey was Zimbalist's greatest role.

Time Magazine did a cover story about the glut of private eyes on television in 1959. The story concluded that the best of the new faces playing private dicks were Craig Stevens ("Peter Gunn"), David Janssen ("Richard Diamond"), Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. ("Stuart Bailey"), Philip Carey ("Philip Marlowe") and Raymond Burr ("Perry Mason").

The character of Jeff Spencer was created to be Bailey's partner. I would have cast flashy Ray Danton ("Tarawa Beachhead", "Legs Diamond") as Spencer. Danton was insanely handsome and confident. He had a shark like aspect to his personality and a trace of neurotic self loathing. He was an intense, sometimes brilliant actor who was a clear sexual threat to any woman he encountered. Danton could have been a great match for the more mellow, humanistic Zimbalist.

Martin Scorecese and James Ellroy are just the guys to do justice to a movie remake of this classic series. If Ellroy isn't interested, Stuart Kaminsky ("Toby Peters") could nail it. The black and white movie should take place in the swinging early 1960's. Joe Dimaggio hires Bailey to investigate the death of Marilyn Monroe, his ex-wife. The trail leads Bailey to Peter Lawford, Elia Kazan, Tony Curtis, Billy Wilder, Arthur Miller, Howard Hughes, Bobby Kennedy and finally to President John Kennedy. Bailey and Spencer follow the trail wherever it leads, and to whoever. But Spencer is murdered, and Bailey is framed for it. Bailey is convicted and is awaiting execution. And then JFK is murdered. Bailey escapes from prison to prove his innocence and find the real killer.....

Who among current actors has the style to play Stuart Bailey as well as Zimbalist did? Maybe Tom Hanks. And Bruce Willis would be fine as Jeff Spencer. Successful movies have been made of two series created by Roy Huggins: "The Fugitive" and "Maverick". "77 Sunset Strip" has the potential to be an even greater film.
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It Was A Gas, Man!
dougdoepke4 January 2017
On Friday evenings, I was glued to 77. Thanks to Warner Bros., the movie studios were joining TV programming, so that by 1958, they knew they couldn't lick the little living room box. For TV, that meant better production values, more glamor, and hour-long formats. 77 hit the little screen with a bang, the first detective show to combine studio glamor, Hollywood chic, and urban cool. Zimbalist and Smith were perfect for their sleek roles. But it was really Edd Byrnes' jive-talking Kookie who caught public fancy, especially teens like me. There'd been nothing like him during the more laid-back Eisenhower years.

As I recall, the stories were nothing special, though the studio had plenty of stock footage to draw upon. The staging was conventional for its time-- high-key lighting, straightforward direction, unobtrusive camera angles. (Stylistic changes in the detective genre would come a year later with the innovative Peter Gunn.) Nonetheless, the plots were just an excuse to combine colorful characters with a new glamor babe of the week. But naturally no series lasts forever and when the format wore down in '63, Jack Webb was brought in to revitalize. It was a tough job, at best. Right away I was turned off. Putting a suit on Kookie and moderating the jive talk was a big mistake, and unsurprisingly the series soon folded. But in its early years, the show was a definite trend- setter, as other reviewers detail.

Even now, Kookie, Stu, and Jeff live on fondly in my little book of nostalgia. However, it's only logical that the material has lost its cutting-edge, especially for those uninterested in the evolution of TV. Still, for its time, it was a real gas, man!
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The late 50's early sixties
pozy25 April 2003
What a time it was! Between Elvis and the Beatles. I guess you could call me a "tweener". Too young to go to Woodstock and too old to be a computer yuppie. I came across these shows (this show, FBI, Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6) on Hallmark channel. What a travel back in time. Back to when I was two to three years old. Well as they say (George Harrison) "life goes on within you and without you".
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Definitely TV Worth Watching!
FootballFan20116916 April 2018
I had never seen 77 Sunset Strip before since it was on before I was born and somehow had never seen it in re-runs. I had heard many times the old song "Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb..." and from the short descriptions of its background i basically wrote the show off as a goof. Fast forward to December 2017, after a blowing winter wind woke me one night and unable to go back to sleep I started watching 77SS on MeTv and was amazed to find that this is a really good show! While of course it's slightly dated what with it being filmed in B&W, no computers, no cellphones, the old candlestick style phones showing up fairly frequently and oh! those gorgeous classic cars! The plots hold up extremely well and with a mix of action and just the right amount of cool comedy this show is very enjoyable. As I write this I'm enjoying a DECADES Tv 77 Sunset Strip binge marathon where the episode Strange Bedfellows with an obvious Zsa Zsa Gabor caricature of the "damsel in distress" has just finished up and Face In The Window which pairs up Richard Long (Rex) with Peter Breck a few years before they co-star together in The Big Valley is starting. While it's not horribly important with this particular series, it is very nice that both MeTv and Decades are playing these episodes in their proper order.
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Best Detective Show of it's Era
joe_974787 January 2018
It was a great show in it's time. But like others have said, it declined in it's final season. They kept Stuart Bailey, but completely changed him from the suave, always a gentleman private eye, and tried to get us to accept him as a gritty, wisecracking 1940's type film noir P.I. It just didn't work. One thing that always amused me was the beginning of the show when the white Thunderbird convertible would pull out of the Dino's lot onto Sunset Boulevard. From the time it left the lot and entered the boulevard, it transformed itself into a Ford Fairlane 500 convertible, or a Galaxie 500 convertible depending on the year it was broadcast. It was no longer a Thunderbird once it hit the street.
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DVD Review
liscarkat27 November 2007
This is a review of the 2-box, 24-disk DVD set of 77 Sunset Strip from thedvdplanet.org.

This is the worst case of defective DVDs I've ever encountered. The set is worthless. I hope my review saves others from wasting their money.

Out of the total of 24 disks, only one disk has no significant problems.

One disk will not play or even display a menu.

There are at least 17 episodes missing. The exact number is not ascertainable, because one of the disks, which probably contains six or more episodes, will not play or even open to the menu.

There are 62 episodes that have picture and sound quality so poor that they are unwatchable. I understand that, given the sources of these recordings, pristine picture quality is not to be expected. However, by "unwatchably poor quality," I mean that objects and people are blobs of light and dark, often with unrecognizable faces, and on-screen credits and titles are often unreadable. The sound quality is often just as bad. The episodes that aren't this bad have fair to poor quality. None have good quality.

Here is a breakdown of the defects in each disk:

Disk 1:

Casualty is not accessible from the menu, only by fast-forwarding.

Casualty is recorded on the disk three times.

The Bouncing Chip is missing from the disk.

The other titles on the menu do not correspond with the episodes that play when they are selected.

Disk 2:

Hit and Run is not accessible from the menu, only by fast-forwarding.

Disk 3:

This is the only disk that does not have any significant defects!

Disk 4:

Strange Girl in Town is recorded on the disk twice.

Mr. Paradise is missing from the disk.

Disk 5:

Menu titles do not correspond to episodes that play when they are selected.

Sing Something Simple, and The Treehouse Caper are both unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 6:

Menu titles do not correspond to episodes that play when they are selected.

The Widow and the Web, Secret Island, The Texas Doll, and Created He Them are all unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 7:

Publicity Brat is not accessible from menu, only by fast-forwarding.

Menu titles do not correspond to episodes that play when they are selected.

Who Killed Cock Robin, and Safari are both unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 8:

Fraternity of Fear, and Spark of Freedom are both unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 9:

The Duncan Shrine is unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 10:

The Rice Estate is unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 11:

Mr. Goldilocks, Face in the Window, and The Space Caper are all unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 12:

The Legend of Leckonby, The 6 Out of 8 Caper, and The Celluloid Cowboy are all unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 13:

Caper in E Flat, Hot Tamale Caper (Part 1), Hot Tamale Caper (Part 2), and The Positive Negative are all unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 14:

The Unremembered, Big Boy Blue, and The Missing Daddy Caper are all unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 15:

None of the episodes are accessible from the menu, only by fast-forwarding.

The Inverness Cape Caper is recorded on the disk twice, and its visual quality is unwatchably poor.

The Rival Eye Caper also has unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 16:

All of the episodes on the disk, consisting of The Turning Point, The Navy Caper, Bullets for Santa, The Chrome Coffin, The Down Under Caper, and Mr. Bailey's Honeymoon, have unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 17:

The Steerer, and Baker Street Caper are both missing from the disk Menu titles do not correspond to episodes that play when they are selected.

Twice Dead, Jennifer, The Long Shot Caper, Violence for Your Furs, and The Lovely American all have unwatchably poor quality.

Violence for Your Furs is recorded on the disk twice, and is missing its opening scene and title.

The Lovely American, and The Gemologist Caper are on the disk, but are not on the menu.

Disk 18:

None of the titles on the menu correspond to the episodes that play when they are selected.

Framework for a Badge, Pattern for a Bomb, Upbeat, and Nightmare are all on this disk, but not on the menu.

The Lovely American, and The Gemologist Caper are on this menu, but they are on another disk (Disk 17).

Flight From Escondido, Pattern for a Bomb, and Nightmare have unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 19:

This disk will not display a menu, and will not play. All of the episodes (titles unknown) that should be on this disk are missing.

Disk 20:

None of the seven titles on the menu are on the disk (or on any other disk). All seven episodes are missing.

Five of the episodes that ARE on the disk, consisting of The Snow Job Caper, Terror in Silence, Dial S For Suspense, Nine to Five, and The Man Who Wasn't There have unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 21:

Target Island, Our Man in Switzerland, and Never to Have Loved all have unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 22:

"5" (Part 3), and "5" (Part 4) both have unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 23:

White Lie, Don't Wait for Me, and By His Own Verdict all have unwatchably poor quality.

Disk 24:

All seven episodes on the disk, consisting of The Fumble, Bonus Baby, Paper Chase, Lover's Lane, Alimony League, Not Such a Simple Knot, and The Target have unwatchably poor quality.
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50s Detective fare from Warner Bros.
bux26 October 1998
This would be routine detective stuff had it not been for the presence of Edd "Kookie" Byrnes. Each week the detectives at Sunset Strip embarked on a new adventure, and Warner Brothers would, in miserly fashion, give us youngsters a small dose of Kookie. Later in the series, Byrnes was elevated from parking lot attendant to private investigator, but the show had already seen its heyday. Spawned that R&R classic - "Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb."
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Watched the entire series on METV
paterdpt11 October 2017
I would rate the first 3 seasons a 10, then it went downhill, that's why I rated it an 8. The last year, 1963-1964 is a pain to watch. No more theme song, Stu is alone in a new office, never explained why. Episodes are too serious. But the first 3 seasons were marvelous, especially when Kookie was parking cars. Sure, in season 3, it was starting to go a bit downhill, but as long as Kookie was there, I was satisfied. When I first started watching it, it brought back so many childhood memories, I was gaga for Kookie and his hip talk.
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