77 Sunset Strip (1958–1964)
2 user

Once Upon a Caper 

Jeff recounts how he took in struggling nerd Stu as junior partner, after Jeff rescued a beauty from a kidnapping plus nabbed a car ring single-handed, after bow-tied, all-thumbs Stu ... See full summary »


George Waggner (as george waGGner)


Roger Smith




Episode complete credited cast:
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. ... Stuart Bailey
Roger Smith ... Jeff Spencer
Richard Long ... Rex Randolph
Edd Byrnes ... Kookie (as Edward Byrnes)
Louis Quinn ... Pete Roscoe
Jacqueline Beer ... Suzanne Fabry
Byron Keith ... Lt. Roy Gilmore
John Hubbard ... Mr. Winterbottom
Carolyn Komant Carolyn Komant ... JoAnne
Brad Weston Brad Weston ... Jack Hood
Leonard Bremen ... Pete (as Lennie Bremen)
Mike London Mike London ... Limy
Joan Staley ... Miss Stanley
Jack Daly Jack Daly ... Salesman


Jeff recounts how he took in struggling nerd Stu as junior partner, after Jeff rescued a beauty from a kidnapping plus nabbed a car ring single-handed, after bow-tied, all-thumbs Stu botched the car theft investigation. Jeff's princely version of the origin of 77 Sunset Strip is in response to Rex making a rash mistake by asking Jeff how their agency started. As a true detective, Rex needs all the facts to close a case, so he grills Stu for his version of the events. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Crime | Drama





Release Date:

10 February 1961 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Kookie: You stay here. If I get into any trouble, cover for me.
Jeff Spencer: All right kid. You gotta lot of moxie.
See more »


September in the Rain
Music by Harry Warren
Heard in Dino's lounge
See more »

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User Reviews

Roger Smith's brilliant script lampoons "77 Sunset Strip"
9 May 2017 | by sdiner82See all my reviews

When I was a young teenager, "77 Sunset Strip" was my and my friends' favorite TV show and, thanks to MeTV for recently airing its re-runs, it remains the freshest, most original and coolest show on TV. Little did I realize way back when that one of its stars--the handsome gifted young actor Roger Smith (on whom my sister had a serious crush)--also wrote 7 of its episodes, and the 2 I've seen so far are terrific. "The Silent Caper" had absolutely no dialogue--a gimmick that Smith utilized to create one of the series' finest 60 minutes. Equally wonderful is "Once Upon a Caper" wherein Smith used a Rashomon-like narrative to turn the series upside down by lampooning the whole private eye genre and making good-natured fun of the characters played by Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Stuart Bailey), Edd Byrnes (Kookie) and Smith himself (Jeff Spencer). Richard Long (a recent addition to the cast) wants to know what brought the original threesome together, and Smith, Zimbalist and Byrnes are only too happy to tell him. Trouble is, each one takes full credit for establishing their swank private eye agency, gleefully portraying the other two as bumbling, nerdy, down-on-their-luck incompetents (especially hilarious is Smith's depiction of the suave, sophisticated Zimbalist as a hick wearing a bow-tie, baggy pants, an ill-fitting suit and a nebbishy haircut). I can't recall any other TV series pulling the rug out from under itself, but thanks to Smith's droll tongue-in-cheek script (and he doesn't spare himself-- Zimbalist portrays Smith as an inept, clumsy, narcissistic fool with a lousy haircut), "Once Upon a Caper" is probably the most enjoyable episode of the entire series and quite possibly the inspiration for Blake Edwards' quintet of Inspector Clouseau movies (the ones with Peter Sellers). The multi-talented Roger Smith (who in other episodes also revealed a fine singing voice) never resorts to crude slapstick, nor are there any corpses or mayhem (and only a couple of stunning blondes) in this light-hearted caper. All three lead actors seem to be having a great time poking fun at each other, and their inspired hi-jinks make for a classic episode of a classic, classy TV series!

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