Show Type: Detective Drama
First Telecast: October 10, 1958
Last Telecast: September 9, 1964
Theme Music: "77 Sunset Strip," by Mack David and Jerry Livingston
Stuart Bailey..... Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Jeff Spencer (1958-1963)..... Roger Smith
Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III (1958-1963)..... Edd Byrnes
Roscoe (1958-1963)..... Louis Quinn
Suzanne Fabray (1958-1963)..... Jacqueline Beer
Lieutenant Gilmore (1958-1963)..... Byron Keith
Rex Randolph (1960-1961)..... Richard Long
J.R. Hale (1961-1963)..... Robert Logan
Hannah (1963-1964)..... Joan Staley
Half of this glamorous private-detective team was Stu Bailey, 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, 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.
Next door to No. 77 was Dino's, a posh restaurant. Seen often was Dino's parking lot attendant, Kookie, a gangly, jive-talking youth who longed to be a private eye himself and who often helped Stu and Jeff on their cases. In the first 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, and became a smash hit. Kookie's "Kookie-isms" became a trademark of the series. Some of them included: "the ginchiest" (the greatest); "keep the eyeballs rolling" (be on the lookout); "piling up the Z's" (sleeping); "play like a pigeon" (deliver a message); "a dark seven" (a depressing week) and "headache grapplers" (aspirin).
Byrnes soon began to overshadow the show's principal characters as a popular celebrity. Unsatisfied with his secondary role, the young actor demanded a bigger part and eventually walked out. Warner Brothers at first replaced him with Troy Donahue 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 replacement as parking lot attendant was J.R. Hale. Previously, for a single season, the actor who played J.R. had been seen as a third partner in the firm. Other regulars included Roscoe, the racetrack flunky and Suzanne, the beautiful French switchboard operator.
By 1963, the novelty of the series had worn off and in an attempt to save it, Jack Webb was brought in as producer and William Conrad as director and drastic changes were made. The entire cast was dropped with the exception of Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. who became a free-lance investigator traveling around the world on cases. The season opened with a 5-part chase thriller featuring two dozen big name guest stars and was written by eight top Hollywood writers. Stu Bailey was seen pursuing operatives of a gigantic smuggling ring across two continents. He had also acquired a permanent secretary named Hannah.
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