77 SUNSET STRIP ran from 1958 to 1964. It starred Efrem Zimbalist jr., Roger Smith as partners in a detective agency, and Edd Byrnes as the valet parking attendant,’Cookie’ – Byrnes became so popular with audiences, he joined the duo in their P.I. business by the third series.
During the six year run of the series, it became like a ‘Who’s Who’ of Hollywood actors.
Some appeared in more than one episode – Julie Adams, Richard Conte and Burgess Meredith turned up in five episodes; Robert Lowery and Tristram Coffin, in four; Jerome Cowan , Ray Teal, Lloyd Nolan, Jay Adler, Ted de Corsia each made three appearances over the series.
So many other famous faces made the journey to the Strip just once – Percy Helton, Roy Barcroft, Linda Darnell, Kent Smith, Elisha Cook, Lee Patrick, Joseph Cotten, Steve Brodie , Fay Wray, Marie Windsor, Preston Foster.
I guess the TV work supplemented the diminishing roles in movies.
Makes me want to catch the whole series again.
Directors for the series also came from the big screen – Ida Lupino, Andre de Toth, Vincent Sherman ,Robert Douglas and Marc Lawrence.
Edd and Connie Stevens had a hit record with “Cookie, Cookie, Lend me Your Comb”.
By 1963 the show’s ratings were down and Jack Webb came on board as executive producer to revamp it, with William Conrad as director/producer. (William Conrad (1920-1994) had started directing on TV in 1958).
There was no continuity to the previous seasons – Efrem Zimbalist’s ‘Stu Bailey’ became a one man detective agency and the tone of the show became darker. Roger Smith and Edd Byrnes were gone with no explanation. The catchy theme tune by Mack David and Jerry Livingston was also missing.
It was a different show altogether and retaining the title of 77 Sunset Strip didn’t make sense.
But I would like to see the beginning of the final 6th season because it was a five-episode story arc, simply called “Five”, all directed by William Conrad, and with an amazing cast list.
The plot of the five episodes involves an investigation into the life of the late ‘Andy Marion’ at the request of his brother (played by Burgess Meredith).
’Stu Bailey’ supposedly travels all over Europe, meeting all the interesting cast members . Of course he never leaves the Warner Brothers lot aside from some locations in New York.
Luther Adler, Gene Nelson.
Cesar Romero, Lloyd Nolan
Keenan and Ed Wynn, George E. Stone
Burgess Meredith, Joseph Schildkraut, Walter Slezak
Herbert Marshall, Peter Lorre, Richard Conte.