The seminal and rarely shown 77 Sunset Strip, TV’s first hour-long weekly detective series and one of Warner Bros’ pioneering small-screen triumphs, can be binged this weekend via over-the-air channel Decades. The 42-episode marathon starts 1 pm ET Saturday with the eighth episode from season one, and ends at 6 am ET Monday with episode 16 from season two. Visit Decades’ Where to Watch page to find your local station.
Although starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Roger Smith as L.A.-based private eyes, the series is perhaps remembered most for the breakout cultural phenomenon of Kookie, played by Ed Byrnes. As noted by Wikipedia, Kookie was a continually hair-combing, hotrod-driving, hipster-talking parking valet turned protégé PI. At the height of Kookie’s fame, Byrnes and Connie Stevens scored a top ten record with “Kookie, Kookie—Lend Me Your Comb.” Here’s a live performance, followed by a Dick Clark-led interview:
77 Sunset Strip itself featured a very popular, finger-snapping theme song that spawned a best-selling record album:
The series, which spurred several similar Warner Bros. detective shows set in different locales (i.e., Hawaiian Eye [with the aforementioned Connie Stevens] in Honolulu, Bourbon Street Beat in New Orleans, Surfside Six in Miami) ran on ABC for 206 episodes from 1958 to 1964, but streaming options are few. At present, you can catch bunches of episodes for free on Uncle Earl’s Classic TV Channel and Dailymotion.
Here, to whet your appetite for the Decades binge, is season one, episode seven: “All Our Yesterdays,” for which Richard Bare won the 1959 Directors Guild of America award for best TV directing. Featuring former silent film stars Doris Kenyon and Francis X. Bushman, as well as John Carradine, it’s recommended not only for fans of detective shows, but also for devotees of Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning film Sunset Boulevard. Btw, neither 10086 Sunset Boulevard, where most of the movie took place, nor 77 Sunset Boulevard, where Kookie and his friends hung out, were actual Los Angeles addresses.
(Note: Our featured image of the 77 Sunset Strip logo was obtained through a screen grab from the second YouTube video above.)
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