RIP Kookie

(Photo: Guest star Marianne Gaba gets a lock of Kookie’s hair, 1960. Source: Wikimedia Commons)

To commemorate Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, who died Wednesday at 86, The Savvy Screener is proud to present a slightly revised version of our 77 Sunset Strip story from this past August: 

The seminal 77 Sunset Strip was TV’s first hour-long weekly detective series and one of Warner Bros’ pioneering small-screen triumphs.

Although starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Roger Smith as L.A.-based private eyes, 77 Sunset Strip is perhaps remembered most for the breakout cultural phenomenon of Kookie, played by Edd 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 over six seasons from 1958 to 1964.

You can stream many 77 Sunset Strip episodes for free from Uncle Earl’s Classic TV Channel.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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