Discuss 77 Sunset Strip

Season 1: 1958 – 1959; The series kicks off with the cool 1950’s California hipster scene. Something new and refreshing for the rest of America to watch on television. It catches on quickly with the viewing public. Stuart Bailey and Jeff Spencer are the epitome of the glamorous private eye lifestyle. Gerald Lloyd “Kookie” Kookson III, as a parking valet, with his hipster-speak, adds a bit of comic relief, but his popularity catches fire, and his role expands! Gorgeous receptionist Suzanne Fabray and goofy leg-man Roscoe fill out the great cast of characters.

Season 2: 1959 – 1960; The series gains a lot of traction and hits its stride. More and better private eye stories continue from season 1. Edd Byrnes becomes a cultural icon with his hit single “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb.” A permanent fixture in American pop culture history.

Season 3: 1960 – 1961; The series hits a plateau, and quality levels off. The stories are still good, but entering the 1960’s with a continuation of the cool 1950’s California hipster scene, its newness starting to wear just a bit thin. Rex Randolph is brought in as a third detective after his series Bourbon Street Beat folds, from the season before. Why not promote Kookie to detective instead, from his parking valet duties? He’s paid his dues as a part time detective.

Season 4: 1961 – 1962; The series begins its decline once fully into the 1960’s. Rex Randolph disappears from Bailey and Spencer. Kookie is finally promoted as the third and decidedly junior detective. Surfing smoothie J.R. takes Kookie’s place as Dino’s parking valet. Somehow, the 1950’s California hipster scene isn’t as cool as it was when the series was new. Roscoe and Suzanne are given more screen time in the detective plots. Stuart Bailey and Jeff Spencer rarely appear together following the Warner Brothers formula of a rotating lead every other week.

Season 5: 1962 – 1963; The series is in ratings free fall. The stories take a darker tone. Some plot lines are clipped and abbreviated, while others downright silly. The scene-breaks between commercials are punctuated by the double7’s slashing through the screen, another attempt to jazz up weak stories and grab viewer attention. J.R. spends more time as a junior detective than parking cars. A very bad year for the series. Jake Webb takes over for the last episode of the season and sets the tone for the sixth and final season.

Season 6: 1963 – 1964; All, but Stuart Bailey, disappear from the formerly full cast of main and supporting characters. The series is no longer 1950’s California hip, but 1960’s New York street-wise. Without the rotating lead characters from week to week, the series last only 20 more episodes.

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I generally agree. I think a bit more highly of Seasons 4 and 5 than you do. I thoroughly enjoyed the series until the disaster that was Season 6. At that point it wasn't really 77 Sunset Strip anymore. Stu Bailey was just the name of an entirely different character, and the opening mini-series had enormous plot holes -- plus it was full of name guest stars making ridiculously stupid speeches. There were maybe two or three episodes I could watch again from the whole half-season mess.

Just last week, I watched an episode of Perry Mason on MeTV. Don't ask me which one. Binge-watching through this self-isolation, they all run together.

The opening scene from the Stu-Bailey-only Season 6, where he rides an ancient elevator up to his new office, Perry Mason and I believe Paul Drake, rode the same elevator in one scene.

I've watched even more Perry Mason over the years than Sunset Strip. :-) Mostly because it's been syndicated far longer.

@vranger said:

I've watched even more Perry Mason over the years than Sunset Strip. :-) Mostly because it's been syndicated far longer.

Speaking of which, I have seen Perry Mason on VHS and DVD, but not 77 Sunset Strip. Has SSSSS been released in any format? I've found excerpts on you-tube, but no entire episodes.

No, it hasn't. I suspect the problem is all the music in Dino's. Clearing those rights is a major hurdle for series like 77 Sunset Strip. The original rights covered rebroadcast, but not transfer to other mediums. My Three Sons, believe it or not, had a similar problem, but solved it with replacing a lot of music cues for which the rights simply could not be cleared. The movie Love at First Bite had to replace Alicia Bridges' "I Love the Night Life" with a generic disco track in the nightclub scene to get it to DVD.

Replacing all the music in the Dino's scenes through the first five seasons would be laborious, but worse, it would be a major comedown for all us fans who are familiar with the original episodes, and would be hard to mesh with shots of the Frankie Ortega Trio performing.

By the way, if you'd like to temporarily drop an email address in here, I'll send you a tip about getting episodes that I'm probably not allowed to post in these forums.

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