RARA-AVIS: Re: Huggins

Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@colba.net)
Tue, 19 Oct 1999 08:20:31 -0400

Jim wrote:

> Strictly speaking, Huggins did not write a "novelization" of
> *77 Sunset Strip*. The PI character, Stu Bailey, played by E.
> Zimbalist, Jr., was introduced in the novel *The Double Take*,
> then used in several short stories by Huggins published in
> various slick magazines in the early '50s. These stories were
> cobbled together as a episodic "novel" and published by Dell
> under the title *77 Sunset Strip* to coincide with the series
> basd on Huggins character. Ironically, it is little-remembered
> now that Bailey, who made the smoothest an most successful
> transition of all PI characters from prose fiction to TV,
> actually was created in a novel that pre-dated the TV series by
> at least 10 years. - Jim Doherty

And Roy Huggins (alone, and later with such folks as Stephen J. Cannell) went on to create or executive produce some of the most influential and interesting adventure/crime of the fifties, sixties and seventies, including THE FUGITIVE, MAVERICK, THE ROCKFORD FILES, CITY OF ANGELS, the 77 Sunset clones (HAWAIIAN EYE, SURFSIDE SIX, etc.) and others. Along with James Garner (whom he was later to work with in Rockford), he rebelled against the studio system back in the fifties. He received the Private Eye Writers of America Lifetime Achievement award a few years ago, and I think it was wholeheartedly deserved. In fact, I'm working on a mini-bio and bibliography for my site, because, like it or not, he did much to bring the P.I. form to television (and hence a wider audience, and that in turn influenced the literature as well). Somehow, I don't think I'll ever be doing a similar bio of SNOOPS' David E. Kelley. (Twin nipple cams?)

And THE DOUBLE TAKE still stands out as some kind of classic of its kind. Had the studios kept their paws off it, and trusted Huggins a bit more, 77 SUNSET STRIP would have been a much better show.
(Really, lend me your comb?) Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/ IT'S OFFICIAL! October is Dashiell Hammett Month. Don't play the sap for anyone.

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