RARA-AVIS: Re: 77 Sunset Strip

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 13 Feb 2008


Re your comment below:

"He was parking convertibles at Dino's on the Strip, for goodness sake. It should be noted that neither he [Kookie], nor Dino's nor Jeff Spencer for that matter appear in the source novellas by Roy Huggins that first ran in Esquire and the Saturday Evening Post."

And don't forget the novel THE DOUBLE TAKE, which introduced Stu Bailey, even before the short entries in the slicks you mentioned. Franchot Tone played Bailey some years before Zimbalist in a 1948 film version of TAKE called I LOVE TROUBLE.

The two pilots were closer in tone to Huggins's Bailey stories. The first, shown as an episode of the anthology series CONFLICT, was directly based on one of the novelletes. This was Zimbalist's first appearance as the Bailey character.

The second, a 90-minute special run as the first episode of the series in the States, and released to theatres in Europe, "Girl on the Run," was written by Marion Hargrove from an original screen story by Huggins. It was tougher, less jokey, and depicted Bailey as a singleton PI, sans partner, knockout French switchboard babe, Damon Runyonesque racetrack tout, and tag-along parking lot attendant, with a small office on the Strip.

Interestingly, in that 90-minute debut episode, Byrnes played a jive-talking, incessantly hair-combing, psychopathic hit man, referred to in the script as only "the Kook." In previews, reaction to that character was so positive that the producers to decided to create a similar, good-guy character around the same actor.

One of the things that always puzzled me about 77 SUNSET STRIP was this. You look at the opening sequence of PERRY MASON, and you see the credit "based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner." You look at the opening sequence of MIKE HAMMER, and you see the credit "based on the characters created by Mickey Spillane" (in fact, the offical title of the show was MICKEY SPILLANE'S MIKE HAMMER). You look at the opening sequence of LANIGAN'S RABBI, and you see
"based on the 'Rabbi Small' novels by Harry Kemelman."
 You look at the closing sequence of GIDEON'S WAY and you see the credit "based on the novels by John Creasey." You even look at the closing sequence of LONGSTREET, and you see the credit "based on the character created by Baynard Kendrick," even though Mike Longstreet bore barely a whit of resemblance to Captain Duncan Maclain aside from their both being a blind private detectives.

But nowhere in 77 SUNSET STRIP was there a credit along the lines of "based on the character created by Roy Huggins," even though he wrote the novel introducing Bailey, the short stories featuring Bailey
(including the one adapted into the CLIMAX episode), and, finally, provided the storyline for the debut episode.

Can anyone more familiar than I with the vicissitudes and foibles of Hollywood explain this?


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