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77 Sunset Strip / Hawaiian Eye, etc.

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Frank Soyke, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. MishaLauenstein

    MishaLauenstein Supporting Actor

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    Is this the first time MeTV has shown Girl on the Run? I certainly didn't get it on the first two go-rounds. Or did KVOS just skip it to avoid losing the lucrative "Shepherd's Chapel" money for one night.
     
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  2. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    This is the first time MeTV has run it.
     
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  3. ponset

    ponset Second Unit

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    I enjoyed watching "Girl on the Run" for the first time. B+
    Weird seeing Edd Byrnes as a hitman but with some of the mannerism of "Kookie", combing his hair
    and using Hep Cat slang.
    Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Erin O'Brien made a good pairing.
    Also nice seeing Barton MacLane.

    Here is a Lux Soap ad with O'Brien which promotes the movie.

    LuxErin.
     
  4. criblecoblis

    criblecoblis Supporting Actor
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    Scott,

    Thanks for this excellent bit of ephemera! I love Erin O'Brien in "Girl on The Run," as much for her lovely voice and intelligent interpretation of the songs she performs as for her acting. I am greatly looking forward to the discussion of this episode.

    And I agree. It's always great to see Baron MacLane, whom I like to call "Mr. Warner Brothers."
     
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  5. Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    Watched it, took a bunch of notes, working on a commentary, etc., etc.
    Still needs work.
     
  6. criblecoblis

    criblecoblis Supporting Actor
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    Russ, I'm awaiting your report eagerly!
     
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  7. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    I’ve been on pins and needles waiting.
     
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  8. Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    Jeez, guys...
    Thanks for your encouragement, but I fear your anticipation will well exceed my effort. It's just another commentary. It will not be submitted for a Pulitzer.
     
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  9. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    We’ll be the judge of that.
     
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  10. cadavra

    cadavra Second Unit

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    Russ, a long time ago I posted speculation that this was a testing-the-waters throwback episode. The ratings were way down, and Webb and Conrad may have realized they'd made a mistake by turning it into a faux Mike Hammer series. This was likely a return to the more light-hearted tone of the original, to see if the audience responded. (I certainly did; I saw it when it first aired and loved it.) Unfortunately, it was too little, too late. By the time it aired, ABC had already decided to axe the show, so we'll never know if future episodes would have followed this route.

    Mike S.
     
  11. Message #2711 of 3137 May 11, 2019
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
    Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    I agree with you, Mike. Alimony League was one of a few later Season 6 episodes that blew me away in that it could have easily fit into any of the previous seasons, even without the familiar surrounding cast. I think Webb's grand scheme of changing not only the format but Bailey's character was a complete fiasco that was realized too late. I think we'll always wonder if the series had one or two more seasons to live if the tinkerers hadn't tinkered so much.
     
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  12. criblecoblis

    criblecoblis Supporting Actor
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    I think I can now say it: I TOLD YOU NOT TO DISMISS THE SIXTH SEASON OUT OF HAND.

    Don't blame this on Webb. From what I've learned, he was handed this situation by Jack Warner. I think Webb simply tried to make the best of the alimentary sandwich he was handed.

    Someday, when I have the time, I'll have to write a thread-killing post on this subject.
     
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  13. Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    Yes you did. And I appreciated the opportunity to look at it in a whole different light.
     
  14. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    I agree with all of your quotes above and I also mentioned this in several earlier posts that the season six changes were started by Jack Warner and pretty much handed to Jack Webb to figure it out. The change back to a somewhat softer Stu with some lighter touches began with the introduction of Hannah as a real person as so perfectly portrayed by Joan Staley in “The Toy Jungle” episode. That was too late to bring the audience back with too few episodes remaining.
    I’ll say it at least one more time—I’m convinced that had the show been given a full season we would have seen Roscoe called in by Stu to help on a case and they would meet up in Dino’s parking lot where JR would still be hanging out. They would then go inside the familiar 77 building to find Suzanne on the switchboard. Unfortunately Roger Smith had already moved on and Edd Byrnes had previously been let out of his contract so I wouldn’t expect Jeff or Kookie to show up except maybe in a flashback or on a phone call. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
     
  15. Message #2715 of 3137 May 11, 2019
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
    Rustifer

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    Film Commentary
    "Girl On The Run" (WB-!958)

    Apart from "Bullets For Santa", I don't think any other 77 SS property has caused as much buzz on the thread as this--the highly touted progenitor of the entire series. Based on the novellas created by Roy Huggins in the '40's, this script was actually written by Marion Hargrove, who had a contract with Warner Brothers. The series' creative and ownership rights resulted in a huge struggle between Roy Huggins and the studio. But that’s a discussion for another time.

    "Shocking facts are laid bare of graft and corruption in high places" intones Stuart Bailey, thus setting the premise for the story. “It begins in a Northwest City”. An unnamed city, but I don’t think he was referring to Sound Bend, Indiana. We meet a very blonde Kathy Allen (Erin O’Brien) warbling in a swank cocktail lounge while Frank Brannigan (Barton MacLane) and colleagues in the Trucker’s Union are at a table discussing the upcoming congressional investigational testimonies. It’s hush-hush stuff, the sort which needs to be done in a bar, because all serious discussions should take place in a bar.

    As Kathy is leaving for the night, she witnesses one of the labor committee members getting aerated right in the head as he gets into his car. The assassin is briefly exposed in the light and just misses putting a couple of lead pellets in her as well. She spends the night in the police station thumbing unsuccessfully through mug books, then is secreted away under police protection. As the only witness to the murder, Kathy is hot property. Especially since the murderer is the District Attorney (Shepperd Strudwick)

    Hanging out in a room across her hotel, hired killer Kenneth Smiley (Edd Byrnes) takes a shot at her and misses. Properly freaked out, Kathy slips away and heads out of town.

    upload_2019-5-11_8-43-19. upload_2019-5-11_8-43-53. upload_2019-5-11_8-44-49. [​IMG]
    Film ad; Erin O'Brien; Shepperd Strudwick, Barton MacLane

    Stu Bailey is hired by a “Mr. Graham” to find his “fiancé”, a singer by the name of Karen Shay. Karen has short black hair but looks remarkably like the missing Kathy Allen and is a singer to boot. Can you see where this is headed? Stu finds her, a romance begins to develop between the two as well as some confusion once each discover that neither are who they originally claimed to be. “We’ve been had” Stu surmises. “Somebody’s playing a mean game of marbles”. One doesn’t normally refer to murder as a “mean game of marbles”, but it’ll do.

    When Karen / Kathy’s life is threatened again, she reverts to her usual disappearing act. Both Stu and Smiley are on the same track to find her for, each with very different reasons.

    Well, it’s not my intention to recap the entire film—if you’ve seen it, you know how it ends.

    Notes:

    While Kathy is in police protection, her guards are watching TV—a 20” Zenith with knobs the size of tricycle wheels.

    There are only two instances that reference “77 Sunset Strip”—one is a plaque (not an awning) ostensibly fixed to the building that houses Stu’s office. The other is an obvious overdub where Stu gives his address as 77 Sunset Strip.

    Stu and Karen / Kathy are enjoying drinks in a German bier garten. Her drink is initially seen as neat, but when she spills it, ice cubes tumble out.

    As is his wont on occasion, Stu offers to cook dinner. In this instance, it’s patachki. I can’t find a reference for this dish anywhere, so either I’ve misspelled it or it just doesn’t exist.

    The film has a decidedly 40’s vibe to it since many of the sets seem to be leftovers of WB films from that era. One doesn’t get the style feel that the 60’s decade is just around the corner. In fact, the lounge in which Kathy is singing has a backdrop that looks as if a Michelangelo wanna-be was let loose with a paint kit to fashion a mural of some sort.

    I can easily see how the producers could make the leap of transposing Edd Byrnes' Kenneth Smiley character into the series iconic hip car valet “Kookie”. Both were conversant in jive talk. Byrnes looked comfortable in either role.

    Interesting to note: As the District Attorney is a murderer himself, why the need for him to hire another killer (Smiley) to do the job?

    This film could have easily been an hour long episode, as the plot was not that complicated. However, the extended time gave Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. the ability to sculpt his Bailey character in the suave and mature manner that would remain fairly constant through most of the series’ run. All in all, I think this is the most important contribution that the film offered.

    Unfortunately, my recording of the MeTV broadcast was cut off before the very end, thus no final Smiley scene or credits. I should know by now to always extend the recording time by a couple of minutes of anything I want to save on MeTV.
     
  16. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the review (at last). So where did yours cut off?
     
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  17. Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    I was cut off just as Bailey was narrating how the DA (Shepperd Strudwick) was cooperating with his testimony. I would think there was also probably a small tidbit on the fate of Kenneth Smiley--if there was, I didn't see it.

    To be honest, Gary, I almost didn't post this commentary. I don't think I represented the film very well and no amount of editing seemed to help. You can see I kinda gave up at the end. Writer's cramp, I guess.
     
  18. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    Nothing was said about Smiley’s fate. Stu’s last line in voiceover about the DA’s testimony was “and what he had to offer — names, dates, figures—blew the lid off the situation in Westport and many distant places.” The End.
    Your review/commentary was fine. I’d suggest another viewing at some point which may inspire you to add on to your initial thoughts. Thanks for keeping this thread going strong.
     
  19. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Thanks Russ, as always, for your fine reviews, wit and contributions here! Much appreciated! That goes for all who contribute here also!
     
  20. criblecoblis

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    Russ, just funnin' you. I couldn't resist.
     
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