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Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Frank Soyke, Mar 7, 2011.
Eisley and Conrad were no Zimbalist and Smith but they will grow on you.
Yes, great review, Russ! And I'm glad to see you dig into another WB detective series...more please! Got any old tapes of Surfside 6 hanging around?
You're right on point, Bob! I've seen ALL the episodes of this series and I can attest that each year it got better. Between Eisley and Conrad, Robert began to take the larger load of the agency--and although he never shied from removing his shirt, he developed more of a depth of character than Eisley's throwback 30's look and manner.
Also, the atmospherics of the show improved, despite never actually being filmed in Hawaii. As long as there was a plethora of tiki lamps, palm trees, excessive bamboo and thatched grass--I bought into it.
I might add that the opening credits showing Eisley, Conrad and Stevens actually surfing in a line together didn't look to be a trick. I can only imagine it took god-knows how many takes to pull that off.
Ahh, Tiki culture. Something that I was fascinated with as a young boy, although it did not have that name yet, and my only way of seeing it was Hawaiian Eye and to a lesser extent Adventures in Paradise, Hong Kong and Follow the Sun. Hawaiian Eye had it in spades and it had Cricket who followed closely on the heals of Annette as a young boy crush. One summer in Philly when I was still in grade school the local ABC affiliate ran the damn show every Monday thru Friday from noon until 1PM. Did not miss many of them. Hawaiian Eye lacks the overall sophistication of 77 but it is a guilty pleasure of groovy viewing. And did I mention, it has Cricket. As an aside did anyone ever see Connie Stevens in the movie Scorchy? She didn't do any singing but that was ok. She did other things.
"The Clown" (S1E3)
Bear with me on this. Three grown men live together on a houseboat docked in the intercoastal way across from Miami's Fountainebleau Hotel. Not to engender any suspicions on this arrangement, especially in 1960, but there's only one bedroom on the houseboat. So do these guys sleep in shifts? But not to fear--the boys are often visited by beautiful socialite Daphne Dutton (Diane McBain), who adores each of them--and vice versa--so stash your silly homophobic misgivings in your back pocket. After all, they're detectives. They put the bad guys away using charm and, usually, in tight tennis shorts and polo shirts. And there's always bikini-clad girls hanging around.
Client encounters take place on the houseboat or Fountainebleau's Boom Boom Room, which features Cha Cha O'Brien (Margarita Sierra)--a Spanish fireball who shakes her booty on a nightly basis and dispenses with nonsensical Latino adjurations. Much like Hawaiian Eye's location, not one whit of Surfside 6 is filmed in Miami, preferring to use rear projection as establishing shots. The only real on-location is in the opening credits, where leads Van Williams, Troy Donahue and Lee Patterson are sitting on a beach wall in front of the Fountainebleau. Shirtless, of course.
So, this episode begins with Cha Cha giving dancing lessons to a cad named Carlos who gets a bit too handsy with her. Dave Thorne (Lee Patterson) beats the snot out of the guy, who happens to work for Senor Correro (Ted de Corsia), an expatriate South American dictator now living in Miami. This leads Dave to a meeting with Correro, who hires him to navigate his young son's birthday party. Dave must've been hard up for some billable hours, as he accepts the frivolous chore. Pepe the Clown (Vito Scotti) is assigned as entertainment for the kids, and all goes well until Correro is killed in the midst of the merriment. Pepe mysteriously goes missing. Was it really him under all that clown makeup? It could have been Judy Garland for all anyone knew.
Yeah, you WISH you looked like me; Cha Cha explains appropirate "size" to Sandy; Daphne adores wood...
Pepe lands in jail, but swears he was NOT at the party. The police are dubious of his story and it's up to Dave Thorne to get to the bottom of the murder. This leads him to dark alleys, skizzy motels and any number of Miami's vast underbelly. There's a predominant dependence on pay phones to keep in touch with his compatriots, which leads one to believe that had cell phones been invented--this all would have been solved inside of ten minutes.
Turns out that Pepe's girlfriend had left him for Corerro, and that Corerro's young son is actually Pepe's. Oh what a tangle web we weave...
This puts Pepe square in the sights of legitimate motive for murder. But guess what---it wasn't him.
A good whodunit script (Richard Lederer, VP of world-wide advertising for Warner Bros.), even in the early stages of this series. The character development still had a ways to go, but all the leads are charismatic eye candy shmoos that don't take themselves too seriously.
I always loved the theme song, mainly for the girlie-girl half-whispered questions interspacing the lyrics. As a kid, it sounded soooo sexy to me...
My wife declared me certifiably crazy when I lined our patio with tiki torches, which I'd fire up every time I watched an episode of Hawaiian Eye. I'm still completely tiki-tainted.
I think San
I think Sandy lived on his own boat. Establishing shots of the Surfside 6 houseboat did take place as far as I know thru the Wooley, Malsbary Strange book on WB TV at Surfside 6 dockside across from the hotel which engendered a few trips there to just well... be there. Great review of a so-so episode. By the way there was a Boom Boom Room at the hotel (I have Swizzle Sticks) which has undergone numerous changes thru the years. The hotel itself is a crown jewel of the S. Florida Art Deco scene. My wife and I stay there every few years or so just for the hell of it. Again, great review.
Lining your deck with T
My computer did three. ??? Sorry all.
I, too, spent several nights at the Fountainebleau on business trips in the early 2000's. The Boom Boom Room was long gone and replaced with a tiresome bar in the middle of the lobby. I did trot across the street to the intercoastal way to stand exactly where the houseboat had once been moored--as if to absorb some kind of leftover vibe from the show. I considered it my personal pilgrimage, much as I had done with my trips to Sunset Strip to hang around the long-gone Dino's. I have yet to visit the Hawaiian Hilton, but I fear that has long since lost all the characteristics from the series. Still, homage should be paid...
Rus, Your as crazy as I am. I considered the trips down Sunset and pilgrimage to the Surfside mooring site essential anthropological expeditions. The Hawaiian Hilton I was lucky enough to stay there twice while on business. This was in the 80ies. Charm was gone but still cool to be there. Also had many a watery night at the Old Absinthe House and toured the upstairs and side by side business addresses which of course was the office address of BSB. What makes me do shit like that? Over and over again.
The Surfside 6 houseboat was long gone by 1967, when Frank Sinatra filmed his movie Tony Rome at the Fountainebleau and South Beach Miami...I took these screen caps from the Fox DVD...Jill St. John, Gena Rowlands and Sue Lloyd are other attractions in this film...of course, the Fountainbleau is also seen to great effect in James Bond's Goldfinger...when I was there, these films and Surfside 6 were much on my mind as well...the big room at the Fountainbleau (Boom-Boom room?) is also shown...a venue that Sinatra himself performed at many times over the years...
I spent most of the winter of 1975 at Miami Beach, before redevelopment went into hyperdrive and forever altered the formerly relaxed environs of South Beach...other blissful scenes of 1967 Miami as seen in Tony Rome...
I have Surfside 6 in my collection and quite like the show, although I too prefer 77 Sunset Strip. I could post screen caps from select episodes from my best sources along with a review/synopsis. Nobody does a more entertaining review than Russ does, so I'm not in his league. And my screen caps from Surfside 6 wouldn't look anywhere near as good as these.
I remember the Hawaiian Hilton as well, and like Hawaiian Eye a whole lot also...although the first time I ever saw Honolulu was in 1981, when everything was already well on the way to being transformed by massive redevelopment. At least Bourbon Street and the French Quarter of New Orleans has (mostly) been preserved, at least cosmetically...big money ruins everything eventually...too bad that Bourbon Street Beat wasn't allowed to have a second season, but Father Knows Best, Danny Thomas Show and Peter Gunn were up against it for ratings in 1959-60...maybe I'm a pushover for formulaic TV, but I remember loving The Alaskans and Roaring 20s too...and don't even get me started on how much I love the WB westerns like Maverick, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Bronco, etc.,...
Power surge twice here in the building today that I work at and twice my post was affected. My last reply to those wonderful Tony Rome scenes was followed by comments that were not mine. Not attempting to steal a post. I'm done for the day. Sheesh.
I liked Lee Patterson. I'd still like to see the later episodes of "Surfside Six" that the Goodlife Network never got around to airing. Later in his life, Lee was trying to put together a little 'video resume' on tape, to send around, trying to gin up some work. He needed some clips of his more recent performances. Somehow because of a mutual friend, I wound up driving Lee all around North Hollywood, stopping in at a variety of hole-in-the-wall video stores, looking for a few titles. Didn't have much luck as I recall. But I enjoyed our talks, both then and maybe a dozen other times. Wished I'd asked him about some memories of working on "Surfside Six," but frankly, I didn't know much about the show at the time, catching those reruns on Goodlife much later. Saw Diane McBain at a notoriously ill-fated nostalgic show in Shreveport, La. several years later. She seemed sweet and gracious, despite having to endure the 100-degree temperature in the ancient fairground building. Got a nice autographed photo from her.
Thanks for the feedback and comments, Bob. The quote function on HTF can be a little tricky at times, and what happened to your reply being incorporated into the quote window itself has also happened to me on occasion as well.
As you said, Tony Rome (and it's sequel with Raquel Welch, Lady in Cement) are good and clever films with eye popping 1960s Miami area locales...and wouldn't you know it? Sinatra's Tony is also a P.I. who lives on a boat, just like the trio from Surfside 6. I agree with Russ that the breathy, sexy girl singer's voice refrain on the theme song is endearingly cute.
I agree with you about the creme of WB westerns...Maverick being my favorite, but I also have the WAC DVD release of The Dakotas, and like yourself, find that one to be the most authentic and seriously minded of their product from that era. But I also love the rest of the Warner's field like Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, etc,...
I see you are in Florida. I'll bet you have Route 66 on DVD in your collection. There wasn't a classic TV series that showed off beautiful Florida locations better than Route 66, in multiple episodes over it's 4 seasons.
Wow, very interesting and personal details Bert! You've sure had a lot of very interesting interactions with entertainment industry people! Lee Patterson seemed to have the most substance on Surfside 6, and he was in one of my all time favorite episodes of Combat!, 9 Place Vendee. Of Course, I will always associate him with Harryhausen's beautiful classic The 3 Worlds of Gulliver too. Here's a couple of great publicity photos of Lee Patterson from Surfside 6...
And here he is with the lovely Leslie Parrish, his guest star from the episode Circumstantial Evidence (season 1, April 17, 1961)...