77 Sunset Strip / Hawaiian Eye, etc.

Rustifer

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Episode Commentary
Hawaiian Eye
"Boar Hunt" (S4E17)

Phil Barton's (Troy Donahue) favorite uncle Miles Maitland (George Montgomery) arrives in Hawaii via what passes for a passenger plane in 1963. A big shot criminal attorney, Miles doesn't bother to call his nephew to let him know he's in town. Phil only knows of his arrival because his name appears on the hotel's VIP list, where Phil functions as Director of Menial Social Stuff and Lists.

Somebody's trying to kill Maitland as he's nearly run over by a formidable '62 Chevy Impala--Chevys were notorious for hit-and-runs in 1963. Maitland is at the hotel to meet with Arienne and Duane Abbott (Lisa Gaye, John Archer). There seems to be bad blood between Duane and Miles, whereas Arienne is much more hospitable towards Miles. Perhaps even a bit lustful.

Phil goes looking for his uncle but is detoured by a few martinis in the hotel bar, courtesy of Maitland's Insurance agent who's in charge of a half million dollar life insurance policy on the famous attorney. He's a bit miffed since there's been a few "accidents" involving Maitland's life. At this point, none of this makes any sense--so I'm itching to get to some sort of boar hunt where hopefully somebody gets mauled by a crazed pig. As usual, Troy Donahue's acting is as wooden as a pirate's leg, so action would be a welcome respite.

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Lisa Gaye, Joan Marshall, George Montgomery, John Archer

The Abbotts and Maitland are staying at a private ranch--where we learn that Miles and Arienne have been bumping nasties together for quite some time. Duane is jealous, and puts forth a mano-a-mano contest to see who wins Arienne's favor. Yep, you guessed it--a boar hunt. Finally. Phil and the insurance agent crash the party and insert themselves into the safari. Fortunately the ranch has been salted with dozens of bloodthirsty boars, so the chance of bagging one is pretty good.

The hunt is on, which includes much rifle-cleaning, eating beans off tin plates, and several nasty looks between Maitland and Abbott. There's more yakity-yak than hunting however--showcasing a stilted script, unnecessary side stories and amateurish acting considering the veteran cast involved. To get things moving, Phil nearly shoots his uncle accidentally with his commemorative Davy Crockett BB gun--which stirs up a vicious charge by a boar. Duane Abbott- a skilled marksman, blows the pig into BBQ heaven and saves Miles' life.

So here's the story in a coconut shell. Arienne was on trial for murder some time back where Miles successfully defended her, having been hired by her husband Duane. Arienne turned out to be far more grateful to Miles that to her hubby. As a result, Duane turned his affections towards his private secretary Dana (Joan Marshall). While on the safari, Miles tries to convince Dana to "accidentally" shoot Abbott, thus freeing up Arienne for himself. The ruse doesn't work and Phil's uncle is carted off to jail. The ending is so disjointed and dumb that I could barely relish my pork tenderloin sandwich.

Bore hunt.
 

Ree

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Anne
Episode Revisit
77 Sunset Strip
"Flight From Escondido" (S4Ep35)

I've always been a sucker for airplane disaster movies--all the Airport series, the High and the Mighty, No Highway in the Sky, The Crowded Sky, et al. They reinforced my fear of flying (which I eventually overcame), plus there's just a fundamental fear of loss of control in a metal tube that soars 30,000 feet above the earth. Still, makes for exciting stories.

So I was ecstatic that 77 SS produced an episode that entirely takes place on a DC-6. Granted, it's Hollywood's version of a plane's interior--aisles the width of most interstate highways, seats the size of barcaloungers, capacity for about 15 people, at least 6 flight attendants per passenger and a cockpit with technology slightly less than that found in an AMC Gremlin.

It's Jeff Spencer's job to escort spoiled jet setter Faith Merrick (Susan Seaforth) from tiny country Escondido back home to rich Daddy in LA. Accompanying them on the plane is a whole host of characters: A washed up actress (Elaine Devry) and her agent, a military general (Joe De Santis), an oil wildcatter, a sick lad and his mother on the way to a needed operation in America, and a bunch of oily-looking thugs. There's also an undercurrent of Cold War Communism intrusion into the American Way Of Life on board.

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Susan Seaforth, Elaine Devry, Phillip Carey, Joe De Santis

The plane is hijacked and the pilot (Philip Carey) is forced to turn towards Commie Country San Cristobal. Jeff attempts a run at the gun wielding hijacker, only to be soundly repulsed. "Next time you try something like that, I weel keel you!" snarls the bad guy. My Lab Retriever could voice a more convincing Spanish inflection. Gunfire ensues, but fortunately the aircraft is seemingly flying only about 17 feet above ground--so no decompression issues from holes being drilled into the fuselage. On a second try, Spencer gets the best of the hijacker and gains control of the ship. Distressingly, the plane is being chased by jet fighters dispatched from San Cristobal. The pilot slyly avoids confrontation by flying directly into a huge storm. I had to snort out loud when he flipped on the plane's windshield wipers. Yeah, that'll help when the wings get ripped off by hurricane force wind. Yet, the plane evades the commie jets and makes it safely to LA. Once again, the United States outwits the Red Peril.

Directed by Scotsman Robert Douglas and written by Paul Savage, this was not exactly a detective story, but still an interesting episode featuring the heroics of Jeff Spencer and some good interplay from guest stars.

Randoms:
Elaine Devry was somewhat lacking in luck when picking husbands. Her first, a high school boyfriend, was convicted of armed robbery and spent time in jail. She then became one in a long line of Mickey Rooney wives--married to him for 6 years which was practically a lifetime in Rooney marriage years.

Joe De Santis (of whom I wrote a Tidbit many pages ago) was born in New York City but interestingly almost never played an American.
I'm assuming that all of us fans of airplane disaster movies have seen Zero Hour. It's set on an airplane and is such a disaster that it's funny, and became the prototype for Airplane. FWIW, Peggy King, who played the stewardess, was a TV star in the 50's - sang on the George Gobel Show and did an episode of Maverick, "Strange Journey of Jenny Hill". But, I've gone way off-topic.
 

Ree

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Anne
Hawaiian Eye season 2, Vanessa Vanishes, cont'd...

Meanwhile, back at the Hawaiian Village Hotel, Cricket Blake (Connie Stevens, natch.) is about to do her nightly songfest...she's a vision of the divine, of course...with a lovely voice to match...in this episode, she sings Mama goes where papa goes (or papa don't go out tonight)...a catchy, endearingly playful, sassy and funny 1923 tune from Milton Ager and Jack Yellin...Connie is simply great, one of many highlights in this episode...Cole Porter's instrumental Dancing in the Dark is also heard in another preceding scene...I believe we have Mike, our fellow HTF member Cadavra, to thank for annotating on IMDB the third party music heard in the WB detective shows...
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After this delightful musical interlude, and recharged on the Mai-Tai, Tracy and Tom confer on their next step in finding the missing-yet-again Vanessa...
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Following a lead to one of Pete Staley's (Robert Colbert) hangouts, Tracy and Tom head out to a sugar plantation north of the city...
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And there they find Vanessa a second time...and still not kidnapped despite the second ransom being demanded...she is happily in the company of her fiance... what of the ransom note and who is behind a genuine delayed-action kidnapping that is in the works?
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Tracy struggles to put it all together...no spoilers, but the culprits will be brought to justice after some dodging of bullets and serving up a good all-american knuckle sandwich or two...
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All wells that ends well back at poolside...a happy ending of course...
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Vanessa's single and quite hot gal pal Marcia (Carolyn Komant) likes what she sees in Tracy, as Tom cavorts in the pool with Cricket...
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Yea, I'd smile that broadly too when a woman like that gave me the eye, ha, ha...
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Mary Tyler Moore has quite a substantial role here, probably the best opportunity to have come her way this early in her career...she appeared in 4 episodes of Hawaiian Eye, and was also in 3 episodes of 77 Sunset Strip, at least one Surfside 6 and at least a couple Bourbon Street Beat...in addition to a second season Bronco, she had frequent casting calls at Warner Brothers...when this episode first aired over election week 1960, she was only 2 months away from filming the pilot for The Dick Van Dyke Show in the following January, the first of her career signature roles and lasting stardom still affectionately remembered today.
What fun! Your review prompted me to pull out my DVD of the episode and watch it again. I have to admit that I'd failed to see MTM's stellar future in TV coming. As Mary Richards she was perfect - nobody's wife, nobody's fool, and able to navigate a newsroom full of quirky characters with aplomb.
 

Ree

Agent
Joined
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Messages
39
Real Name
Anne
Episode Commentary
Hawaiian Eye
"Boar Hunt" (S4E17)

Phil Barton's (Troy Donahue) favorite uncle Miles Maitland (George Montgomery) arrives in Hawaii via what passes for a passenger plane in 1963. A big shot criminal attorney, Miles doesn't bother to call his nephew to let him know he's in town. Phil only knows of his arrival because his name appears on the hotel's VIP list, where Phil functions as Director of Menial Social Stuff and Lists.

Somebody's trying to kill Maitland as he's nearly run over by a formidable '62 Chevy Impala--Chevys were notorious for hit-and-runs in 1963. Maitland is at the hotel to meet with Arienne and Duane Abbott (Lisa Gaye, John Archer). There seems to be bad blood between Duane and Miles, whereas Arienne is much more hospitable towards Miles. Perhaps even a bit lustful.

Phil goes looking for his uncle but is detoured by a few martinis in the hotel bar, courtesy of Maitland's Insurance agent who's in charge of a half million dollar life insurance policy on the famous attorney. He's a bit miffed since there's been a few "accidents" involving Maitland's life. At this point, none of this makes any sense--so I'm itching to get to some sort of boar hunt where hopefully somebody gets mauled by a crazed pig. As usual, Troy Donahue's acting is as wooden as a pirate's leg, so action would be a welcome respite.

View attachment 77751 View attachment 77752 View attachment 77753 View attachment 77754
Lisa Gaye, Joan Marshall, George Montgomery, John Archer

The Abbotts and Maitland are staying at a private ranch--where we learn that Miles and Arienne have been bumping nasties together for quite some time. Duane is jealous, and puts forth a mano-a-mano contest to see who wins Arienne's favor. Yep, you guessed it--a boar hunt. Finally. Phil and the insurance agent crash the party and insert themselves into the safari. Fortunately the ranch has been salted with dozens of bloodthirsty boars, so the chance of bagging one is pretty good.

The hunt is on, which includes much rifle-cleaning, eating beans off tin plates, and several nasty looks between Maitland and Abbott. There's more yakity-yak than hunting however--showcasing a stilted script, unnecessary side stories and amateurish acting considering the veteran cast involved. To get things moving, Phil nearly shoots his uncle accidentally with his commemorative Davy Crockett BB gun--which stirs up a vicious charge by a boar. Duane Abbott- a skilled marksman, blows the pig into BBQ heaven and saves Miles' life.

So here's the story in a coconut shell. Arienne was on trial for murder some time back where Miles successfully defended her, having been hired by her husband Duane. Arienne turned out to be far more grateful to Miles that to her hubby. As a result, Duane turned his affections towards his private secretary Dana (Joan Marshall). While on the safari, Miles tries to convince Dana to "accidentally" shoot Abbott, thus freeing up Arienne for himself. The ruse doesn't work and Phil's uncle is carted off to jail. The ending is so disjointed and dumb that I could barely relish my pork tenderloin sandwich.

Bore hunt.
Reading your review was more fun than watching this episode!
 

Rustifer

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Oct 20, 2017
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Location
Carmel, Indiana
Real Name
Russ J.
You're in too deep, Rob, to bail now. There are still plenty 77 SS episodes that require your critical eye and knowledgeable comments as a native Californian that far surpass this rural yokel's silly commentaries.
Rob:
Just to add to this earlier comment from me--please don't disappear from the thread. Too many of us miss your comprehensive insights and interaction. Remember--we're not just stuck on the WB detective series--there's plenty of WB Westerns, e.g. Maverick, Sugerfoot, Bronco, Cheyenne, that I'm sure you have access to and can help fill out the conversations. Jump back in, friend!
 
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MartinP.

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 26, 2007
Messages
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Real Name
Martin
A find on eBay that was posted about on NLA today:





(Note the wolf-or fox?-face on Ed's slippers.)

NLA Link

eBay Link

NOTE: This Warner Bros. press release must've been for a rerun of this episode.
"Double Trouble" was from Season 3, Episode 8 and November 3, 1960,
was when it first aired.

Anyone know the address of Ed Byrnes abode in the Hollywood Hills?
 

Rustifer

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Carmel, Indiana
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Russ J.
This photo is dated 1958. It appears to have been taken on Sunset Blvd. because (in front of Kookie's visage) you can see the signs in the distance for the Sunset nightclubs Interlude and the Crescendo.

Fascinating photo, Martin! A rare angle looking East on Sunset Blvd. According to Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., these guys only showed up at the actual location maybe once or twice a year to film overhead shots of entering or leaving the premise. This may have been one of those times. Or it may just have been a publicity shot, although most of those seemed to take place on the WB set.
Roger Smith's suit coat looks as if it was tailored by Elmer Fudd.
Also notice the "77 Sunset Strip" address on the awning looks as though its been tacked on over what was really written underneath.

Photos like this make me so wistful that the area no longer exists as it once was. And that the actors in the photo have since left us.
Proof positive that time stands still for no one.
 
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MartinP.

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Martin
Remember this Christmas Album we talked about a few years ago?



Last year, Stage Door Records, located in London, released a 2-CD set called A Vintage Broadway Christmas. (Available in the U.S.) I collect Christmas/Holiday music and I got this set and it was wonderful. Many of the songs (over 50 of them) I'd never heard before. (Did you know Eartha Kitt sang a sequel to Santa Baby? It was titled This Year's Santa Baby.)

I found out today that this year they're releasing another 2-CD set (57 songs!) called CHRISTMAS IN HOLLYWOOD. Release date 11/13. From the description: [The collection concludes with the complete 1959 stereo album 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas - 15 Great Christmas Favorites sung by Warner Bros. Stars'. This specially recorded album includes songs by stars of the popular television shows '77 Sunset Strip', 'Hawaiian Eye', 'The Alaskans', 'Cheyenne' and 'Bronco' as sung by Roger Moore, Edd Byrnes, Connie Stevens, Dorothy Provine, Eddie Cole and others.]

It's up for pre-order on Deep Discount right now for $14.19! Less than $1 per song on that Warners album alone, and there are 42 more songs! (25¢ a song!) Amazon's pre-order price is $19.99. (35¢ a song.) The Broadway set last year also had a nice booklet included with photos.

A nice Yulesville treat for those inclined!
 

JamesSmith

Screenwriter
Joined
Apr 22, 2003
Messages
1,935
there's some pretty obscure Christmas stuff that's been done by network stars over the years. Years ago NBC had something where their TV stars did a Christmas show. In 1982, the Cheers gang hosted the NBC Christmas program (in character) where they did various Christmas songs and stuff. Long and the other NBC ladies sang carols at one point. Really wish THAT could come out on CD. That was before TV got so negative.

Do any of you know of "lost" specials like that?

--jthree
 

Rustifer

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Oct 20, 2017
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Carmel, Indiana
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Russ J.
Episode Revisit*
77 Sunset Strip
"Left Field Caper" (S5E29)

The "Left Field Caper" is another outlier 77 episode in the series where the storyline has little to do with the detectives' handiwork and more about the co-stars' dilemmas.

JR Hale, who most likely eats magic toadstools for breakfast each morning to achieve his eternal happy go-lucky attitude on life, is a volunteer umpire for a little league baseball team. One kid on the team, Danny (Ronnie Dapo) has JR worried in that his parents never show up for any of the games. (On an aside, those dads that do show up are all in business suits. I'm assuming this is a Saturday afternoon event, so suits are the attire of choice? When I was in little league, my dad showed up in shorts, a Northwestern U. t-shirt and flip flops. And yes, that would've been around 1962.)

Danny lives with his mom Helen (Diane Ladd) and has on-going questions about his absent Dad (Ed Nelson)--whom Mom has tirelessly addressed as 'dead' although the man, Dave, has actually been in jail for some vague crime not fully explained. However, Dave has recently been released and makes a beeline for a strip club to see Flame (Grace Lee Whitney), a dancer in the club who has an on-going friendship with Helen. Helen is employed at an insurance company, so I'm not sure of the logical connection between her and Flame--who is sufficiently tarted up so we are not mistaken as to the nature of her profession.

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Diane Ladd, Grace Lee Whitney, Ronnie Dapo

Dave is looking for Helen, who has since changed her name, so that he can see his son Danny. Gangster George (Aaron Saxon) learns that Dave is out of jail and is convinced he'll want serious retribution since George fingered him in the crime. George figures he'll get Dave first. Following all of this? In the meantime, Helen's boss is all gooey-eyed over her, adding to complexity of the plot. She's not interested, and neither am I at this point.

Danny decides to play sick to escape school for the day, and thus free to wander he goes first to visit the building's super, Mr. Jenkins, who always has cookies for Danny. Since it's 1962, this practice does not raise the kind of red flags as it would today. Danny then wanders over to Bailey & Spenser to look up his friend JR and ends up stealing Jeff Spencer's lighter because, well, he's just lonely for attention.

It all comes to a head when Dave finds Danny playing in the street, but before he can introduce himself, lurking George hits the gas on his car and smashes poor Dad into road pizza. George then loses control and wrecks into a lamppost. Police arrive to arrest him and, sadly, Dave is DOA.
We end up back at the baseball field at Danny's game where the B&S gang is loudly rooting for the team, and Helen is now happily accompanied by her doting boss. She apparently has learned to play ball herself.
Grace Lee Whitney, who has appeared in several 77 SS episodes, has an absolute throw-away part in this story. Not sure why it was even written in.

Gary has pointed out that WB created a few of these episodes as trial runs for some of their contract players and possible new series ideas. This sure has the look of one of those.

NOTE: Bo Belinski has a cameo at the end of this story. He was the first pitcher in Los Angeles Angels' history to throw a no hitter, and did so in his rookie year. He was later known as the "playboy pitcher" due to his handsome looks and his romantic liasons with Ann-Margret, Tina Louise and Connie Stevens-- just to name a few. He ended up marrying Playmate of the Year Jo Collins. Being such a cool dude, it was fitting for him to make an appearance on 77 SS.

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*Originally posted: Jun 26, 2018
 

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