77 Sunset Strip is an American television private detective series created by Roy Huggins and starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith and Edd Byrnes. Each episode was one hour long.
The show was the subject of an ownership battle between Roy Huggins and Warner Brothers, which was the proximate cause of Huggins' departure from the studio. The series was based on novels and short stories written by Huggins prior to his arrival at Warner, but, as a matter of legal record, derived from a brief Caribbean theatrical release of its pilot, "Girl on the Run." The show ran from 1958 to 1964.
The series revolves around two Los Angeles private detectives, both former government secret agents: Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. played Stuart ("Stu") Bailey, a character Huggins had originated in his 1946 novel "The Double Take" (which he later adapted into the 1948 movie "I Love Trouble," starring Franchot Tone in the role). Roger Smith played Jeff Spencer, also a former government agent, and a nonpracticing attorney. The duo worked out of a stylish office at 77 Sunset Boulevard (colloquially known as "Sunset Strip"), between La Cienega Boulevard and Alta Loma Road on the south side of the Strip next door to Dean Martin's real-life lounge, Dino's Lodge. Suzanne, the beautiful French switchboard operator played by Jacqueline Beer, handled the phones.
Comic relief was provided by Roscoe the racetrack tout (played by Louis Quinn), and Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III (played by Edd Byrnes), the rock and roll-loving, wisecracking, hair-combing, hipster and aspiring P.I. who worked as the valet parking attendant at Dino's, the club next door to the detectives' office. Byrnes had originally been cast as a serial killer in the series pilot, but proved so popular that he was brought back in a new role for the series.
Despite Huggins' hopes for a hard-edged drama, the tone of the series was much lighter and featured a strong element of self-deprecating humor. Many of the episodes were named "capers". The catchy theme song, written by the accomplished team of Mack David and Jerry Livingston, typified the show's breezy, jazzed atmosphere. The song became the centerpiece of an album of the show's music in Warren Barker-led orchestrations, which was released in 1959, a top ten hit in the Billboard LP charts (mono and stereo).