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6 hours ago, Tom Holmberg said:

There's a couple of episodes written by Robert Leslie Bellem, the great "spicy" pulp writer who created "Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective", who I like, so I might watch those, though this version of Stu Bailey is no Dan Turner. This Stu is more soft-boiled than hard-boiled.

Some info on Bellem, if you are unfamiliar: http://thedabbler.co.uk/2011/07/greens-heroes-of-slang-4-robert-leslie-bellem/

Thanks for the link.  It's a very interesting article about someone I'd never heard of before.  I checked on IMDB and was surprised how many different tv shows he had written for.   The shows I remember from "Perry Mason" and "Superman" were good.  From the article he seemed like a prolific writer of books and scripts.

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On ‎6‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 6:30 PM, wilsie said:

It's a very interesting article about someone I'd never heard of before.

I looked for one of his stories online and didn't find one, but I'd guess there's some around.  There's some collections available from Amazon.  Bellem was a poet with hard-boiled slang.  :)

A lot of pulp writers (esp. those living in the LA area) ended up writing for early TV and even movies as the pulp magazines were disappearing.

Edited by Tom Holmberg
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"Deposit With Caution" one of the Bellem written episodes will be on Thursday July 12.  I'm going to check it out to see if a good writer can help a not so good series.

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"Deposit With Caution" (Season 6, Episode 10) Stu Bailey rides the elevator to his new, lonely, depressing life.  New York Police detective John Frazier (perennial gangster Harold J. Stone) hires Stu to come to New York to clear him of bribery charges after $20,000 turns up in his bank account.  No sooner does Stu show up then he is beat up by an Old Salt (tough guy Ted de Corsia) in the lobby of Frazier's apartment.  Disheveled, Stu arrives at the apartment to meet Frazier and his hard-boiled daughter Kathy (Nancy Malone, Paul Burke’s girlfriend in “Naked City), who takes an immediate dislike to our favorite "transom snoop."  Bailey takes the case and tells Frazier to turn the money over to the police.

Frazier withdraws the money from his account, but is knocked out by the Old Salt and robbed before he can turn it in. The police and Frazier suspect Stu of the robbery, but he has an alibi. Stu questions homely, lovelorn bank teller Trudie Vogel (Virginia Gregg, Jack Webb’s go-to "Dragnet" character actress) about Dorn. She sends him to Dorn's house to talk to Viola Dorn (blonde broad Jean Carson, best known as Daphne, one of the “Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot” on “The Andy Griffith Show”), the disgruntled ex-showgirl wife of milquetoast bank teller Walter Dorn ( Booth Colman, Dr. Zaius. In the TV version of “The Planet of the Apes”). Dorn is the teller who claims he received the $20,000 deposit from Frazier.  Viola suspects her nebbish husband is playing around behind her back, giving Stu a photo claim ticket from Club Riptide.  Stu takes Kathy on a date to the pirate-themed Club Riptide and claims the photo, which shows Dorn and a suddenly beautiful, brunette Vogel together at the club.

Stu and Kathy return to further question Vogel, who finally admits she had been at the bar with Dorn, sent there on an all-expenses paid date by the "Psycho-Functional Institute" as part of their psychological "Cinderella" project! Stu returns to the Dorn house to find out who paid Dorn to lie about the money, only to find that Dorn's been murdered. Further questioning of Frazier turns up that he was scheduled to testify in the Denny Skipton (Glenn Cannon, “Hawaii 50” and “Magnum P.I.”) case, a murder which took place during a two-bit robbery. Kathy's boss and fiancé, lawyer Sam Venable (John Gabriel, "Ryan's Hope") is defending Denny, younger brother of real estate mogul Charles J. Skipton, and Frazier has evidence that Denny is innocent of the crime. Stu has one last run-in with the Old Salt.

Like all of the Season 6 episodes, this story is pretty much unrelentingly grim, leavened only by screenwriter Robert Leslie Bellem's signature use of hard-boiled slang (Stu's a "keyhole peeper", a "transom snoop", a "gumshoe"; Frazier's a "defrocked cop", etc.) and some decent acting by Malone and Gregg. There's nothing wrong with the script (if somewhat complicated, there were much easier ways for the villain to accomplish what he wants to do), but unlike previous seasons there's no Roscoe to lighten things up, no Suzanne to look beautiful, or Jeff to play slap guitar and sing Latin songs.  The cinematography seems uniformly dark.  Stu seems depressed, robotic, even when he's making out with the beautiful Nancy Malone.  

I could swear I saw Dick Van Dyke's stand-in, Frank Adamo, as one of the shopkeepers Stu questions.           

Edited by Tom Holmberg
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1 hour ago, Tom Holmberg said:

"Deposit With Caution" (Season 6, Episode 9) Stu Bailey rides the elevator to his new, lonely, depressing life.  New York Police detective John Frazier (perennial gangster Harold J. Stone) hires Stu to come to New York to clear him of bribery charges after $20,000 turns up in his bank account.  No sooner does Stu show up then he is beat up by an Old Salt (tough guy Ted de Corsia) in the lobby of Frazier's apartment.  Disheveled, Stu arrives at the apartment to meet Frazier and his hard-boiled daughter Kathy (Nancy Malone, Paul Burke’s girlfriend in “Naked City) ), who takes an immediate dislike to our favorite "transom snoop."  Bailey takes the case and tells Frazier to turn the money over to the police.

Frazier withdraws the money from his account, but is knocked out by the Old Salt and robbed before he can turn it in. The police and Frazier suspect Stu of the robbery, but he has an alibi. Stu questions homely, lovelorn bank teller Trudie Vogel (Virginia Gregg, Jack Webb’s go-to "Dragnet" character actress) about Dorn. She sends him to Dorn's house to talk to Viola Dorn (blonde broad Jean Carson, best known as Daphne, one of the “Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot” on “The Andy Griffith Show”), the disgruntled ex-showgirl wife of milquetoast bank teller Walter Dorn ( Booth Colman, Dr. Zaius. In the TV version of “The Planet of the Apes”). Dorn is the teller who claims he received the $20,000 deposit from Frazier.  Viola suspects her nebbish husband is playing around behind her back, giving Stu a photo claim ticket from Club Riptide.  Stu takes Kathy on a date to the pirate-themed Club Riptide and claims the photo, which shows Dorn and a suddenly beautiful, brunette Vogel together at the club.

Stu and Kathy return to further question Vogel, who finally admits she had been at the bar with Dorn, sent there on an all-expenses paid date by the "Psycho-Functional Institute" as part of their psychological "Cinderella" project! Stu returns to the Dorn house to find out who paid Dorn to lie about the money, only to find that Dorn's been murdered. Further questioning of Frazier turns up that he was scheduled to testify in the Denny Skipton (Glenn Cannon, “Hawaii 50” and “Magnum P.I.”) case, a murder which took place during a two-bit robbery. Kathy's boss and fiancé, lawyer Sam Venable (John Gabriel, "Ryan's Hope") is defending Denny, younger brother of real estate mogul Charles J. Skipton, and Frazier has evidence that Denny is innocent of the crime. Stu has one last run-in with the Old Salt.

Like all of the Season 6 episodes, this story is pretty much unrelentingly grim, leavened only by screenwriter Robert Leslie Bellem's signature use of hard-boiled slang (Stu's a "keyhole peeper", a "transom snoop", a "gumshoe"; Frazier's a "defrocked cop", etc.) and some decent acting by Malone and Gregg. There's nothing wrong with the script (if somewhat complicated, there were much easier ways for the villain to accomplish what he wants to do), but unlike previous seasons there's no Roscoe to lighten things up, no Suzanne to look beautiful, or Jeff to play slap guitar and sing Latin songs.  The cinematography seems uniformly dark.  Stu seems depressed, robotic, even when he's making out with the beautiful Nancy Malone.  

I could swear I saw Dick Van Dyke's stand-in, Frank Adamo, as one of the shopkeepers Stu questions.           

Please hear the applause and laughter.  From the first lines, I was hooked on your review.  The way you described Harold J Stone, Nancy Malone, Ted de Corsia and their semi-noir language was hysterical.  It's hard to believe Bellem came up with the "Phycho-Functional Institute" "Cinderella" project as a way to blackmail Dorn to have to effect needed for Denny's case.  It's clever in a bizarre way.  

This episode was unnecessarily grim.  Roscoe, Suzanne, Jeff, Kookie, or even J.R. are missed.  It's just so odd to change everything but the name.  And that was Frank Adamo as a shopkeeper.  

Thank you for a review so much better than this episode or season.  

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5 hours ago, wilsie said:

This episode was unnecessarily grim. 

I don't think the writing of the non-"5" episodes is bad, it's just they're all one tone- depressing.  I supposed WB saved money by firing the rest of the cast (and they do seem to have some better guest stars), but changing formats doesn't really work.  Any of these scripts could have been done under the old 77SS they would have been interspersed with lighter episodes.

Glad you saw Frank Adamo too! 

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Okay, I broke down and I'm reviewing some Season 6 episodes.  So sue me!

*

"The Toy Jungle" (Season 6, Episode 11) The invisible Hannah Steno Service jr. shows up and it turns out, this being 77SS (even if it's not the real 77SS), she's an attractive blonde given to wearing tight dresses to work. She's attractive, but just not attracted to Stu. (There's no chemistry between them.) Stu proceeds to give her his dictation, double entendre not intended.

 Toy store owner Harry Devlin (Russell Johnson, The Professor on "Gilligan's Island) goes to an after-sales meeting at a local hotel only to discover his wife Doris (Patricia Crowley, "Please Don't Eat the Daisies"), dressed as a no-so-cheap lamppost Jezebel, coming out of a seeming gangster's poker game. Doris denies she's Doris, so Harry hires Stu to discover the truth. Investigating, Stu questions the hotel staff including bellhop Eddie ("Laugh In"'s own Henry Gibson), who promises to meet Stu later and spill the dirt. Doris comes a-calling to Bailey's new office and denies she was at the hotel. She claims Harry has a steel plate in his head from the war and he suffers from, in essence, PTSD.

Eddie finally makes it to the Bradbury Building only to be beaten to a pulp by a goon before he can deliver the goods. Later at the hospital Eddie names Vince Santell (Robert Clarke, “The Hideous Sun Demon”) as the poker player. Stu follows the trail to Santell's apartment only to discover he moved out in a hurry.  His landlady however has the phone number of a message for Santell that lead's to Sam Reardon (famous face Cliff Osmond, playing his usual fat simpleton role), owner of Reardon Toy Co., a toy import business. Reardon gives Stu Santell's address and Santell stonewalls Stu, but as he leaves he finds Doris at Santell's doorstep.  She tries to give him the "I'm not Doris" routine, but since Stu doesn't have a steel plate in his head he follows her home and confronts her. Doris says Santell is an "old friend" and that she thought it would be better to convince Harry he was hallucinating than explain her relationship with Santell!

Stu returns to Santell's new apartment.  Santell is an ex-con on parole for narcotics dealing. Santell explains he knew Doris when she was a chanteuse in a bar and that Reardon was secretly in love with Doris and had secretly set Harry and Doris up in the toy business.  Doris goes missing, leading Stu to Doris's ex-theatrical agent (famous face Jerry Hauser, who usually played fast-talking grifters or show business types, famous for having been hired as a regular on "I Love Lucy" and getting in a fight with Desi and being fired after one episode).  The agent points Stu to Doris's ex-girlfriend Lorraine Holt, in La Mesa, Calif, whose house he wrecks. Back in LA Stu solves the mystery, gets in a gun fight and saves the day.

The producers seem to have sensed the show wasn't working and started something of a move back towards the old days as Stu gets a secretary, some humor is added to the script such as a stripper's "dog act" at agent's office, and all the women fall for irresistible Stu. They seem to be trying, and largely failing, to give Stu a little life.  All he needs now is a hip parking lot attendant and a degenerate gambler as sidekicks, and a move back to his old office.

The detective work on these episode seem to be Stu just going from person to person, then suddenly he solves the crime.  Not that the detective work on the old show was all that great, but those episodes had other virtues, and these are supposed to be more serious, more nourish.

 

I have to admit that of all the sitcom families on TV when I was a kid I wanted to be in the Nash family on “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.” I wonder if the sheepdog in this episode was Ladadog?

*

"The Fumble" (Season 6, Episode 12) Rex Randolph, so embarrassed by the failure of Bailey & Spencer, changes his name to Charlie Carmichael, gets marries and quits the exciting life of a Hollywood and Bourbon Street detective to take a boring job ad a mid-level flunky at a chemical company.

Charlie Carmichael (Richard Long) is another pathetic loser married to the boss' daughter, Diana (Gail Kobe, who went on to a long career producing TV soap operas).  Diana, another of Stu's endless line of old flames, hires Stu to be Charlie's watchdog during the important sales meeting weekend in San Diego (based on previous shows we know how that's going to turn out).  Diana's father, Frank Harrison (famous face Robert J. Simon, who usually played military men, mean business men, lawyers, etc., as well as Darren's father on "Bewitched") is threatening to firing Charlie because he's a drunk and a bore. Instead of watching Charlie, Stu hangs around the pool with sportswear model Jana (a busty Sue Ane Langdon), hired to demonstrate the company's presumably stretchy new "miracle fabric."

Stu handles Charlie's drinking problem by slugging him and having a shvitz with him. Paul Lundeen (famous face and Jack Webb best friend and regular, Stacy Harris), Charlie's assistant who is subtly vying for Charlie's job, is tapped by Frank to give the big presentation. While Stu makes time with Jana, Charlie gets blind drunk, blacks out and ends up in a cheap hotel room in Tijuana with a dead prostitute (who hasn't THAT happened to?).

Trying to hunt down Charlie Stu questions Charlie's old football buddy, slimy photographer, Art Shore (character actor Chet Stratton), who leads him to butch judo instructor Lynette King (Irish McCalla, TV's original "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle"), who leads him to Charlie's ex-college girlfriend Julia Morrison (Lenore Roberts), who sends him to Club Samba in Tijuana (where I almost expect Jeff will suddenly appear singing one of his Latin songs and slapping his guitar).  A Mexican taxi driver reveals that Charlie was followed by a car with Calif. plates. 

Back in San Diego a search of Charlie's room turns up a clue that reveals who set Charlie up and also killed that whore (not that anyone seems much concerned with that).  Stu saves Charlie's job and his marriage, though Charlie still remains a pathetic loser who only fell into a marriage with Diana and a job with Daddy's company because he fell on a fumbled football.

The episode was worth watching just for the scene with Irish McCalla giving judo instruction.  There's a theory that two of the later episodes during Season 5 were pilots for a new WB show. But the soap opera-y nature of these season 6 episodes make me wonder if those earlier episodes weren't pilots for the new, but unimproved Season 6 77SS?

*

Monday night/Tuesday morning's episode is another Robert Leslie Bellem written episode.

Edited by Tom Holmberg
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1 hour ago, Tom Holmberg said:

Okay, I broke down and I'm reviewing some Season 6 episodes.  So sue me!

Don't feel too bad, I recorded those two.  I started watching and will finish later.  I can get pulled into a lot of shows I really haven't planned on. watching.  I'll record shows sometime just in case.  I look forward to another Bellem episode.  

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I noticed they already changed the opening.  Instead of riding the elevator, Stu is walking down a street at night past lighted store windows.  I guess riding an elevator isn't exciting enough.  A few years later the openings of P.I. shows would have the star dodging speeding cars, having shootouts and getting into fisticuffs.  Also, Stu must have paid his electric bill because his office now has lights. 

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"Lovely Lady, Pity Me" (Season 1, Episode 2)  Jean Kingsley (Jeanne Cooper, “The Young and the Restless”) is being blackmailed by Bailey and Spencer occasional legman Charlie Dixon (Peter Breck, Nick Barkley, “The Big Valley”, first of 4 77SS appearances) and arrives at the offices of B&S to pay off the blackmailer.  Stu arrives in time to KO Dixon and explain to Kingsley that Dixon is freelancing. When he sees Kingsley out, he finds a Mysterious Lady (Kathleen Crowley, first of 7 77SS appearances) waiting in the lobby, who Stu tries to make time with. Stu goes on a date with his ML who won't tell him her name.

Mrs. Kingsley shows up at Dino's claiming she's still being blackmailed and that Dixon says Stu's in on it. Stu uses his detective skills to determine that the ML is married and when he meets her again, she's living around the corner from 77SS. returning from his tryst with Ann, the only name the ML will give him, he finds Dixon dead in his office. His first act on finding the body isn't to call the police, but to phone his ML, who he finds has disappeared. While he looks for Ann, the police show up at 77SS and put out an APB on Stu.

While Stu hides out at Ann's apartment, Spencer explains to him that without Ann as an alibi Stu's suspect number one in Dixon's murder. To compound the firm's legal problems, Spencer impersonates a police officer to question Ann's landlord.  He discovers that Dixon had called Ann, making it seem as if she might have been working with Dixon to set up Stu, remembering he's a detective, Stu works out that his ML is actually Ann Melville, wife of multi-millionaire Martin Melville (John Dodsworth). At palatial Melville Manor, Ann tells Stu she can't provide Stu an alibi without her husband finding out she's been two-timing him. Either Stu goes to prison for murder or Ann's husband divorces her.  Stu discovers a third alternative and the police arrest the actual killer.

Suzanne takes dictation (she's not an answering service yet and they have her dressed in business attire) and the comb-wielding Kookie reels off a dictionary worth of slang.  There's no Gil yet, or Roscoe, or Frankie Ortega. Roger Smith, in his first appearance, is little more than wallpaper.  Famous face Barney Phillips (“Twilight Zone”) plays the cop.  The story is credited to Stu Bailey's creator Roy Huggins, from his (presumably) Stu Bailey novel.

 

*

 

"A Nice Social Evening" (Season 1, Episode 3) This episode falls squarely in the 77SS groove, lots of girls, a wealthy client and some humor to leaven the mystery.  Federico Velasquez, El Adorado, millionaire Latin American playboy (Ray Danton, obviously enjoying himself in a silly role) has been threatened and the US government has to keep him alive while he's on US soil.  Of course, they hire Bailey & Spencer for the job.  Stu takes Velasquez slumming at Dino's, providing the willing women while Frankie Ortega provides the music. Delivering Velasquez safely to his yacht, Stu returns home to find two thugs (including Seinfeld's Uncle Leo, not really, he just looks like him) in his apartment.  Giving the thugs a thorough (and speeded up) thrashing, he then lets them go, for no logical reason.

The following night, Velasquez tries to kill himself and Stu with a round of hard partying at all the hotspots on the Strip with the beautiful women Stu provides to keep Velasquez distracted (including Dorothy Provine as Betty). As dawn breaks Stu and Velasquez switch cars and Stu, mistaken for El Adorado gets driven off the road.  Stu's government handler informs him that Velasquez is planning a big farewell birthday bash on board his yacht, while Velasquez' assassin (Mario Alcalde) plans to make the party an even bigger bang than Velasquez plans (for no real reason. It’s never really explained why anyone wants Velasquez dead, other than vague hints that his Latin American country is a dictatorship, but the two thugs are government security men).

Stu, Jeff, Kookie, and Frankie Ortega are all invited to the party along with the mad bomber, disguised as a waiter. Hiding the bomb in the birthday cake, set to go off at midnight, the assassin discovers that Velasquez has decided to take the yacht out for an unplanned cruise, trapping him and the party-goers on board with the time-bomb ticking. Uncle Leo knocks the assassin unconscious, while Stu, Jeff and Kookie look frantically for the bomb they somehow deduced is on board. Having already disabled the bomber, Uncle Leo knocks out Stu and locks him in the brig with the killer.  Jeff busts Stu out of lockup just as the cake is delivered to Velasquez and the clock ticks down to midnight.

Jeff still seems to be a supernumerary, though he gets more screen time than last time.  Kookie still combs his hair and spouts argot. Suzanne is on her switchboard in this episode.  Still no Gil or Roscoe.

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"Casualty" (Season 1, Episode 4) This is not an early episode of “The Walking Dead.”   Jeff is hired by “Plain Jane” Mrs. Dolan (Adrienne Marden, married to famous face Whit Bissell) to locate her late husband, who she has seen still walking around LA (it is the City of Angeles, after all). Dolan had died, seemingly taking a tumble from a tall building, after cleaning out their joint account and even stealing her wedding ring, leaving his wife broke with two young waifs. Jeff employs racing tout Roscoe, in his first appearance (sans his traditional costume, but he does already call Suzanne "Frenchy"), to dig up dirt on known horse player Dolan. (The tobacconist shop where Mrs. Dolan saw her husband turns out to be a bookie joint.)  Jeff follows Roscoe's lead to Dolan's rooming house, where he's informed by the owner Miss McDougal (Nancy Kulp of "The Beverly Hillbillies"), that Dolan is now Eugene Selkirk (Keith Richards, yet another busy character actor.  WB was milking their studio scale players in this episode) and that he too had died in a fall into a construction site, and his new wife (the sexy Dolores Donlon. Dolan had obviously traded up when it came to marriage) had moved after receiving his life insurance payout.

Using the leads he got from nosy Miss McDougal Jeff has Kookie stake out the new Dolan/Selkirk digs, where the couple is living as Paul and Joyce Wentworth.  Jeff determines that Dolan and company are serial insurance fraudsters and gets the job from Dolan/Selkirk's insurance company to get evidence to bring them to justice. Exhuming Selkirk's body along with an assistant coroner, they find only a casket full of bricks.

Disguised as a Bill Foster, an accomplice of the crooks, on info from Kookie, Jeff shows up at the Dolan/Selkirk/Wentworth house and makes a date with the busty Joyce Selkirk/Wentworth. Unbeknownst to Jeff, the real Bill Foster (overworked character actor Walter Reed who showed up on almost every TV show in the 50s and 60s) is already at the Wentworth house.  Foster follows Jeff back to 77SS and, seeing that Jeff is really a P.I. hot on their trail, Foster, Dolan/Selkirk/Wentworth and the rest of the gang plot to eliminate our favorite shamus and use his body in one of their insurance schemes.

Jeff gets his first starring episode. Jeff does some actual detective work, follows leads, gets in a fight and shootout and ends up with a decent episode. All that’s missing is some wealthy clients and Hollywood starlets. The whole 77SS cast, except for Gil, is now assembled, though their roles aren't all set yet.  Suzanne calls Jeff "Mr. Spencer", as mentioned Roscoe's costume isn't on yet and his weekly role not yet clear, but Kookie is already getting P.I. training (though he does drag Joyce Taylor, who also appeared in the previous episode, around on his assignment for Jeff, so he can combine work with a little make out session).

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"Casualty" (Season 1, Episode 5) "I just want to say one word to you. Just one word... Plastics."-"The Graduate." The Las Vegas Meteor Casino is losing their shirts and need Bailey & Spencer to investigate.  Someone is cheating the casino by passing counterfeit $100 chips on the casino floor. Casino executive Cranston McDonald (famous face, character actor Russ Conway,) hires Stu, giving him the low-down on how the chips are manufactured. Stu checks out the company that manufactures the chips, Acme Plastics (well-known as the company of choice by coyotes worldwide). At Acme Stu learns that the company takes as many precautions as the U.S. Mint in manufacturing the chips, even including "sintered aluminum powder" in the chips. He also learns that the former manufacturing chief quit to start his own plastics company.

Teaming up with Kookie (who's driving the famous Kookie Kar, which he should have driven throughout the show, especially instead of that crummy Ford Falcon), Stu pretends to be a vacuum cleaner salesman when he visits Anton Krieger's (famous face Otto Waldis, busy character actor, frequently playing villians or henchmen) rival plastics company. Demonstrating the efficiency of his vacuum on the factory floor, Stu sweeps up incriminating "sintered aluminum powder." Staking out Krieger's factory, Las Vegas loser and drunken ex-pharmacist Richardson appears to be the go-between for the phony chips.

In Las Vegas showgirl and aspiring nightclub singer Diane Adams (Ruta Lee, first of five 77SS appearances), picks up the chips for her boyfriend Chicago gangster Frank "Frenchy" La Tour (famous face, bad guy Brad Dexter, “The Magnificent Seven”).  Jeff sends Stu to Miami to meet with gambler Chick Brouse, who sets Stu up with the identity of crooked gambler and small-time hood Larry Costigan. 

Back in Las Vegas, Stu engineers a meeting with Diane, who later introduces Stu as Costigan to Frenchy.  Stu ingratiates himself with Frenchy at a poker game while one of Frenchy's button men checks Stu out.  Frenchy intends to enlist Stu in helping pass the counterfeit chips. Unfortunately, a L.A. mobster turns up who identifies Stu to Frenchy. 

Frenchy uses Diane to set up Stu for a fall, by filling his cigarette lighter with nitroglycerin (there isn't an easier way of killing someone? But then again the Surgeon General has warned that cigarettes are bad for your health). Stu ends up in a poker game with Frenchy and his goons, where Stu turns the table uses the lighter to get the goods on the counterfeiters.

Pretty much a template 77SS episode, except they still haven't got the rest of the cast to lighten the story with a little humor yet.  For instance, this would have been a perfect episode for Roscoe to appear in, but sadly nope. Dyan Cannon (as Diane Cannon) had a bit part, in an early appearance in her long career. Ray Teal (Sheriff Coffee from “Bonanza” also has a bit part, letting the air out of Diane Adams’ tire)

*

"Two and Two Make Six" (Season 1, Episode 6) A gimpy assassin want ex-con, war hero Bruce Wayne- no, Ernie Detterback (Adam West) dead.  Beautiful dress designer Alice Detterback (Whitney Blake, Dorothy Baxter “Mrs. B” on “Hazel.” She was also the creator of the series “One Day at a Time.”), Ernie's wife, picks up Jeff in Dino's and hires him to investigate the attempts on her husband's life.  Alice knows Jeff because he was the one who put Ernie in prison (or as Jeff says, Ernie's hold up of jewelry messenger, Jim Bird, put Ernie in prison).

On a trip to stately Detterback manor someone takes a shot at Jeff. Jeff pursues leads by a trip to Nelson's Department store where Alice works.  There a sleazy elevator operator, Baldwin (famous face Karl Swenson, "Little House on the Prairie") gives Jeff a tip that store exec Clyde Shafter (John Stephenson, Mr. Slate from “The Flintstones”), Alice's boss, occasionally drives Alice home after the store closes. When Ernie threatens Jeff over involving his wife in the investigation he forgets his cigarette case, with the names Bolton, Conover, Highsmith, Klee, Lazarra and Shafter engraved inside.

Back at stately Dettterback manor to question Ernie and Alice, Jeff gets attacked by a thug in the street, but the thug gets plugged by the mysterious assassin before Jeff can question him. At police HQ not-Gil police detective Coletti (Barney Phillips, in his second appearance as Coletti) questions Jeff, Ernie and Shafter.  Aiding Jeff's investigation Coletti finds that Conover, Lazarra and Klee are all dead.  The next day Shafter falls from the sixth floor of his department store.

Obviously the cigarette case in the common denominator in all the deaths.  After much hemming and hawing Detterback recalls that he picked up the cigarette case from messenger Jim Bird in the jewelry hold up he was arrested for. Locating Prof. Highsmith (the unfortunately named Douglas Dick), the college professor (you can tell he's a professor, he wears glasses) recalls there was a Klee in his unit in Korea. Later Highsmith turns up at stately Detterback manor with Jeff, Ernie and Alice.  Highsmith, who claims he had been followed all day, tells Jeff that he remembered a Bolton from Korea. He had been hold up in a cave with five other random soldiers, hiding from the Chi Coms.  One of the men was a badly wounded Bolton. Highsmith, Klee and the others left the badly injured Bolton in the cave as they made their escape.  Jeff knows now that someone wanted to kill the five soldiers who left Bolton behind and Detterback was involved only because he had the cigarette case, the key to the whole case (so to speak). How Jeff wraps up the case is an unintentional hoot.

The ex-soldier revenge plot is something of a cliché (usually its ex-POWs being killed) but it still works, though I thought the guilty party was pretty obvious from the beginning.  The producers still seem to be treating the show as a straight forward mystery series, with little humor except for Kookie's banter.

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"All Our Yesterdays." (Season 1, Episode 7) "Title. Title. Title." Sleazy Henry Lane (famous face Herbert Rudley, Eve Arden’s husband in“The Mothers-in-Law”) hires Stu to keep an eye on his wealthy former silent movie queen Lucinda Lane (real former silent movie star Doris Kenyon, in real life Kenyon started her own production company). Stu arrives at the palatial Lane mansion to be greeted by Lucinda's icy blonde personal assistant Marcia Frome (Merry Anders, first of five 77SS appearances).  Stu is going to be producer of the big budget, narrow screen, black and white, silent movie Lucinda is financing for her comeback.

Stu discovers that Henry wants to get his hands on the foolish old woman Lucinda's fortune before she blows it all on a silent movie remake of her big hit "Foolish Girl" by proving her incompetent when he finds him in his office reading his files. Stu's first job as producer is to reassemble the old silent movie gang for the film. With some help from Kookie, Stu locates director Harkness Jones (Owen McGiveney) directing traffic as a school crossing guard.  Drunken screenwriter Roderick Delaquois (John Carradine, progenitor of the whole Carradine clan) is living in a shack as a beach bum on the beach at Malibu (possibly a neighbor of J.R.). Lucinda's male lead Bramwell Stone (real-life silent matinee idol Francis X. Bushman, the silent "Ben-Hur") is retired, boring his uninterested family with stories of old Hollywood.

Stu finds a whole flock of hungry Lane buzzards in his office-cousin Charles Lane (character actor John Hubbard), his wife Marion, and Henry's wife Harriet-all eager to get the case started.  Stu threatens to quash the case if they pursue it and Henry figures they can wait for more evidence before proceeding.

Back at the Lane mansion Marcia gives Stu a good slapping for his part in the plot and Stu removes her glasses and gives her a good smacking, on the lips. Stu confesses he didn't know what Henry and the rest were planning when he took the job.  When Stu tries to get Lucinda to cut back on expenses or at least film a talkie, Lucinda extravagantly says she may spend more than the original million dollars she planned, including buying a movie studio.

Henry visits Stu at Dino's to pump him for information (where Frankie Ortega gets in a nice musical joke), while cousin Charlie gets a visit from loan sharks wanting the money he owes them.  Charles sics the goons on Stu, who beat him up and dump him in a cheap hotel with stolen money, all set up to be arrested.  But Lucinda and Marcia ride to the rescue and bail Stu out. Now Stu is able to ethically quit working for the Lanes, but continues as Lucinda's producer.  Even Lucinda's old-time associates on the film are now worried by how much she is spending. Stu gets a subpoena to appear at the Lane's commitment hearing.  A visit to Lucinda's doctor before the hearing clarifies everything for Stu wrapping up the case with everybody happy, except maybe greedy cousin Charlie.  Marcia's so happy she takes off her own glasses for a kiss from Stu (proving that girls who wear glasses do make passes).

An effective sentimental story and tribute to the stars of the silent screen, who would soon be passing on. One of the strengths of shows from this era was that it was common practice to vary the mood of the show, interspersing humorous episodes, serious episodes, sentimental episodes, message episodes, etc. Also appearing (uncredited) in the episode was silent movie comedian "Snub" Pollard.

 

*

 

"The Well-Selected Frame." (Season 1, Episode 8)  Jeff hangs around city parks trying to pick up beautiful women. A beautiful woman, Valerie Stacey (sultry Peggie Castle), picks him up instead.  She wants to hire him to stop her husband, Howard Stacey (famous face Bartlett Robinson, "To Serve Man" episode of “The Twilight Zone”) who's in love with his secretary, from trying to murder her to avoid alimony.  Stu suggests she contact the police, but Valerie insists she wants him to investigate. Valerie suggests that Jeff come and stay at the house, disguised as an architect, to better keep a private eye on the situation.

At the Stacey house Jeff meets Lotus Wong (Francis Fong), introduced with a totally racist gong, Howard and Alec Lewis (Richard Webb, “Captain Midnight”), Valerie's brother. Meeting with Valerie in the garden, she lays a big thank you kiss on him just as the butler appears.  Valerie tells Jeff she needs to meet with him later, in private, in her room. Jeff again suggests the police, wanting to get out of the job, but Valerie insists only Jeff can help her.

In her room, Valerie whacks Jeff over the head with a poker. And when he awakens he finds his gun in his hand and a dead husband.  Valerie and Alec is also present and a pack of police are just outside.  Jeff jumps out a window and hides in Lotus' room, after spying on her in a bubble bath. Jeff escapes from the house with the assistance of Lotus after calling Stu for assistance. Jeff hitchhikes to a beach house (that looks suspiciously like J.R.'s Malibu house) to find Lotus waiting for him (okay, don't ask how, they can't explain it).  With an APB out for him Jeff does the only logical thing, naturally he goes for a swim with Lotus. Stu eventually shows up to offer little help besides the fact that Valerie was previously married to a pilot shot down over Korea.

Jeff returns to the scene of the crime to question Alec, which consists mainly of a knock down, drag out fight.  Valerie offers Jeff two alternatives, claim that he killed Howard in self-defense when he attacked him with the poker and she'll give him $10 million of her inheritance for a couple of years in prison, or she'll claim that Jeff murdered Howard in cold blood and she knocked him out with the poker and Jeff will get the electric chair. Not great choices for our hero.

At the coroner's jury, in a not very exciting dénouement, Jeff takes the third alternative, telling the whole truth and having his lawyer question the somewhat confused Alec. The truth will out.

A par for the course 77SS episode in the noir tradition, with beautiful dames and wealthy suspects. The rest of the cast has little to do.

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@Tom Holmberg  "All Our Yesterdays" is one of my favorite episodes.  I like the story, the old actors and how Stu treats Lucinda with kindness and respect.  For me, it would have been better, if Lucinda would have disinherited her greedy family and left her money to a home for retired actors.  

"The Well-Selected Frame" was alright.  I was so glad when Jeff outsmarted Valerie who couldn't imagine him passing up $10 million.  

And I'll tell you, I flinch every time a tv detective gets hit on the head with something.  I do a lot of flinching,

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6 hours ago, wilsie said:

And I'll tell you, I flinch every time a tv detective gets hit on the head with something.  I do a lot of flinching,

That's sort of a P.I. cliché.  They were always getting knocked out to further the story. I wonder why we don't hear about CTEs in P.I.s? 

Yes, Lucinda should have cut the whole bunch off.  She probably would today and set up a foundation for retired show business types.  It's more than likely a 50s thing.

The "Strangers on a Train" episode is coming up.

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"The Vicious Circle." (Season 1, Episode 10) Blake Catto (game show host Bert Convy) has been kidnapped by former associates (including familiar bad guy actor Frank DeKova) of his ex-mob boss father Lou Catto (famous face Harold J. Stone, once again typecast as a gangster).  The only witness to the crime was Kookie, who reported the crime to a disbelieving police department.  When he reports the crime to Jeff, he also discounts the story. Lou Catto and his ex-gangster associate Pete Schreiber (famous face George Tobias, usually dim-witted henchmen or pal to the hero, though best known as Abner Kravitz from “Bewitched”) deliver the $150,000 ransom to the crooks and they let sonny boy loose.

Blake Catto, a lawyer by profession, tells papa that he should report the crime to the police and let them handle it.  Lou doesn't think the cops will investigate a crime committed against a ex-mob boss. Just when Lou thinks he's out, his former associates pull him back into the world of crime. Lou intends to deal with the problem the "Chicago way." Blake visits Lt. Gilmore (finally joining the cast) but Gil says he can do nothing unless his father swears out a complaint.  But after Blake leaves his office, Gil orders some discreet inquiries be made.

With seeming police indifference, Blake hires Stu to get evidence that there was a kidnapping and to identify the kidnappers. Even though blindfolded the whole time, Blake was able to make some useful observations using his other senses to provide some clues about the crime.  Jeff assigns Roscoe to check with his underworld contacts for any info.

Jeff has Stu consult with Gil, who was in the OSS with Stu during WWII.  He also gets Kookie up at 5 a.m. to assist in locating where Blake was held by the kidnappers, using the clues Blake has provided (including the fact, repeatedly mentioned that Blake could tell by the smell that the shack was near a chicken farm).  Jeff, Kookie and Blake drive out into the hills to locate the shack. Unknown to them, Lou and Pete are tailing them. Unknown to them, Lt. Gilmore and Sgt. Finnegan are tailing them. They all wind up at the shack, where the crooks are still conveniently hiding out.

A siege of the shack is undertaken by the allied good guys, with Kookie manning a teargas gun (and combing his hair between shots).

During the walk through the woods, Kookie talks about his days in the Army, even though later on in the show's run its made clear Kookie was in the Navy.  

At last, all the pieces of the traditional 77SS are in place. Roscoe is used as legman. Gil is their police contact. Frankie Ortega plays at Dino's (where Stu tries a grasshopper). There is witty banter among the cast members- Suzanne tells Kookie he'll never be a P.I. because he couldn't find a bear in a phone booth.

 

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"One False Step." (Season 1, Episode 11) Or "Strangers on a Plane."  Wastrel mystery writer Marc Harrington (Richard Long, effectively playing the villain), pretending to be John Smith, gets in a discussion with congressional aide David Evans (Edward Kemmer, “Space Patrol”, but not Trump’s space patrol), on board a plane from Washing, D.C. to LA. Marc suggests to David, who's trying to get his wife to agree to a divorce, that they swap murders.  Marc will kill David's wife and David will kill Marc's wealthy aunt.  Without a motive they would be perfect crimes.  David thinks Marc is joking at first, but later as he is leaving the airport and he finds marc returning immediately to Washington, he decides Marc is serious.

David hires Bailey & Spencer to protect his estranged wife (and we know how that will end up). Stu flies out to Washington with David. Meanwhile, the much more efficient Marc has already stalked and met David's wife. Stu warns Mildred Evans (Lynn Bernay, Bernay went on to a long career as a costume designer) that she's in danger and stakes out her apartment.  There he discovers that Pat Forsyth (Connie Stevens), sister of David new fiancée, Diana Forsyth, also watching the apartment. Marc calls Mildred and makes a date for dinner.

Marc drives Mildred out to the river with the promise of dinner on a yacht, and with some nicely tricky camera work, Marc strangles her. Marc meets David outside his home and to David's horror informs him that he fulfilled his part of the bargain.  The police show up and run David in for questioning.  The police also bring in Stu, who lies about what he's been up to.

Marc contacts David with instructions for killing his aunt Ella (familiar face Isabel Randolph, often playing snooty society matrons), using the fact that he has David's lighter, which he had stolen on the plane, as leverage to get David to finish his half of their bargain. Jeff, using the info that Marc's book was published by a vanity press that Marc had let slip to David, gives Stu John Smith's real name.  Stu, using his brilliant detective skills, manages (after much paging through the H's) to find Marc Harrington's name in the phone book.

Channeling her inner Nancy Drew, Pat goes to the Harrington house to try to find David's lighter, only to find Stu hiding in the closet.  Stu comes out of the closet (not that way!), while Pat find's Mildred's glasses. Pat puts the glasses on to show Stu., just as Marc walks in and sees her.  The guilty, and quite insane, Marc, thinking the woman is Mildred faints dead away. letting Stu and Pat escape.

When Marc calls David with the final instructions and threats, David hangs up on him.  Enraged, Marc returns to the scene of the crime to plant the lighter, only to see Mildred's ghost (played by Pat) haunting him. Marc goes completely around the bend at the sight.

When I first saw this episode, I was like WTF, it's "Strangers on a Train"! But the show credits Patricia Highsmith for the original book and Raymond Chandler for the original screenplay, so they weren't trying to fool anybody.  Obviously, considering the source, this is a very effective thriller.

Richard Long is very good playing the psycho villain (though you have to wonder who he was sleeping with to keep getting roles on 77SS?). The show rarely got this stylish with its camera work either. One of the better episodes, if not a typical 77SS episode. Richard Long and Connie Stevens would go on to star in other 77SS spinoffs. Richard Long would even join Bailey & Spencer for a season, and Connie Stevens would record "Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb" with Edd Byrnes. Should be considered one of the top episodes of the series.

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"Hit and Run." (Season 1, Episode 13) Kookie borrows Stu's T-Bird for a date with the cute college student Chick Hammons (the beautiful Susan Randall, looking cute in a pair of cat's-eye glasses). On the way there Kookie passes the scene of a hit-and-run accident.  Soon after he's chased and tried to be run off the road by a big black car, that crashes, barely missing a pedestrian. Kookie rushes to the scene of the accident to find the woman driver badly disfigured by the crash. Kookie asks the lucky pedestrian to call an ambulance while he stays with the injured driver.

The police arrive and immediately assume that hot-rodder Kookie, being a "punk kid" (despite his actual age, as Kookie even points out), was the cause of the accident. The police also reveal that Kookie's witness never called them.  At the station the police give Kookie the third-degree until Stu shows up to bail Kookie out. The accident victim was former actress Liz Murray (Gloria Robertson, in a thankless role she spends wrapped like a mummy, perhaps explaining her short career in movies and TV) trophy wife of wealthy contractor Robert Clark Murray (famous face Robert H. Harris, who, despite his background was often cast as a variety of ethnic types).

Stu and Kookie go to visit Murray, who seems more concern about his wife's good-looks than her well-being. Murray informs them that he intends to prosecute Kookie and sue Bailey & Spencer for negligence. Later Murray visits his distraught wife at the hospital and she tells him that she had planned to tell him that night (after hat shopping) that she was going to leave him and return to her acting career.

Stu enlists Kookie's girlfriend Chick, an art student, to produce a drawing of Kookie's missing witness.  Meanwhile the missing witness finds Murray first and blackmails him to keep quiet and leave town.  With the finished drawing, Jeff calls Kookie in to do his usual canvassing of skid row for info on the missing witness. Murray drops into 77ss to inform Stu and Kookie that he'll drop his case if Kookie takes the blame, otherwise he'll sue the pants off of them.  Kookie decides "It ain't honest" and Stu agrees.

Murray has the missing witness cooped up in a skid row flophouse.  The witness decides he wants more of Murray's filthy lucre.  A fight ensues and Murray accidentally kills the witness.  Stu shows up at the flophouse (tipped off by Roscoe's sleuthing) just as the police show up. Together they go to question the mystery man, only to find him dead.  A search of the room locates $500.

The police show up at the Murray's with Stu to question Liz and the truth comes out.  Kookie, no longer under a cloud of suspicion, finally gets his date with Chick (lucky dog!).     

The episode demonstrates that, given something to work with, Edd Byrnes was a pretty good actor. I think I mentioned that as a young boy I thought Beaver's teacher, as played by Sue Randall, pretty hot.  Not at all like my teachers who tended to be old maids (but probably weren't really that old). No Gil, despite homicide being involved. No Suzanne. The Kookie Kar makes another welcomed appearance, though.

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@Tom Holmberg  Another great review!  I love that Kookie and Sue Randall were in this and Stu was a great support for Kookie but boy was it heavy-handed in the woman's beauty being the most important aspect of what had happened.  What a despicable person she was, too.  Hit and run, she caused her own injuries when trying to cover that up, and knowingly letting someone else take the blame.  Her husband was a real piece of work, too.  He was far from being attractive but he wanted this beautiful reflection of his value as a man.  And was willing to put the blame on Kookie.  They deserved each other.

And I realize it's almost 60 years ago but for the police to treat Kookie the way they did.  Shameful.  Sue Randall was so cute with her cat's eye glasses.  I always loved the way she treated her students on LITB.  

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I still find Sue Randall attractive.  I liked her in "Desk Set", a movie that always seems to be more relevant to today whenever I see it (with the dangers of AI taking away jobs).  It's a pity she died at such a young age.   

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"Hit and Run." (Season 1, Episode 14) "Double Indemnity." One of just a handful of Suzanne-centric episodes. Jewelry importer Mike Lamson (Phillip Terry, the 3rd Mr. Joan Crawford) died in a car accident on the same day that Suzanne's brother and the Lamson's chauffeur Marcel disappeared.  Suzanne asks Jeff to help her locate her brother.  After a visit to the Lamson residence, Jeff takes Suzanne to Dino's for dinner, show more than an employer employee interest in the attractive Suzanne. (Frankie Ortega plays a great cha cha version of the 77SS theme song.)

It turns out that Hollywood costumer designer Mrs. Lamson (Carole Mathews, who usually was cast as a hard-boiled dame) owes her broker considerable amount of money on a stock transaction.  She hopes to use some of the money from the double indemnity life insurance policy to pay off the debt and live handsomely.

Jeff tasks Roscoe to check up with Marcel's race track cronies (he'd previously been found guilty in a scheme by a gang passing phony winning betting slips) to see if they've seen or heard from Marcel. Jeff questions not-Gil police Sgt. Egan (character actor Francis de Sales) about the accident in which Lamson's body was burned beyond recognition. When questions Lamson's acquaintances they all say he didn't have an enemy in the world.  Roscoe reports back that Marcel was seen hanging out with a beatnik chick named Barrie (this week) who frequents the local beatnik coffeehouses.

Jeff takes Kookie with him to act as interpreter on a tour the coffeehouses (a good job for the argot slinging Kookie).  They discover Barrie (a stoned out Louise Glenn) at the Chez Paulette.  Jeff tries to question her, which is not easy, even with Kookie translating.  He tries to soften her up by playing his trademark slap guitar.

At Zenith Studios Jeff questions Mrs. Lamson again, who is becoming concerned about Jeff's persistence. Jeff has Kookie tail Mrs. Lamson, who visits the Valley Hotel near the studio. Jeff has a snack at the hotel, taking a matchbook as a souvenir.  Back at Mrs. Lamson's office Jeff concedes he's getting nowhere fast and conveniently leaves the matchbook on her desk.  At the Lamsons' insurance company Jeff offers to save them the double indemnity pay off if they pay the firm of Bailey & Spencer a nice fee.

Mrs. Lamson calls Suzanne saying her brother just contacted her and to meet her at the studio.  Jeff follows her to Mrs. Lamson's office after putting on his shoulder holster.  At the office Jeff finally puts two and two together.  A chase through the studio and some gun play brings the case to a close. 

I didn't appreciate Kookie calling Suzanne "The French wench."  It seemed out of character.  Throughout the episode Jeff is obviously trying to make time with Suzanne, even making a tentative proposal, which Suzanne rejects. It would have ruined  some of the dynamic of the show if they had pursued this line, so fortunately they didn't.  Dead End kid, Bobby Jordan, had a cameo as the auto mechanic.

The Chez Paulette was the name of an actual Sunset Strip coffeehouse that was located across the street from Dino's.  When Jeff visits he speaks briefly to the owner, played by the actual owner of Chez Paulette, Max Lewin.  The Chez Paulette was an elite coffeehouse frequented by the younger Hollywood set, Marlon Brando, James Coburn, James Dean, Jack Nicholson, Steve McQueen, and the like.  Sally Kellerman and Rue McClanahan were both waitresses at the actual Chez Paulette. 

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@Tom Holmberg  I'm sorry I missed this Suzanne-centric episode.  I've probably seen it but it doesn't ring a bell.   Kookie calling Suzanne "The French Wench" and Jeff's romantic interest in her is just part of them figuring out where they're going with the show.  Like you wrote, thankfully they went in another direction.   I watched "The Secret of Adam Cain" and really enjoyed the end.  It was Stu in another country but I liked the characters better in this.

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13 hours ago, wilsie said:

 I watched "The Secret of Adam Cain" and really enjoyed the end.

I didn't watch that on the theory that Stu went overseas.  It's possible I saw it before, but I don't remember it. I'll have to watch it next time around.  They were definitely trying to figure out the relationships of the main characters.  Jeff still is trying to be the hard-boiled dick, he lightens up later.

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"The Girl Who Couldn't Remember." (Season 1, Episode 16) Mobster Silky Callahan (George N. Neise, played villains in “Three Stooges” shorts ) is gunned down by some out-of-town professionals in his house (a la Bugsy Siegel) with Lorraine (Nancy Gates, "Suddenly") witnessing the hit, after getting a $10,000 payoff. Fleeing the scene of crime, Lorraine hits her head on a lamppost, getting TV's most ubiquitous disease, amnesia. Stumbling onto Hollywood Blvd. she sees Dr. Langton's (Brad Weston, 2nd of eight 77SS appearances) office.  Langton treats her injury and contacts his old buddy, Jeff Spencer, to help the unknown woman rediscover her identity.  There's $10,000 in cash in her purse and a matchbook with the initials "SC."

Jeff enlists Kookie's help to keep an eye on the girl with the "smog in the noggin", who they name Sandra Carter.  Jeff takes Lorraine's fingerprints and goes to LAPD HQ to get a match and check out the missing persons files.  At the same time Gil is questioning Silky's common-law wife Florence (Scream Queen Kathleen Hughes) and her lawyer Sid de Forest (Harvey Stephens, former leading man and Broadway star reduced to TV walk-ons).  We discover that Lorraine was really Mrs. Silky Callahan, and the $10,000 was to buy a divorce settlement.

Jeff questions Florence, who plays dumb. Afterwards, eager to get her claws on Silky's ill-gotten gains, Florence promises mob shyster de Forest half the inheritance to inform his underworld clients of Lorraine's existence. Mitch (John Vivyan, best known as TV's "Mr.  Lucky") and out-of-town goon number two stake out the offices at 77SS, following Jeff back through time to downtown 1940s LA (courtesy of some WB stock footage) and Lorraine's hotel.

Mitch goes to Lorraine's room pretending to be her husband, armed with some faked photos of him and Marian/Lorraine.  Kookie checks the fake husband out, while Jeff turns up followed by out-of-town goon number two.  Jeff wrestles the gun from out-of-town goon number two and ties him up, showing up at Lorraine's room in the nick of time.

A middle of the road episode with a familiar plot, in which Jeff is still seemingly uncomfortable in his role.  Kookie gets to comb his hair and talk beat, reet?

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"Dark Vengeance." (Season 1, Episode 17)  "This is your brain on drugs."  John Cosgrove (Jerome Thor, star of the early 50s show "Foreign Intrigue"), host of the public affairs show "The Cosgrove Report", is shot and blinded by the narcotics mob in a effort to silence him.  Cosgrove is railing against "The Mainline Men", "The Killers in Silk", "The Dealers in Death" on his show.  A close friend of Cosgrove's, Stu opens an investigation to find the man behind the attempted killing.  While commiserating with Cosgrove Stu meets Cosgrove's secretary, Margot (Adele Mara, former singer with pre-Charo Xavier Cugat, B movie actress and wife of 77SS creator Roy Huggins)

Questioning a witness to the shooting who's been intimidated into silence, Stu picks up a tail, gang member Banjo (Jonathan Haze, actor, director, producer, chief cook and bottle washer, best known as Seymour in Roger Corman's "The Little Shop of Horrors"), who picks up a tail by Jeff.  Discovering that Banjo's drug contact is a pin boy at local bowling alleys, Stu makes the rounds of the lanes, only to have Banjo bowl a strike before Stu can question him.

Getting the name of the pin boy and an address at the bowling alley, Stu takes Kookie to the address, which turns out to be a 1950s TV version of a wild party attended by hep cat, the Seagull, who talks to much and is knocked off by Trigger (Michael Harris), and trigger is knocked off to close the circle.  Getting no closer to the mob's Mr. Big, Stu takes Margot, who is a recovered addict on a couple of dates, unsuspectedly setting her up for the dope mob.

Meanwhile Mr. Big, Vincent Barrett (famous face Barry Kelley, busy Hollywood bad guy), hires Jeff to do some investigating on a made-up case. The mob rehooks Margo on the junk. Knowing that it was Cosgrove's continued reports on the dope mob that got Banjo killed, Stu holds back info from Cosgrove. On the nog, Margo agrees to set up Stu to get a fix, but gets a conscience at the last minute.

Cosgrove secretly gets his sight back. Jeff gets chloroformed by the mob and held in an abandoned warehouse.  Barrett calls Bailey & Spencer and Cosgrove recognizes the voice as Mr. Big.  Everyone winds up at Barrett's packing heat and its just a question of who'll shoot first.     

An over-the-top "message" episode (unusual for 77SS, which usually avoided them) which is entertaining mainly for its hyperbolic storyline.

 

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"Conspiracy of Silence." (Season 1, Episode 18) "Where's Blutto when you need him?" San Juan College coed Helen Charles is murdered in a nearby park after running away from her date. Jeff, undercover as a student (wearing J.R.s sweaters to prove he’s a student, sort of like Susan Randall wearing glasses to prove she was an art student in a previous episode), has been hired by Johanna Martin's otherwise inattentive father (William Ching, “D.O.A.”) to protect his daughter after she received threatening notes.

Prof. Carlos Traynor's (famous face Gerard Mohr, usually played heavies due to his resemblance to Bogart, also the voice of Reed Richards in the 1960s “Fantastic Four” cartoons) English lit class, which seems to be the only class Jeff actually attends, is attended by Johanna and all the over-sexed (and over-aged) coeds on campus. The professor gives the class their big writing assignment. At a Traynor get-together Johanna makes time with Jeff, standing up her ex-beau Tom Mallard (Tom Gilson, promising actor, shotgunned by his estranged Playboy Bunny wife during a domestic violence incident).  Also at the party are the somewhat weasely Nevin Williams (Robert Ivers, “G.I. Blues”) and Eloise Taynor (Maureen Leeds), the Prof.'s wife.  Later that night, at the local college hangout, the Green Dragon, someone tries to run down Johanna.      

Jeff visits the local police for more dope on the Charles murder.  The police chief says all the suspects had alibis for their whereabouts and that Nevin was the last person to see Helen alive.  The police assume the killer was the usual suspect, a transient. Back at Traynor's class, Jeff announces his writing assignment is going to be about the Helen Charles murder, to the shock of the student body and the displeasure of Traynor.

That night, after getting a bad kiss from Jeff, Johanna wanders through the darkened campus to meet Prof. Traynor. The next day, as Jeff begins his investigation of the Charles case, he gets into a fight with Tom Mallard.  Back at the Green Dragon, Jeff tries to get information from Nevin. Later at Johanna's sorority, Jeff is told Johanna went for a walk in to the scene of the crime. Following her, Jeff gets knocked out (as usual). On awakening, he discovers a key.  Being at a college town, investigating a college murder, Jeff calls in the perfect assistant, Roscoe. He gives Roscoe the list of suspects to dig up dirt on and I.D. the key.

While Jeff is cluing Roscoe in, Mallard breaks into Jeff's room to read the first draft of Jeff's true crime paper. In one day Roscoe manages to get more information that Jeff has gotten since he started on the case.  At the Green Dragon Roscoe finds out that the number one suspect in the Charles murder is actually Johanna and number two is Traynor, who has had affairs, according to campus scuttlebutt with both Helen Charles and Johanna.

At the next Taynor party, Eloise Traynor is poisoned.  Jeff confronts Johanna, confessing he's a P.I. hired by her father. Nevin sneaks into Jeff's room while Jeff is sleeping to finger Mallard.  Jeff visits Mr. Traynor. When Johanna makes a date to meet Prof. Traynor in the fatal park, Jeff and the police are set to capture the real killer.

Somewhat similar to “The Heartbeat Caper”. An average episode that takes place in an unusual setting for 77SS.

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"Eyewitness." (Season 1, Episode 19) "The Boy Who Cried Bear." Shades of Season 6, the episode begins with a Stu voice over introducing the story.  Stu's outside the Sunset Medical Offices waiting for his client, Kathy Williams, to return from her husband's, Dr. Emory Williams (Robert Douglas, frequent villain in historical dramas and director of many WB and other shows, including 12 77SSs), offices. Stu is involved in a divorce case, which all P.I.s hate.  Across the street, Dennis the Menace (Jay North), left home alone by his aspiring actress mother, Audrey King (Patricia Barry, "All My Children", Guiding Light", "Days of Our Lives", married to producer Philip Barry, she worked on many of her husband's TV project, such as "The Alcoa Hour"). 

Hearing fire sirens, the little whippersnapper rushes out onto the balcony of his Sunset Blvd. apartment with his telescope, climbing over the balcony rail onto the roof of the building for a better look, he sees what he thinks is a bear killed by a hunter (his imagination stimulated by a comic book the little rascal was reading). In reality, he saw Dr. Williams accidentally kill his full-length mink-wearing wife after she caught him making out with his nurse, Alice Blake (Barbara Lang, a tragic actress who seemed unable to get a break in life.  Check out her bio on IMDB.). Shocked at the sight of the bear the audacious little scamp falls from the roof, fortunately, if improbably, landing on an umbrella, which breaks his fall. Dr. Williams and Nurse Blake had observed the accident and conclude that the young jackanapes was an eyewitness to murder. Stu calls an ambulance (presumably from his car, but it’s not clear, and time seems to be compressed) and accompanies the enfant terrible to the hospital.

From the hospital, Stu calls Kookie in to take his place protecting Mrs. Williams and escort her home (on 77SS having Bailey & Spencer protect you is almost a sure death sentence). Nurse Blake leaves the offices disguised in Mrs. Williams’ full-length mink and gives Kookie the cold shoulder, fleeing in a taxi.  The next morning the papers report on the little rapscallion’s lucky escape, leading Dr. Williams to concoct a plan to get Audrey out of the apartment so he can silence the little brat. Of course, Audrey has no qualms leaving the obviously irresponsible menace alone.  Instead, the unruly child walks to 77SS to hire Stu to prove there was a hunter who killed a bear. At the B&S offices, Stu ironically refers to Dennis repeatedly as "Mr. Wilson."

Nurse Blake meets with Hugh Wilson (Dean Harens), impudent child’s father, at Dino's to ostensibly to buy insurance, but actually to pass off tickets to Pacific Ocean Park, a local amusement park. She's recognized by Kookie as the woman he saw leaving Sunset Medical Offices.  Clued in, Stu follows her back to her house, where Nurse Blake claims she was taken to the hospital in an ambulance on the night in question

Stu calls the ambulance companies until he locates the ambulance that supposedly took "Nurse Blake" to the hospital.  They reveal that they never examined their patient as Dr. Williams was along for the ride. Before Stu or Hugh Wilson can turn up at the young demon's apartment, a cab driver arrives saying Mr. Wilson's (Dennis's) father sent him to take him to Pacific Ocean Park to meet him there.  When Stu and the actual Mr. Wilson arrive to find Dennis gone, Stu rushes to Pacific Ocean Park to rescue his young client.

Dr. Williams joins young rogue on a sky ride (the Ocean Skyway), where he tries to pump the distracted waif for info.  The mischievous urchin escapes and ends up at the inevitable funhouse, where every amusement park story ends, with Dr. Williams hot on his heels.  Somehow, Stu winds up at the funhouse too (again unexplained), leading to a three-way chase though the rather cheesy horrors of the house of fun.

The plot line of the boy who sees a crime and no one believes him is a hoary one, but it works okay here though the plot is full of holes. If you think about it, except for the murder this could be the plot of a "Dennis the Menace" episode.  Dennis sees a bear in Mr. Wilson's house. Jay North here basically is the same as Dennis the Menace.  Kookie gets to reel off more jive talk, Dad.  The rest of the cast is missing.  Interesting is that there doesn't seem much concern about how Dennis' mother is always leaving him alone at night. Today she'd be arrested for negligence. Pacific Ocean Park operated until the late 60s and Davy Jones’ Locker was a funhouse there, though in the episode it’s all stock footage and the funhouse was a stage set. 

Edited by Tom Holmberg
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"Lovely Alibi" ((Season 1, Episode 20) "A story ripped from today's headlines..." Another of Stu's old OSS buddies, almost as numerous as Stu's old flames, drunken wretch, police sgt. Ed Bird (extremely famous face, Claude Akins, who appeared in almost 100 movies and close to 200 TV shows, playing bad guys and cops equally, best known as "Sheriff Lobo") almost kills two fellow bar patrons in an alcohol-induced brawl. As a result, Bird gets put on 30 days leave (things haven't changed all that much in dealing with police misconduct), giving him time to hire Stu to help investigate mobster Vic Gurney (famous face, bad guy actor Stephen Brodie). Gurney is tied to a cold murder case Bird is obsessed with.

Stu invites Bird and his showgirl girlfriend Jill Franklyn (Andra Martin, WB contract player and "girl next door" type married to "Bronco" star Ty Hardin) to dinner at Dino's, where Stu requests Frankie Ortega play their new song titled "77 Sunset Strip" (a jazzy version this time, complete with vocals, but no finger snaps).  Leaving Dino's, Bird runs into Gurney and they exchange words.  On the way home, Bird pops the question but Jill doesn't respond.

The next morning Bird finds Jill missing.  Stu and Bird question a witness, Mrs. Cranston (Constance Davis), who could finger Gurney for the murder.  She tells them she saw a woman come out of the house where the murder took place.  Bird returns to police HQ and gives his info to not-Gil Lt. Dan Giles (Stacy Keach Sr., father of Stacy and James Keach, played Professor Carlson on "Get Smart").  Giles reveals that Doris, a showgirl friend of Jill's has provided the police with an alibi for Gurney and that Jill was with them at the time of the murder.

Stu has Roscoe bird-dog Bird in a pub crawl through LA's dive bars. Drunk, Bird is knocked out, splashed with more booze, and makes it look like Bird crashed his car in a drunken joyride, leading to his dismissal from the force.  The next morning Stu visits his friend to find him hung-over,  At the Club Solitaire, where Jill works as a showgirl, Stu and Bird get more dirt on Jill. The manager says "Red" Helburn (Wayne Heffley, busy bit player), who knew Jill in the old days, might know where she is.  It turns out that Helburn is living in the missing Jill's apartment. Bird immediately punches Helburn out.  Later he finds out that Helburn id actually Jill's brother.

Witness Mrs. Cranston identifies showgirl Doris, Gurney's amorata, as the woman who was at the murder scene. At Gurney's Stu and Bird find Helburn beaten to a pulp by someone other than Bird.  Helburn steers them to Jill's hideout, where Gurney and his hood are headed. Stu and Bird arrive first and Jill reveals that Gurney had planted her with Bird to keep him informed on his activities, but she later refused to double-cross Bird.  Trapped in the house Jill, Stu and Bird have to outwit the armed mobsters.

Today, Claude Akins character would be considered a bad cop. Here we are supposed to sympathize with him, even though he's violent and drunk in three quarters of his scenes. Does anyone believe his marriage with Jill will be a happy one? Or that the police would promote him to Lt.? There's an unusual amount of driving scenes in this episode, like they didn't have enough story to fill an hour.  The story is pure noir.  Roscoe, Kookie and Suzanne get minimal screen time. Stu buys a spectrograph, which future forensic scientist Kookie thinks is a "watch fob."

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"In Memoriam" (Season 1, Episode 21) "You Only Die Twice."  Philandering publisher Noel Reynolds (Alan Marshal, dapper leading man and Errol Flynn look-alike, Marshal died of a heart attack while appearing with Mae West in "Sexette" at age 52.  Coincidence? I think not.) is awakened after a night partying by the delivery of a funeral wreath with his name on it.  Condolence callers point out Reynolds' "In Memoriam" in the morning edition of the LA paper. 

Reynolds hires Bailey & Spencer to uncover the source of the phony obit. Stu picks up a tail as soon as he leaves his offices.  At the obituary department of the newspaper (with its funereal editor), Stu discovers that name of the buyer of the obit is bogus. Stu's tail, Col. Jose Vargas (suave heavy Joe De Santis, who usually played ethnic types), an agent of a Latin American military junta, questions Stu about a book Reynolds is publishing, the Sebastian manuscript.

Vargas is bribing and threatening Reynolds against publishing the manuscript, the memoir of a man killed by the junta. Reynolds' estranged wife, Lisa Reynolds (Noreen Nash, wife of James Whitmore), fears her husband isn't going to publish the manuscript, which she has championed. Reynolds get Bailey to tag along for protection to the Hacienda Club, where's he's going to meet with Vargas.  Bailey falls for the beautiful damsel with car trouble gag again and is knocked unconscious and dumped in Malibu. 

By the time Stu makes it back to Reynolds' penthouse apartment, Gil is there investigating Reynolds' murder. (B&S lose another client they are supposed to protect.) Lisa Reynolds hires Stu to find the Sebastian manuscript.  Calling his office, Stu discovers its been burglarized and when he gets home he finds that his apartment has been burglarized too, convincing Stu that Vargas doesn't have the manuscript.  Stu visits overly artsy poetess Edith Kerr (Dolores Donlon, voluptuous actress in 50s and early 60s TV, appeared in five 77SS episodes), married mistress of Reynolds who was supposed to meet with Reynolds after the Vargas meeting for a night of adultery.  While suffering through Edith's pretentious poetry, her jealous, meatpacker husband, Harry Kerr (Bart Burns, long-time character actor, co-star of the 1950s "Mike Hammer" series), comes home and kicks Stu out.

In a discussion with Lisa about her husband's affairs with his female authors, the name of Estelle Ward comes up. Stu recalls that there was an In Memoriam for Estelle on the same page as Reynolds'. Lisa explains that Estelle was killed in a car accident when Reynolds was driving. Following up on Estelle's only living relative aunt Martha Ward (famous face Ellen Corby, best known as Grandma Walton in "The Waltons"). Martha, who worked as the cleaning lady in Reynolds' apartment building, reveals that she set Reynolds up to be murdered.  Stu catches the killer, ties Vargas up and recovers the manuscript (with help from Jeff).

A good, pulpy plot, with enough twists and turns to keep the viewer's interest.  Also featured is some of the signature 77SS humor, beautiful dames, and the whole cast shows up. Pretty much the template of the 77SS formula. The standard 77SS opening is introduced.

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"The Fifth Stair" (Season 1, Episode 22) "Dial J for Murder."  Former Jeff Spencer girlfriend Margot Wendice (Julie Adams, had a long career guest starring on TV shows including 5 77SS appearances,“The Creature from the Black Lagoon”, WB once insured her legs for $125,000.) hires Bailey & Spencer to investigate a blackmail attempt over a letter Jeff wrote her, years ago, before he went to Korea.  It was Margot's husband, sociopath Tony Wendice (Richard Long again, for some reason WB was really pushing his career), who had found the letter and was behind the blackmail attempt, hires a professional killer (bad guy actor Richard Devon) to kill his seemingly unfaithful wife (and get his hands on her fortune).

On the night of the plot, Jeff shows up at the Wendice house to explain to Tony that there is nothing between him and Tony's wife.  Tony isn't home, already working on his alibi, but a nosy neighbor overhears Jeff talking to Margot.  The professional killer, who turns out to be an incompetent professional killer (you never get your money's worth when you just pick out a killer off the street), ends up being killed by Margot instead. Rushing home, Tony plants evidence to make it look like Jeff and Margot killed the killer, before phoning the police.

The police arrest Jeff and Margot, convinced they're guilty based on the planted evidence. Kookie follows Tony to the killer's apartment, where Tony retrieves his murder down payment. Suspicious, Stu and Kookie investigate the Wendice apartment, discovering that the key the police have (part of the planted evidence) isn't to their home.  Kookie finds the hidden key and a search of the apartment turns up the murder payment.

Stu now suspects Tony and devises a plan along with the police to nab Tony for the murder.  Stu, somehow, explains every step of Tony's plan to Tony, pretending its a story Tony can tell the police to get his wife, and Jeff, off for the crime.  In the end the key to the crime is the hidden key and Kookie gets in a great last line.

Good straight forward story, not really a mystery because we know who did what, more like a Columbo mystery-will Stu get the goods on the real killer before Jeff ends up in prison. The teleplay was based on the play by Frederick Knott, “Dial M for Murder”, made into a film by Hitchcock, which might explain its economy of storytelling.

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"The Pasadena Caper." (Episode 23)  "The Little Old Ladies from Pasadena." Shades of "Arsenic and Old Lace," in this largely comic episode, so far the first to take this tack. Stu is hired by Rachel Baker to find her long-lost son, Peter Baker, missing for a year and a half. Peter's car is found in the drink off a pier in Long Beach with a body inside. Peter was insured for $100,000 with double indemnity for accidental death.

Stu visits the Baker home, a large decrepit Pasadena mansion that the Munsters or the Addams Family would be happy to live in, occupied by elderly Rachel Baker (Hallene Hall, oddly Hill played a member of Jack Benny’s Pasadena fan club, obviously she was typecast!), his client, Lavinia Diamond (prickly Elizabeth Paterson, Mrs. Trumbull on “I Love Lucy” and many character roles), her equally elderly housekeeper, and Leo (Pat Comiskey, former pro boxer), their seven-foot, muscle-man handyman. Suspicious, Stu fakes an injury to his sacroiliac so he can stay on in the Baker mansion.  Jeff impersonates Stu's doctor while he does the legwork investigating the Bakers.

Someone turns on the gas to Stu's room, trying to suffocate him. Later when Rachel and Lavinia try to give him breakfast, he tells them Dr. Jefferson prescribed a special diet-for fear of being poisoned-which Kookie delivers along with the latest news. Jeff finds out that Peter was a lush and a bully.  Mr. Garrett (the ubiquitous famous face Olan Soule), the insurance man handling the life insurance policy, reveals that Harry Diamond (the oddly named Murvyn Vye, Broadway star and Hollywood tough guy), Lavinia's son, was the insurance agent who sold the life insurance policy to Peter despite the fact Peter was a bad insurance risk. It also turns out that Harry went missing a week after Peter disappeared. Coincidence?  I think not.

Still doing Stu's legwork, Jeff picks up Kim Diamond, Harry's ex-wife, who's working as a cigarette girl at a rough bar.  Leaving her apartment after questioning her, Jeff is attacked and beaten and told to keep his nose out of other peoples' business. Meanwhile at the Baker mansion, Stu finds a secret passage that leads to Peter's room, which has been locked since he disappeared. The next morning, while Kookie takes the old biddies to Peter's funeral, in the Kookie Kar, no less, Stu searches the house. Stu finds recent stamps postmarked La Hermosa, Mexico, Jeff tells him he found an envelope postmarked from there too at Kim Diamond's.

In La Hermosa, Jeff picks up Harry's girlfriend, terrible torch-singer Erin O'Day (thankfully uncredited), and brings her back to LA, to lure Harry to the US.  Harry shows up at the Baker place and goes immediately to Peter's room, which he has the key for.  Stu is waiting to confront him and solve the case.  As Stu waits for the police to come to pick everyone up, the two old ladies try to poison Stu one last time.

An entertaining "dark old house" story, with lots of humor, which works well as a change of pace. Adding humor to their cases became a trademark of the show, until Season 6.

Edited by Tom Holmberg
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"The Grandma Caper" (Season 1, Episode 26)  "Wanted: Aunt Bee, Bank Robber."  Aunt Bee/Grandma Hortense Fenwick (Francis Bavier, "The Andy Griffith Show", as if I have to tell you) goes on a crime spree in San Felipe, "Where the Sun Meets the Sea", tailed by Jeff, who pretends to be a WB talent scout wanted to make Grandma's vicious little dog the next Lassie. Granny coshes the P.I. after giving him the slip. Attorney Oliver Fenwick (famous face Jerome Cowan. Miles Archer "The Maltese Falcon") has hired Jeff to keep a watch on the criminal matriarch of the Fenwick family so her antics don't screw up a big deal in the offing. Since the Fenwick own most of San Felipe, Grandma only steals from stores the family owns.

Jeff assigns Roscoe to act as Grandma's bookie, while Kookie is to continue following Granny using the skills he learned from a correspondence detective course. After Grandma drops a load of crates on Kookie's head, he joins her gang as her getaway man. Oliver and Vickie Fenwick (Jennifer Grant) believe that Grandma Fenwick's working up to Granny's Big Score. Granny plans the robbery of the Fenwick National Bank with Kookie driving the getaway limo.  Unfortunately Oliver had sold the bank, one of the two in town the family owns, the year before. 

Grandma gets away with $1,000 in singles and the police arrest Oliver. "Fake news" in the media reports that the notorious "Grandma Gang" got away with a cool $50,000 (the real "Grandma Gang" had terrorized Southern California a few years previously, then disappeared). Stu is brought in as a phony psychiatrist to analyze the larcenous old biddy, but she ends up analyzing him.  The real "Grandma Gang" shows up in San Felipe hoping to get Grandma Fenwick to join the gang as criminal mastermind *which shows the level of intelligence of the rest of the gang) While the police search for Grandma, Jeff tries to talk her into surrendering, resulting in another crack over the head from Granny.

Roscoe follows Grandma, Kookie and the "Grandma Gang" to their hideout and calls Jeff. Grandma plans the gang's next heist, while Jeff bugs their room disguised as a hotel waiter.  Lola (Laurie Mitchell), the gang's moll and getaway driver, falls for Jeff (of course), and Vickie Fenwick gets jealous (even more of course).  Grandma and the gang go to their next robbery, Granny picking up the Keys to the family's real bank.  Jeff makes out with Lola while tying her up, and Granny blackjacks one of the gang while Kookie and Jeff subdue the other two. Grandma Fenwick and San Felipe police Chief Johnson (famous face Francis de Sales, another long-time character actor know for playing professional men, cops, etc.) take all the credit for foiling the robbery and catching the "Grandma Gang."   

Having had an episode starring Dennis the Menace, now it's Aunt Bee's turn to shine.  When does Gilligan get an episode? Somewhat similar to "The Checkmate Caper" ("Cuthbert. Cuthbert?") from Season 5. Both Roscoe and Kookie are well-served in this episode. Even Stu gets to display his comedy chops.

*

 

"Hong Kong Caper" (Season 1, Episode 24)  Jeff goes overseas for a change ending up on WB's backlot. Chemical company executive Paul Nolan, Sr. (famous face Frank Wilcox, usually cast as lawyers, wealthy bankers and businessmen, including oil man John Brewster of "The Beverly Hillbillies") hires Bailey & Spencer to investigate his son Paul Nolan, Jr,'s death in a "lonely war." The only info he has is Paul's last letter which included a Candy quarter from Hong Kong.

Jeff flies to backlot Hong Kong where he runs into a suspiciously familiar comb-wielding Chinese rickshaw parking lot attendant hipster. On the ferry to Kowloon he meets a pair of stereotypically ugly American tourists, George (comedic actor Willard Waterman, TV's "The Great Gildersleeve", and "Dennis the Menace"'s Mr. Quigley, Mr. Wilson's nemesis) and Hannah (famous face and long-time character actress, Kathleen Freeman, "The Penguin" in "The Blues Brothers") Wells.

Back in Kowloon (a running joke about how no matter where Jeff is he has to take the ferry to get to where he's going) Jeff drops into Candy's American Bar, home of the Candy quarters.  There he meets owner Candy Varga, who reveals she was Paul Jr.'s wife. Also at the bar are Mr. & Mrs. Wells and the sinister Run Run Lee (Reggie Nalder, whose badly scarred face left his to a career cast as villains, "The Man Who Knew Too Much").  Candy makes a date with Jeff to meet later at The Golden Dragon.  There he gives Candy Paul Jr.'s last letter. She gives Jeff Paul's last letter to her.

Mr. Lee shows up at Jeff's hotel to be vaguely threatening and suggest Jeff get out of town.  At the U.S. Consulate Jeff gets the lowdown on Lee and Candy from Ned Shelby (famous face Neil Hamilton, silent movie leading man, best known as Commissioner Gordon of "Batman"). Candy's mother was involved in the disappearance of $3 million of diamonds during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.  Shelby also suggests Jeff get out of town.  While at the Consulate Shelby introduces Jeff to his tailor Sam Fong, of the firm Hart, Shafter and Fong.

Jeff meets Candy, the Wellses and Mr. Lee at a floating restaurant.  Candy gives Jeff the cold shoulder and Mr. Lee suggests Jeff get out of town.  At his fitting with Sam Fong, Sam tells Jeff about Candy's son, Paul the Third. Jeff visits Paul III's school only to discover he is missing.  At Candy's Jeff is assaulted by a couple of tong goons of Mr. Lee's.  Mr. Lee suggests Jeff get out of town. Back at the Golden Dragon, Candy reveals her son is a prisoner of Mr. Lee and won't be released until lee gets the diamonds.

Jeff sneaks into a Hong Kong ghetto to find the youngest Paul disguised as a seaman.  An inscrutable Chinaman takes Jeff inscrutably to the boy. After shooting a few Chinese extras, Jeff rescues Paul III with the assistance of Sam Fong.  Jeff and Sam corners Mr. Lee, recovers the diamonds and buys six silk suits.   

Despite the overseas setting and perhaps because it's Jeff on the road instead of Stu, this is an okay episode, with some humor (esp. Kookie's cameo), in a noirish setting.    

Edited by Tom Holmberg
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"A Check Will Do Nicely" (Season 1, Episode 25) Laura Jacobin (pretty Janet Lake, only appeared in a few WB shows, including 3 77SS episodes), daughter of mining magnate Mr. Jacobin (Edward Platt, The Chief from "Get Smart), has been kidnapped by a gang of crooks in Paris and Jacobin hires Stu to get her back.  In stock footage Paris Jacobin is visited by failed artist and presumed child molester Paul Sandby (Robin Hughes, “Dial M for Murder”), the nominal leader of the gang, offering Jacobin a phony Renoir for $250,000-a cover for the ransom money. Jacobin gives Sandby a check for the ransom, which Stu finds out later Jacobin hasn't the funds to cover.  Stu has to find Laura before the banks open the next morning.

Back at the kidnappers riverside hideout, Sandby decides he's in love with Laura and tries to force himself on her, creating a rift between gang members. Stu visits his old friend in the Sûreté, Antoin Bonhomme (Roger Til, standby Frenchman on 60s TV shows, playing fathers of French girls dating American boys, maitre d’s, etc.), showing him pictures he took of the kidnapper and the painting.  Antoin doesn't recognize Sandby, but steers Stu to art forger Tissot (Rolfe Sedan, worked with everybody from Laurel and Hardy to TV’a “Andy’s Gang”, who painted the phony Renoir.

At Tissot's studio Stu picks up a lead and Suzette, Tissot's model, who he takes to a stereotypical French boite, with accordion music, berets and the whole shebang. There he meets Madeleine (sultry Florence Marley, married to French director Pierre Chenal, her career was scuttled after she was wrongly blacklisted), a member of the gang who works as a B-girl there. Thinking Stu is a wealthy American rube, she steers him to Allen's Antique Shop to buy a phony Picasso. Stu makes the assumption that Allen and Sandby is the same person.

Back at Tissot's, Stu has the forger duplicate the Renoir as part of his plan to rescue Laura. Stu has Antoin at the Sûreté buy an airplane ticket to Monte Carlo under the name Allen, and have an officer take the early morning flight. When he comes to pick up the painting, he has Suzette call Sandy/Allen, pretending to be the telephone company, and telling him the company is working on the lines and not to answer the phone for the next two hours.

At the bank, Sandy discovers Jacobin's insufficient funds, while Stu widens the rift between the gang members by telling Madeleine that he paid Sandby the ransom and that he fled to Monte Carlo. Stu and Jacobin rescue Laura and nab Sandby. 

Stu's overseas again, but at least he's not fighting the Red Menace. The episode was directed by actress Ida Lupino (Lupino joked that as an actress she was the poor man's Bette Davis and as a director, she was the poor man's Don Siegael). The story was by Alain Calliou, author, actor, screenwriter, soldier, policeman and professional hunter.      

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"Honey from the Bee" (Season 1, Episode 27) At Danilov's Restaurant (obviously modeled after legendary Hollywood nightclub Romanoff's, the owner also pretended to be a Russian aristocrat) Stu is celebrating Kookie's birthday, along with Kookie's date Cleo Mason (Connie Stevens, who had recently recorded that immortal classic "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb").  The Russian refugee Countess Dombroska (Celia Lovsky, married to Peter Lorre, often played European refuges and aristocrats) arrives to see restaurant owner Yegor Danilov (famous face Jay Novello, who could play just about any ethnic type), she has a family heirloom, a tapestry, she wishes to sell to Danilov.  Danilov offers $1,000 in loan for the tapestry, claiming (falsely) it had once been in his family's summer palace.

To generate publicity for the restaurant, Danilov announces a private party celebrating the "return" of the tapestry, with pictures in the LA papers. The Red Menace wants the tapestry for Mother Russia, threatening Dombroska. Dombroska asks for the tapestry back, offering twice what Danilov paid for it. Danilov convinces the Countess to let him have the party, then he will return the tapestry.

Russian agent Mr. Kairos (character actor Gregory Gay, played The Ruler on “Commando Cody”) believes the tapestry holds a secret and threatens Dombroska, in a scuffle she falls against a mantelpiece and dies.  As he flees the apartment building the Countess' niece Natalie Baranova (Ruta Lee, in another 77SS role out of 5) comes home, finding her dead aunt.  Natalie goes to see Danilov, who calls in Stu to investigate.

The persistent Commies anonymously call Danilov's pastry chef, Ivan Rudin (Alexander Gerry), to slit open the bees woven in the tapestry and recover the contents, threatening his family behind the Iron Curtain. Stu invites Kookie and Cleo to the club where Natalie performs, where film composer Dmitri Teyomkin, a friend of Kookie's, has a cameo reeling off some hipster talk.  Driving Natalie home, Stu is in her apartment when she receives a phone call from Rudin at Danilov's which is interrupted by Kairos' untimely arrival.  Suspicious Stu and Kookie check out Danilov's, finding Rudin dead in the walk-in freezer.

The next morning, when Stu calls her, Natalie awakens from a chloroformed stupor to find her apartment ransacked. A trip to Danilov's finds Yegor's office has been ransacked as well. Stu convinces Danilov to hold the party despite Rudin's death.  At the party a mysterious Count Orloff (Kairos) shows up.  Natalie recalls that Rudin's last words were about his special petit-fours.  Orloff pulls a gun on Natalie and they retrieve a plate of the delicacies labeled with her name.  Quick thinking by Kookie saves the day. Orloff gets his just desserts.

A weak episode. Saved somewhat by the presences of Ruta Lee and Connie Stevens.

More on Romanoff’s Restaurant here: https://martinturnbull.com/hollywood-places/spotlight-romanoffs/

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@Tom Holmberg  Thank you for keeping up with these, you really do the best reviews.  They're concise, informative, including info about not only who was on the show but in the case of Celia Lovsky, who she was married to.  More than a little bit of humor.  So many times, your reviews are as good as the shows.  

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"The Widow Wouldn't Weep." (Season 1, Episode 30) The episode opens with the welcome strains of the Frankie Ortega Trio and Kookie finger-snapping along with them. Kookie phones Jeff, only to get a busy signal, just as Jeff walks in with his date. Who's using Jeff's phone? Jeff phones home and a woman answers.  Kookie takes over Jeff's date, while Jeff rushes home to find a beautiful brunette, Margie Wilson (Valerie Allen, daughter of a Ziegfeld Follies star, married to Troy Donahue), lounging on his sofa offering him $5,000 (but not for that).

The next morning Jeff turns up at the offices of Pacific State Insurance reading "True Crime Stories." Ushered into the offices of president Mr. Harkins (Raymond Bailey, Milburn Drysdale, "The Beverley Hillbillies"), Jeff explains Mrs. Wilson has hired him to investigate the supposed suicide of her estranged husband Fred Wilson, an employee of the company. My little Margie gets $25,000 if her husband's death wasn't suicide (from which Jeff gets $5,000 if its paid). Harkins says he can't understand why Wilson would kill himself, even though it turns out that Pacific States Ins. is a den of iniquity.  Checking out Wilson's office, where Wilson either jumped or was pushed, fellow employee Drexel Courtney (Dallas Mitchell, a long career of mainly bit parts) tells Jeff Wilson was "unstable," "mixed up." and the office Romeo, having an affair with secretary Miss Beasley (a real doll), among others.

Lt. Gilmore tells Jeff that the police investigated and everything points to suicide. Later Mrs. Wilson shows Jeff a contract for a $7,000 boat the perpetually broke Fred Wilson recently signed, not something a suicide would do. While she's at Jeff's office at 77SS, Alice Beasley (Nora Hayden, like Valerie Allen she had a short career in TV and movies) calls, wanting to meet with Jeff.  That evening Jeff takes Alice to Chinatown for dinner.  Alice tells Jeff about her affair with Fred, Fred's affair with Courtney's wife, and that she doesn't think he'd kill himself. Leaving the restaurant Jeff -as usual, at least once in every episode- gets bludgeoned by a mysterious stranger, who tells Alice to run away.

Jeff wakes up bound and blindfolded.  The mysterious stranger tells him to get off the job or he'll be killed and that if Margie persists, she'll be killed too. Still blindfolded and tied, the helpful killer drives Jeff home, while Jeff recites "The Raven." Jeff stumbles up to his apartment, still bound, to find Margie waiting.  The greatest question of the whole episode is: Why does Jeff keep a machete in his kitchen?, which Margie uses to free him. Jeff calls Miss Beasley to see if she's okay.  She reveals she didn't bother to call the police.  Jeff accuses her of being in on the plot. He wakes up Kookie to drive the time it takes to recite "The Raven" along the PCH (a trick Jeff apparently learned from Bert Convy in the earlier episode, "The Vicious Circle").

Kookie takes Jeff to the motel he found at the end of the poem, but they're stymied by the strangely masculine motel manager (God, how I was hoping she'd turn out to be Norman Bates!), necessitating a call to Gil. They find the mysterious assailant, hood for hire, Charlie Budlong deceased.  Back at the 77SS offices Margie reports that the dead Budlong just called her confessing he murdered Fred.

On a return visit to Pacific State Ins. Harkins reveals that they occasionally used Budlong to collect "claims" (like the Mob). Courtney tries to bash in Jeff's head and toss him from a window, but its all just a misunderstanding!  At Dino's Roscoe gives Jeff the lowdown on the suspects and Alice Beasley shows up for no good reason except that Jeff can drive her home, before he returns to the insurance company for a late night look-see, and Kookie can follow the now armed secretary to Pacific State also.   The real killer gets the drop on Jeff, but Beasley unloads her .38 revolver into him (it's just a flesh wound).

A straight forward detective story.  A lot of red herrings, but the killer wouldn't be so obvious if we hadn't seen so many of these episodes before.  Lacking in Jeff-episodes' usual lightness, but with the whole cast getting to show up.

 

*

 

"Downbeat" (Season 1, Episode 31) Stu is charged with and acquitted of sedition after papers he was supposed to guard were copied by enemy agents (a totally believable premise considering Bailey & Spencer's track record with guarding people and things). Stu loses his P.I. license, quits the agency and hits the bottle.  His girlfriend/neighbor, April (Kay Elhardt, appeared in eight 77SS episodes), who we've never seen before, dumps him, and he's evicted from his apartment. Leaving Dino's, after even old friend James Garner, promoting his own WB show "Maverick", can't console down-trodden Stu or even offer to pay Stu's bar tab, Kookie warns Stu about drunk driving, moments before Stu hits a light pole.  Arrested for drunk driving, Stu loses his drivers license too. (Zimbalist gets to act in this one.)

Down and out in Beverly Hills, Stu runs into another of his innumerable old war buddies, Eurotrash Hendrick Van Horn (famous face John Van Dreelen, usually playing sophisticated villains and enemy officers).  Van visits Jeff and gets the lowdown on Stu's troubles.  Van shows up at Stu's flophouse, where he finds a bitter Stu, blaming the world for his problems and wallowing in self-pity.  Later at a dive bar (77SS dive bars are always pretty nice places) two goons, Rock (famous face Donald Berry, mostly played villains and tough cops) and Babe (Brad Weston, appeared in eight 77SS episodes) treat Stu to a bottle of the good stuff.    

Stu wakes up in a strange desert villa with a hangover, to find a beautiful platinum blonde, Nora Shirley (the lovely Dorothy Provine, co-star of the WB show “The Roaring Twenties”) lolling by the pool.  She tells Stu he's there to dry out and she's his "good" nurse (Rock and Babe are the "bad" nurses).  Soon Stu's sober enough to hit on Nora and steal Babe's car for an abortive escape (he's not sober enough to figure out he could just drive the car through a chain link fence).

Rock convinces Stu to surrender by telling him the boss is due shortly. The boss turns out to be Van Horn.  Van offers Stu a job as a double agent in Berlin, working for the Red Menace.  Stu agrees to the offer.  Before flying off to the Continent, the gang needs to deliver some stolen documents to a Yugoslavian agent in Tijuana.  Stu suggests they meet at Kookie's favorite Mexican cantina there.  At the cantina, Stu secretly gets Kookie to rob the Yugoslavian and hide the documents in Van's car. At the border Stu gives the whole plot away to the U.S. Customs officer, who thinks it's a joke (this is why we need that wall!) and lets the gang through anyway. Fortunately, Stu's future employers, the FBI, are on the job and tie the whole case up, clearing Stu's name (it was all a plan to catch Van). Stu gets a hug from Suzanne.

This episode has a sequel, "Upbeat", which is at Season 4, Episode 29. I don't recall 77SS doing another two-part show like this. Besides James Garner, the episode also features cameos by real life Hollywood columnist Jim Bacon and local TV personality and honorary "Mayor of Hollywood" Johnny Grant, who nobody today knows (if people outside of Hollywood did even knew then).  Fame is fleeting.

Edited by Tom Holmberg
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"Canine Caper." (Season 1, Episode 32) Jeweler N.V. Van Der Laan of Amsterdam is robbed of a briefcase containing $150,000 in rubies.  Meanwhile back in LA Kookie is learning French in hopes of meeting Charmaine Chalet (Roxane Berard, who had bit parts in all the WB series at the time, then retired), French movie starlet, his current obsession. This would make Kookie trilingual in English, French and hipster.  Jeff working for the insurance company, contacts Beverly Hills jeweler to the stars, Marie La Shelle (Julie Adams, a nice bit o' honey), who was a party in the sale of the jewels and meets later a Dino's.  Arriving at Dino's at the same time is Charmaine, her agent, Rolfe Berne (Roland Varno, an actor who made a career in bit parts playing foreigners, which he was) and her dog Shu-Shu, much to Kookie's pleasure.

Since California law bars dogs from restaurants, Kookie places the pampered poodle in Dino's Poodle Palace. Shu-Shu escapes from detention onto the mean streets of Hollywood, along with the mutt Jingles (possibly played by Higgins, "Dog" from "Petticoat Junction"), putting Kookie in the doghouse. Hoping to win Charmaine, Kookie searches far and wide in the Kookie Kar, picking up a tail by a couple of human attack dogs in the process.

Elsewhere, Jeff, having discovered that Rolfe was recently in Amsterdam, sics Roscoe on him. Kookie discovers Lady and the Tramp in time for Suzanne to rescue him from the thugs following him. At Charmaine's hotel, Kookie returns the pooch, panting hot and heavy over the French filly. Rolfe seems more concerned about Shu-Shu's missing collar, which fell off at Suzanne's. When he returns to Suzanne's to retrieve the collar, Suzanne shows him the rubies, hidden in the collar.

The thugs, tipped off, show up to grab the pricey gems, along with Jeff, and a fight ensues.  Eventually, the guilty are collared and Kookie gets a kiss and the kiss off.

The first Kookie-centric episode, reflecting Edd Byrnes' growing popularity with the younger female viewing audience. Except for Julie Adams, who had a long career in movies ("Creature from the Black Lagoon") and TV, the cast is mainly bit players.   

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"Mr. Paradise." (Season 1, Episode 33) This episode brings to mind the old joke that California is like granola, what's not fruits and nuts is flakes.  Stu has been hired by part of the Blanton family to investigate a kooky kult, led by kult leader Mr. Paradise (Andrew Duggan, soon to be starring in his own 77SS knock-off) their wealthy uncle Cyrus Blanton (John Litel, member of the so-called "Warner Bros. Stock Company") has joined.  Another Blanton niece, Lois (Sandra White), thinks the rest of the family is just out for Cyrus' money.  Stu visits the kult's "town" Eden, really just a koncentration kamp on land adjoining Cyrus'.  The be-robed Mr. Paradise, hopped up on saccharine, tells Stu he needs to renounce thinking.  Leaving, Stu meets a former Beverly Hills klient who tells him that though she's given Paradise just a little money, she's willed Paradise the rest. Paradise has one of his enforcers follow Stu.

Stu and Lois visit uncle Cyrus, but find Mr. Paradise already there, having already brainwashed Cyrus into rejecting any help from either Stu or Lois. Meeting Mr. Paradise changes Lois' mind, and now she agrees that he needs to be investigated. When Stu leaves Lois' house he finds Mr. Paradise sitting in his T-Bird, vaguely threatening him to dropped the case.  Stu gets Kookie and Roscoe, the two most improbable kult members, to go to Eden and join up.  Back at his office two of the kult's thugs beat Stu up, disciplining the body.

A visit by Stu, along with Lois and Gil, to Cyrus' lawyer finds that Cyrus has changed his will to benefit Mr. Paradise. At Eden, Kookie spends his time getting out of working and trying to pick up chicks, while Roscoe slaves in the fields with his cigar and racing form.  They do manage to discover that the kult's wealthy older members are dropping like flies from being overworked, then given a little extra push into paradise by the kult's doctor, Dr, Friendly (Leslie Barrett).

Cyrus, koncerned that kult members are growing suspicious of the town's infirmary, goes to see Mr. Paradise, who has taken over Cyrus' house as his HQ. He discovers Paradise and the kult leaders partying it up with the younger female kult members. Cyrus sneaks in the back way, gets a gun and kicks Paradise out of his home.  Paradise calls the local kops, telling them that Cyrus has barricaded himself in the house and is threatening violence. As the cops arrive Paradise goads Cyrus into firing a shot and one of the kult's enforcers shoots and wounds Cyrus in "self-defense."

Roscoe calls Stu for help, who sneaks into the infirmary in a half-baked attempt to rescue the old koot Cyrus. Dr. Friendly gets a konscience and refuses to finish Cyrus off. Paradise and his thugs arrive at the infirmary to knock Stu out. Jeff somehow shows up at the right place to save Stu from premature kremation. Roscoe gives Cyrus a new lease on life by introducing him to the track. 

We think of cults as a 60s phenomenon, but we've always had them. I'm sure Aimee Semple McPherson was a bit of a influence on the story.  Makes a good change of pace episode despite the holes in the plot.

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"Strange Girl in Town." (Season 1, Episode 34)  Ruth Douglas (the super-cute Sue Randall), a friend of Suzanne's, is in town trying to break into show business as a dancer.  Jeff sets up an audition with philandering club-owner Scott Baker (John Reach).  While Ruth changes into her audition clothes, Scott makes out with Nancy Costello (sexy blonde Carol Ohmart, appeared in five 77SS episodes), wife of syndicate man, Dan Costello (movie heavy Alan Baxter, “Saboteur”). Here's a general rule, don't make out with the wives of mobsters, it never ends well. While they are sucking face Costello comes in a plugs Scott full of lead, with Ruth as a (rather useless) witness.

Ruth flees before Costello can react, but he finds Ruth and Jeff's names on Scott's appointment calendar.  A call to Bailey & Spencer gets Costello Ruth's hotel name from a helpful Suzanne.  Costello has an explosive flower arrangement delivered to Ruth's hotel room, which blows up Roscoe, while Ruth runs away.  Meanwhile, Costello's syndicate partners order him to get out of his trouble fast.

Ruth turns up at a skid row hotel, Hotel Splendide, where the creepy hotel clerk (Percy Helton, an actor who always creeped me out as a kid.  His voice still gives me the shivers.), listens in on her phone calls and passes the info on to the mob, who call Costello with her location.  Nancy Costello calls Jeff to warn him. (How all this actually would work is rather vague, but the story moves along.)  Jeff manages to turn up at the hotel before the mob goons, and installs Ruth in his apartment.

Stu has Baker's 122 Club staked out and follows a mob thug to Eureka Construction, owned by one Harry Norkus.  Jeff and Roscoe tail Norkus, but he winds up back where they started, at 77 Sunset Strip.  Norkus is taking Suzanne to Dino's for dinner! Jeff comes home to find Ruth missing and he gets bludgeoned once again.  Continuing to follow Norkus, they end up at Costello's Bel Air estate.  Adding a whole other unnecessary character to the cast, Jeff consults with ex-movie star Kenneth Webster (Jack Mulhall, long-time Hollywood actor, went from the silent to the talkies to TV), former owner of Costello's mansion. Webster clues Jeff in on Costello, saying he's "insanely jealous" and that his wife Nancy is "dangerous."

Jeff uses the frequent 77SS dodge of disabling a female suspect's car to pick up Nancy.  Over drinks Jeff tries to get Nancy to flip on her husband. With a floor plan provided by Webster, Jeff sneaks onto the Costello estate with an electronics expert to bug Costello's bedroom.  Hiding in the closet when the Costellos come home, they record him confessing to the murder of Scott.  Gil and the cops arrive in time for a shootout.

I'll watch any episode featuring Sue Randall.  The story strikes me as if they took a novel and condensed it down to 45 minutes, leaving out a lot of exposition.  They seem to be already setting Kookie up to join the firm.  

*

"Only Zeros Count." (Season 2, Episode 1)  "77SS" promotes "Hawaiian Eye." Strolling along the beach in Hawaii, Stu saves (Hollywood plain Jane, meaning she looks better than you or me) Martha Swain (Adele Mara, Mr. Roy Huggins, creator of “77SS”) from a masher. The next morning, before Stu can fly back to LA, PI Tom Lopaka (Robert Conrad) shows up telling Stu he has to meet someone before he flies home. The someone is Treasury agent, Paul Loomis (Richard Shannon), who's investigating counterfeit money that showed up recently.  The Feds suspect nightclub singer Faye North (pin-up model Dolores Donlon, had a short career in Hollywood), friend of Martha's and former girlfriend of an imprisoned forger. Loomis wants Stu to get to know Martha and Faye better.

Stu sets up a date with the painfully shy Martha at the Pogo Club, where Faye is performing (with Buddy Cole and His Trio, the Hawaiian Frankie Ortega).  Martha is immediately jealous of the attention Stu pays to sexy Faye.  When Martha's uncle Sam Broome (famous face Hugh Sanders, played mainly heavies and lawmen), shows up, Stu gets to dance with Faye and make a date with her.

Martha, who works as a clerk for a DMV, receives the counterfeit bills hidden in a box of license plates (made, of course, by prisoners).  Martha passes the queer money on to her uncle Sam.  Stu and the depressive Martha have a date, but Martha cuts it short in a fit of shyness.  The next morning, Stu, being tailed by the forgers, has a meeting with Loomis after losing the tail with the help of cabbie Kim (Poncie Ponce, the "Hawaiian Eye" Kookie).  Stu goes on his date with Faye, making kissy face until Stu pretends to be a little crooked in the hopes Faye will recruit him into the counterfeit ring. Instead, Faye drops in like a hot potato.  Martha, who's also been following Stu, finds out from Faye that Stu's bent. 

Martha wants uncle Sam to hire Stu, but uncle Sam is afraid Stu works for the other Uncle Sam. Sam tells Martha he wants to meet Stu.  Stu shows up at Sam's place of business, followed by Martha, now armed with a revolver.  As is obligatory on 77SS, Stu gets knocked out.  Martha shows up in time to rescue Stu and a shootout ensues.

First episode of the second season. A run-of-the-mill episode, though it does make me wish ME-TV would bundle all the other WB 77SS spinoffs and run them alternatively.     

Edited by Tom Holmberg

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"The Kookie Caper." (Season 2, Episode 2) "Suzanne. Suzanne. Lend Me Your Apartment." Teenaged hitchhiker Carrie (Sherry Jackson, Terry Williams on "Make Room for Daddy," who went from sweet daughter to b-movie sexpot after leaving the show) sneaks a ride in Mr. Laroque's (busy character actor and famous face John Hubbard, appeared in seven 77SS episodes) car during a sandstorm at deserted desert diner where a murder has taken place. Laroque has a dress shop at 77 Sunset Strip and when Kookie parks Laroque's car, he discovers the girl. Laroque's partner in crime Wilkes (Mickey Simpson, boxer turner actor, who usually played thugs and heavies) spots the girl getting out of Laroque's car.

Kookie drives Carrie to Max Lewin's Chez Paulette (Lewin plays himself.  For more info on the Chez Paulette see the recap of "Hit and Run," Season 1, Episode 14) in the Kookie Kar (actually Chez Paulette was right across the street, they could have walked there), where she tells Kookie a story about a murder.  Kookie offers to put her up at Suzanne's (Suzanne is on vacation with Roscoe incompetently filling in on the switchboard, in a running joke as Roscoe become more and more confused as the episode goes on).  When a horny beatnik tries to pick up Carrie, she belts him, while Kookie beats up a couple more beatniks for good measure.

Meanwhile at Bailey & Spencer Stu gets a job to find missing teenaged heiress, Carrie Rocklin, serial runaway. Roscoe manages to get a call through to Jeff, at the airport, and Stu tells him to keep an eye out for the runaway heiress.  Also casing the airport id B&S rival, cheap PI Leggs Carson (famous face King Donovan, comic actor who appeared in numerous TV shows and was a regular on shows like "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" and "The Bob Cummings Show"), who usually picks up the crumbs that fall from the B&S sandwiches.

At Suzanne's Kookie brings Carrie salami and pickles for breakfast and decides she's "the ginchiest." At 77SS Kookie finds out about the missing girl and confesses he knows where she is. Kookie takes Jeff and Stu to Suzanne's, followed by Leggs, who's followed by Wilkes.  Sure they've found the missing heiress, Jeff and Stu have Kookie keep an eye on Carrie while they contact Silas Rocklin, the girl's grandfather. Kookie's interested in reading an article about "Maverick," while Carrie apparently has more amorous interests in mind. Not wanting to return home, Carrie locks Kookie in the closet and splits, running into Leggs and Wilkes. Wilkes takes them to Laroque's, while Kookie interrogates an eleven-year-old Kookie wannabe.

With Carrie missing again, Stu tells Jeff to stall Silas, while he and Kookie look for the missing girl.  Jeff takes Silas for a tour of LA's freeway system, trying to check in periodically to see if Carrie's been found yet.  During one such phone call, Jeff gets connected to a sexy voiced Mary Tyler Moore (uncredited), but Roscoe cuts him off before he can get her address.  Disgusted, Silas has Jeff and Stu arrested, leaving Kookie to rescue the not so helpless girl.  Kookie does the Errol Flynn bit in the best fight sequence of the whole series, beating up Laroque, Wilkes and even Leggs (Kookie was on a roll).

Saved by Kookie, Carrie ends up  becoming a big Hollywood star, going on a date with Will Hutchins (TV's "Sugarfoot," who gets mentioned repeatedly in the episode) at Dino's. 

A fun episode, with a good blend of humor and drama. Exactly the combination that made 77SS a success. Rather than becoming a partner, Kookie should have been used like this more often.      

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"Six Superior Skirts." (Season 2, Episode 3) "And One Inferior Plot."  Stu is hired by an insurance company to guard a collection of jewelry to be modeled at a charity event at Dino's run by Al Mulden (Ralph Clanton, appeared in tons of 50s and 60s TV, usually playing military officers, judges and similar types). Mr. Halevy (Abraham Sofaer, an unusual looking actor who, naturally, was cast as maharajahs, sheiks, Jewish moneylenders, Native American chiefs, and other ethnic types) is the jeweler who arranged the collection for the event. Six lovely young socialites, each from a different US city, are to model the jewels as they compete for the Miss Socialite contest, while Will Hutchins (TV's "Sugarfoot" getting more cross-promotion by WB) emcees the event. Since Bailey & Spencer are guarding the ice, we know this won't end well.  

Kookie and Roscoe are assisting Stu in protect the gems.  Kookie by hitting on the socialites; Roscoe by keeping an eye out for low-lifes and gambling on the ring-toss game. Laura Stanley (Diane McBain, the fact that she starred in the infamous "5" episodes shouldn't be held against her.  She apparently thought Edd Byrnes was a egomaniac.), Miss Boston, passes out from insulin shock and a nurse Blaise Newsome (Joyce Meadows, who seems to have worked a lot in the early 60s, then retired, and returned in the 90s), hired for the event, gives Laura her insulin.  Roscoe spots Big Phil Ashton (William Hudson, husband of the "50 Foot Woman"), who is suspected in the Gold Coast jewel heist in Chicago. (Ever notice how all the crooks on 77SS are from Chicago?  But none of the socialites are from there.) Stu escorts him from the premises.

After the parade of socialites for the crowd, Halevy spots the Moorfield diamond worn by Miss Boston as a phony.  It's just one of those things that the gem's somehow been switched while everyone was watching.  Gil, the homicide detective, is called in to investigate.  Warner Bros. recording artists the Mary Kaye Trio entertain the crowd while Stu, Gil and Suzanne frisk the suspects.  Will Hutchins finds a ransom note.  The crook will return the diamond for $100,000 in cash from the charity funds collected.

Gil suspects Ashton is the mastermind.  Stu questions Miss Boston about her diabetes. Halevy gets another ransom note. The Mary Kaye Trio play another whole number, annotated by Kookie, who's making out with Miss Augusta (Kaye Elhardt, who had a fairly short career, but appeared in eight 77SS episodes). Apparently they had a lot of time to kill in this episode, with two full musical numbers by the Mary Kaye Trio (Mary Kaye was known as “The First Lady of Rock and Roll” and has a Fender Stratocaster named for her, the Mary Kaye Tribute Strat)  and even "Daily Variety" columnist Army Archerd (best known for hosting the Academy Awards pre shows) dragged in for no apparent reason other than, probably, to get him to promote the show in his column.

Stu somewhat miraculously solves the whole crime and Roscoe wins the ring-toss in an unexpected fashion.

A similar plot was later used in "To Catch a Mink" (Season 5, Episode 31).  Sort of a middling episode, with some effective light touches.  But the solution to the "mystery" is a bit "deus ex machina," Stu solves the crime with info that comes in from stage left, though the crooks are really rather obvious because none else could have done it. But this is probably what 77SS's audience wanted, Hollywood glamour, beautiful girls, a little humor and a story that didn't task the brain after a hard day's work.

*

"Clay Pigeon." (Season 2, Episode 4)  Mildred De Witt (Paula Raymond, a leading lady whose career was hurt after she was seriously injured in a car accident, ironically, on Sunset Strip), agent for shock jock Sam Gurney (famous face Dan Tobin, busy character actor usually cast in annoying roles), host of local radio's "The Sam Gurney Show," hires Stu to investigate the people on a list of names Sam gave her.  Sam is being considered for a big national television show, but appears nervous about the offer.  Roscoe traces ex-mobster Rocky Podesta (Steven Ritch, oddly Ritch wrote 77SS episode “The Fix” in season 2) to the Lucky Seven Club, but the club's not so lucky for Rocky when he's shot after Stu questions him.

In Santa Marca looking for barber Max Krail (Joey Faye, comic credited for inventing the “Slowly, I Turn” bit), the next name on the list, Stu stops in on the town's police chief Laverne "Happy" Happerson (Charles Fredericks, character actor who appeared on most of the Oaters of the era), who's not happy about being questioned by a private dick.  That night when Stu finally meets up with Krail, he's sandbagged and Krail is shot with Stu's gun.  Figuring "Happy" won't be as understanding as Gil, Stu flees the scene of the crime.

Framed for two murders and with the police looking for him, Stu visits Mildred, only to discover she's left town.  A visit to Gurney, leads to Gurney telling Stu he doesn't know anything about the list. Hold up in a motel in Modesta, Stu gets Suzanne to visit Eve Scott (Laura Wood) in the sanitarium where she now lives, but the old bat breaks down before she can give Suzanne anything useful.  Meanwhile Kookie visits wacky modern artist Eleanor Forbes (Christine Nelson, comic actress, who played Roscoe’s girlfriend Princess Moonbeam in the “Celluloid Cowboy” episode), daughter of the last name on the list.  He learns that her father died years ago.

While the cops stake out 77 Sunset Strip, Stu learns from Gurney that Mildred is back in town.  When Stu shows up at Mildred's apartment she takes a pot shot at him.  She claims Gurney's behind the whole thing.  Pretty soon everybody's at Mildred's, including Gurney with a gun.  Stu uses an old OSS trick to get the upper hand and solves the case, leaving Happy unhappy.

Sam Gurney might be based on Joe Pyne, an LA radio and TV talk show host whose show tended to him spewing vitriol at all concerned, though Gurney is more pleasant.  Paula Raymond's accident is oddly mirrored in the episode "Hit and Run" (Season 1, Episode 13), Raymond needed extensive plastic surgery to recover her looks, just like in that episode.

Edited by Tom Holmberg

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"Thanks for Tomorrow." (Season 2, Episode 5)  "Laura Petrie and Batman walk into a bar..."  Jeff runs into old army buddy Lonnie Drew (Adam West, TV's "Batman") and his wife, Marie (Mary Tyler Moore, TV's Laura Petrie and Mary Richards) at Dino's.  Lonnie owns a failing restaurant on Sunset called the Starting Gate, and Marie tells Jeff she's concerned about Lonniw consorting with gamblers. Lonnie is laying off $100,000 in bets on a rigged race for a syndicate of Vince Pool (famous face and tough guy actor Brad Dexter, best known from "The Magnificent Seven), an old-flame; Benny Hayt (Ben Welden, who played hoods and thugs in everything from TV's "The Adventures of Superman" to TV's "Batman); and Detroit mobster Gus Borje (Sam Buffington, bit actor who died less than a year after this episode first ran), pretending to be "Mr. Anton."

Lonnie, still jealous of Lonnie for stealing Marie from him, delivers a briefcase with $100,000 in cash to Lonnie for the bets, rather than a check.  As Lonnie is putting the briefcase in his restaurant safe, two thugs burst in and make off with the cash.  Marie asks Jeff to help her husband.  Lonnie believes that Vince set him up for a fall with Borje to get him out of the way.  Rather than calling the police, Lonnie decides to use his credit with bookies across the country, to still lay off the bets as if nothing has happened. If the horse wins the fixed race the bookies will have to pay off at two to one.

To complicate matters a rival breeder enters the race with two horses, one a speed horse to tire out the leaders.  Jeff has Kookie looking for the thugs who stole the briefcase, while Roscoe consults with his racetrack touts. Kookie locates the thugs and Jeff lays down the lowdown that they've stole the money from mob boss Borje.  Vince tries to set up Lonnie to take the fall, but Lonnie, Jeff, Kookie and the two thugs show up in time to turn the tables on old Vince.

This episode was written by famed writer W.R. Burnett from his novel. Burnett wrote "Little Caesar" and the original "Scarface", as well as "High Sierra," “The Asphalt Jungle,” and the screenplay for "The Great Escape," which explains why the plot is so tight.  Mary Tyler Moore had an uncredited part in the "Kookie Caper" episode (Season 2, episode 2).

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"Sing Something Simple." (Season 2, Episode 6)  Roscoe and Stu are enjoying the opera when the Phantom of the Opera almost drops a sack of sand on the head of diva Zina Felice (Hollywood leading lady Linda Darnell, slumming on TV, in one of her last acting jobs). Producer Renardo (famous face Neil Hamilton, Batman's Commissioner Gordon) has hired Stu to discover who has been threatening his star performer. Kookie and Suzanne go undercover to guard Felice; Kookie as a spear-carrier in the production, and Suzanne as Felice's maid, while Stu pretends to be Felice's latest beau.

The company is loaded with suspects, including John Barone (Richard Garland), Felice's wastrel ex-husband; Rosa Marcini, Felice's ambitious understudy; Paul Descartes (Nico Minardos), tenor and lover of both Felice and Rosa; and Papa Puccini (William Edmunds, another actor known for playing ethnic types, the doorkeeper with an expensive photography hobby.

Searching Felice's dressing room Suzanne finds an old blackmail note, demanding cash to turn over compromising pictures.  Descartes suspects Stu is a cop. Following a party at Felice's, with all the suspects present, Roscoe gets blown up starting Stu's car. Felice fires Stu, but Stu figures he has one last day to solve the mystery.

Suzanne rifles through Descartes' drawers and finds a program with letters cut out matching the blackmail letters, while Felice goes to meet the blackmailer, with Kookie, Stu, Roscoe and Renaldo following.  Meanwhile, back at the theater, Suzanne is being stalked by the blackmailer. Everyone shows up in time to save Suzanne and catch the criminal, with Kookie having another energetic, Errol Flynn fight scene.

A decent story.  The Kookie Kar gets a work out. The rest of the cast gets screen time, with a Suzanne in danger plot.

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"The Treehouse Caper." (Season 2, Episode 7)  Shorty Adams (Tom Drake, "the boy next door" in “Meet Me in St. Louis”) breaks out of prison and into the offices of Bailey & Spencer at 77 Sunset Strip. Jeff had helped put Shorty away. But the severely wounded Shorty doesn't want revenge, his last request before he dies of his wounds is to make amends by getting Jeff to recover the $250,000 in gems and have Jeff split the $50,000 reward with his little daughter.

Lennie Paris (Donald Barry, generally cast as a villain, but he also played “Red Ryder”), Shorty's partner in crime, also wants to get his hands on the gems.  When drives out to the old chicken farm where Lennie buried the loot under his daughter's treehouse, he finds the house and trees burned down and Gil waiting to talk Jeff into using the loot as a lure to catch Lennie when he tries to get the buried treasure. Shorty's daughter, living with relatives in Chicago, is called to come to LA and help identify the location of the treehouse.

To the horror of all the teenaged girls in America, Kookie wakes up bald. Jeff sends Kookie to the airport to pick up Vicky Travers (Bunny Cooper , in just about her only screen credit), Shorty's little girl, who of course turns out to be a beautiful dish. Gil explains the dangers that could befall them when Jeff and Vicky go dig up the plunder. Jeff gives Vicky a tour of LA taking her to Max Lewin's Chez Paulette (the third appearance of the famed LA coffeehouse) and later to Dino's, where Frankie Ortega entertains.

The whole cast, Jeff and Vicky, Gil and the insurance adjuster, and Lennie, all drive out to the old chicken farm to spring the trap, but after a lot of digging (which Jeff doesn't dig), Vicky decides she doesn't know where the treehouse was located. Back at 77SS, Jeff tells Gil he'll have Kookie bury a box out at the old chicken farm that night to use as a decoy to catch Lennie.  When Jeff picks up Vicky the next morning, she tells him Gil called and changed the plan and that they should go out to the old chicken farm early.

Jeff digs up the phony box, Lennie shows up to grab it. Even more people show up. Kookie saves the day. Jeff gets the crooks.

A good story with a good twist. Pretty much what every 77SS should be.

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"The Widow and the Web." (Season 2, Episode 9) "Single Indemnity." Pacific Orient Insurance, suspicious of its own claims investigators, hires Jeff  as a test to investigate a couple of claims.  Jeff is given the case of Jerry Shannon, who died in a workplace accident at Ferris Abrasives. Jeff questions Carl Dorr (John Beradino, Dr. Steve Hardy, “General Hospital”, ex-major league baseball player), the plant's personal director and safety manager, who gives him the lowdown on the accident and is eager to clear up the claim so Jerry's widow can get the insurance money.

Jeff's next stop is at the apartment of Jerry's second wife, femme fatale Elaine Shannon (sexpot Suzanne Lloyd), where the helpful Carl is just leaving, having told Elaine that the claim is being investigated. Elaine seems less interested in Jeff investigation than in where's the insurance money. Elaine tries charming Jeff to hurry things along.  Jeff stops by Elaine's landlady's, Mrs. Ryan (famous face Nancy Freeman, another in a long line of 77SS comic landladies who steal the episode) room for a beer and some potato chips.  Leaving the apartment house Jeff finds a note on his car saying Jerry's death was no accident.

Elaine phones Jeff, frightened because she got a similar note and she thought she was being followed.  Back at Elaine's, Jeff's kissy-face session with Elaine is interrupted by an anonymous phone call. Leaving the building Jeff gets his mandatory bludgeoning.  Still nursing a headache, Jeff questions the employees at Ferris Abrasives, including Johnny Liston (Mark Roberts), and determines that Eddie Fleet (Jim Oberlin) was the author of the anonymous notes.

Jeff meets with Gloria Shannon (Patricia Michon), Jerry's movie plain-Jane sister, who dislikes Elaine and who wants to adopt Jerry's daughter (by his first wife) Jonquil.  Jeff has Kookie tail Fleet, who ends up at a bar. By the time Jeff shows up to talk to Fleet, Jeff finds him dead in the men's room.

Now that she figures she's close to getting her insurance payoff, Elaine decides she's leaving town and leaving Jonquil with Gloria.  At Ferris Abrasives a large piece of industrial equipment almost clobbers Jeff, leading Jeff to conclude somebody there wants to kill him (you think?). Jeff returns to the Shannon apartment to clear up the case and deadeye Mr. Ryan, a gun in one hand and a beer in the other, saves the day.   

Average. Obviously Elaine throws herself at every man in the movie, so the conclusion is no big surprise. Based on a novel by Robert Martin, prolific pulp novelist.

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"The Texas Doll." (Season 2, Episode 11) Jim Ferris (the unfortunately named Douglas Dick) hires Jeff to investigate sleazeball Romeo, Rick Allen (famous face Rhodes Reason), who's courting rich Texas widow Ann Benson (Marilyn Monroe wannabe Carol Ohmart, made six 77SS appearance).  Ann's step-daughter heiress Christine Allen (Sherry Jackson, back for another 77SS appearance), hates her former bar girl step-mother and is also interested in Rick. Ferris sets Jeff up for a double date with the teenaged Chris, and Rick and Ann.  Rick, who knows Jeff's a P.I. insists they go to Dino's, where they are entertained by the Frankie Ortega Trio.  Rick contacts his mobster associates, who he owes $125,000 to, to get Jeff off his back.  Rick needs to marry Ann ASAP to get his hands on her money to pay off his mob debts. After leaving Chris, Ann and Rick, three thugs waylay Jeff and beat the snot out of him.

Chris, to spite her step-mother, makes a play for Rick, who figures Chris' money is as good as Ann's. Ferris gets Chris to drop into 77SS to talk to Jeff.  She tells Jeff she doesn't care what kind of man Rick is and gives Kookie the cold shoulder. Visiting Max Lewin's Chez Paulette coffeeshop with Roscoe, Kookie has a run-in with Rick, who beats him and Roscoe to a pulp. All the beatnik girls rush to comfort Kookie, almost tripping over an unconscious Roscoe.

At Kookie's hip pad, our first look at where Kookie lives, Chris shows up (the WB recording artists The Mary Kaye Trio are on the stereo), Chris shows up and Kookie invites her to the beach.  Meanwhile, after Ann dumps Rick, Rick gets a phone call from the Mob dating service, EvilHarmony, who tells him to get married to Chris or he's going to sleep with the fishes.  Rich uncle Clay Benson (Stephen Chase, “The Blob”) shows up with Ferris and gives Jeff a hard time. Rick gets Chris stinking drunk.  Ann shows up to tell Rick to leave Chris alone.

Jeff and Kookie show up at the Benson apartment to find Rick dead and Chris dead drunk.  Gil arrests Chris as a material witness in the murder.  Ann, hoping to save Chris from a murder rap, confusedly confesses to killing Rick.  She's arrested too. Figuring that Ann's story doesn't hold up, Jeff questions Chris, who also confesses to the murder.  Suspicious, with the number of suspects who haven't confessed dwindling (uncle Clay even suggests Kookie is the murderer), Jeff takes Ferris to Dino's, where he inadvertently gives Jeff the clue that cracks the case.  Jeff convinces Gil to trick the real killer into confessing.

A decent mystery that takes too long to get going. It's like old home week with Sherry Jackson, Carol Ohmart, Max Lewin and The Mary Kaye Trio showing up again so soon.

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“The Secret Island.” (Season 2, Episode 10.)  Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, tale of a fateful trip, that started from a tropic port, aboard this tiny plane. The P.I. was a mighty detecting man, the robber suave and sure. Five passengers took off that day, for a three hour trip, a three hour trip. The weather started getting rough, the tiny plane was tossed. Even with the courage of the fearless crew, the plane would be lost, the plane would be lost. The plane crashed landed near the shore of an uncharted desert isle, with Stu Bailey, the robber too; the wayward husband and his wife; the other woman, and Tuesday Weld, here on nuclear isle.

Stu is returning to the States with jewel robber, Pierre D’Albert (Jacques Bergerac, TV’s go-to sexy Frenchman, he played the Frenchman who’s marriage was broken up by Laura Petrie. He was married to Dorothy Malone and Ginger Rogers. And later became Paris head of Revlon), the plane they are in crashes into the sea with only Stu, Pierre, Dave Connell (Grant Sullivan), his wife Amanda (Catherine MacLeod, made a career in soap operas in the 60s), his girlfriend Carol Miller (Kathleen Crowley, again), and their daughter Barrie (sex kitten Tuesday Weld) surviving the crash.  Exploring the island they find a U.S. Navy shanty with supplies and a weather station.  Climbing to the top of the weather station tower, they discover the island has a great big target drawn on it, literally a great big target drawn on it.  Stu recalls that there’s going to be an H-Bomb test on an island in the Pacific and guesses this is it. 

After a bunch of this and that-they’re going to get blown to atoms, everything else tends to fade to unimportance-they use the mirror in the weather station to signal the plane set to drop the bomb.  The story is bookmarked with some Kookie and Roscoe antics to lighten the tone (and get Kookie in the episode).

Actually not a bad episode, not really your typical 77SS material. No polar bears appear on the island.

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"Vacation With Pay." (Season 2, Episode 12) Stu is in Europe, but fortunately no Ref menace rears its head this time, just the usual 77SS Eurotrash. Oil millionaire Gerald Anderson (famous face Herbert Rudley, Eve Arden’s husband on "The Mothers-in-Law") hires Stu to escort his two daughters, Lili (Kipp Hamilton, had a short career mainly on TV) and Bobbie (Judy Nugent, started in the 40s as a child actor, The Magnificent Obsession,” then had a short adult career on TV), on a grand tour of the stock footage of Europe and keep them out of trouble, especially the slutty Bobbie.  Stu invites Kookie to accompany him and keep an eye on Bobbie. Also on hand, once they land in Paris, is Gerald's wastrel brother Ralph (John Sutton), who lives an idle life in Paris on Gerald's money.

Nightclubbing in Paris, Kookie and Bobbie teach the Parisians how to jitterbug (apparently they've gone through a time warp back to the forties), but Bobbie is more interested in Ralph's smooth French Romeo buddy, Pierre Le Claire (Donald Buka, he’s not French).  Stu checks up on Pierre with his Sûreté contacts and discovers he's a petty crook.  Boobie, I mean Bobbie, sneaks out of the hotel to meet Pierre for a tour of the Louvre, steals uncle Ralph's car, and is arrested by one of Paris' famed humorous motorcycle cops for reckless driving.

Looking for Bobbie, Stu takes Kookie and Lili dress shopping (don't ask).  Ralph bails Bobbie out of jail, only to have her kidnapped by a couple thugs. Tied up in the crooks' apartment, Bobbie is rescue by the heroic Pierre, who bursts through a window and single-handedly beats up and disarms the pair of thugs.  Of course the whole thing is a set-up to make Pierre the hero (at Stu's expense).

Daddy Gerald shows up, angry with Stu at his incompetence.  By the time they find Bobbie, she's married to Romeo Pierre. It turns out that Ralph was in on the plot with Pierre and the two thugs, but he gets a conscience when Pierre plans on killing his new father-in-law, to get his Parisian paws on half of Daddy's fortune.  Gerald, pointing out that Bobbie has been arrested, kidnapped and married while under Stu's protection, fires him. Daddy takes over the girls' tour, taking them to the racetrack because when in Paris that's the first place you'd take young women, new to the city.

Stu rescues Ralph, who's being held by his former accomplices. Ralph reveals Pierre's plan to have Gerald assassinated at the racetrack. Rushing to the racetrack, Stu is stopped by the comic cop (at the same spot he stopped Bobbie), but Stu flees with the Le Flic in hot pursuit. Rushing to stop the killing during the longest horse race in history (though Kookie has time to meet Paris' answer to Roscoe), Stu disarms the assassin and hands him over to M. Motorcycle Cop.  With Pierre out of the picture, Kookie and Bobbie make goo-goo eyes at each other (according to Kookie, Bobbie is the "skizziest"-which doesn't really sound like a compliment).

A simple story, let down by TV's cheapest-looking sets and stock footage.    

Edited by Tom Holmberg

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"Created He Them." (Season 2, Episode 13) An old friend of Stu's asks him to help Dr. Mary Lee Adams (Adele Mara, wife of 77SS creator Roy Huggins in her last appearance on the show), who is going to be prosecuted for the death of her paralyzed husband Jonathan. Asst. D. A. Page "Society Page" Donelson (Edward Kemmer, Commander Corey o “Space Patrol”, later appeared on many soap operas), an old friend of Dr. Adams, wants her to plea a mercy killing, to prevent a conviction for murder.  Dr. Page denies killing her husband, and a mercy killing conviction would wreck her medical career.  To complicate matters Donelson's wife Claire (Jean Bryon, best remembered as Patty Duke’s mother on “The Patty Duke Show” and as Dobie Gillis' professor, Dr. Imogene Burkhart) and a patient of Dr, Adams, suspects her husband is having an affair with Dr. Adams.

Donelson again warns Dr, Adams that she's in danger of being found guilty of murder if she doesn't plea the lesser charge,  Stu has Roscoe check out Mrs. Logan (Margaret Irving, “Animal Crackers”), the Adams housekeeper, who served the glass of milk that the drug that killed Jonathan Adams was in, and who left immediately to visit her sick sister.  Roscoe reports that Mrs. Logan's sister was sick. Stu then sends Roscoe off to investigate Page Donelson, which he does at Max Lewin's (who gets some more free advertising from the show) Chez Paulette (Stu, Roscoe and Kookie, serving again as translator, drive to the coffeehouse, even though it was actually locate across the street from Dino's). Beatnik poet/milkman Bennie (famous face Victor Buono, in a nice bit part) plays the bongos and gives the poetic version of his dope, which Kookie turns to prose.  "Society Page" Donelson has a girlfriend who lives in a beach house in Malibu ("boo-boo" according to Bennie).   

Back at 77SS, Jeff tells Stu that Donelson has gotten the State to put a hold on the firm's next year's P.I. license. Back at Dr. Adams' Stu goes over the  story of how the fatal glass of milk was served by Mr, Logan.  Besides Dr, Adams and Mrs. Logan, the only other person who was at the house was patient Claire Donelson.  Stu confronts Claire about her visit to Dr. Adams and tricks her into confessing as her husband overhears the whole thing.

The story and teleplay were written by director george waGGner. A good straight forward mystery.  The teenaged audience gets to be concerned that Kookie will leave the show to become an oil man.  Suzanne has a nice bit where she explains to Stu what sort of woman a man like "Society Page" would want to have an affair with. Were the cast and crew getting free espressos from Chez Paulette from all the free publicity?

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"Collector's Item." (Season 2, Episode 15) Jeff is hired to guard some art on display at a gallery.  There he meets the Countess Dracula (actually “Countess Marushka”, Mary Windsor, b-movie bad girl, “The Killing”).  The Countess shows up at 77SS with a job for Jeff.  He wants him to deliver a sculpture she bought, a lost Rodin (or a lost “Dobie Gillis”, according to Kookie), to New York for $5,000 and airplane tickets to NYC.  Jeff picks up the sculpture at a small gallery on La Cienaga. That night Jeff gets a call from Kookie who's been coshed by some goons who rifled the Bailey & Spencer offices, while on the phone Jeff discovers his phone is being tapped. Jeff checks out the offices and when he returns home he finds that his apartment has been search as well.

Investigating, Jeff returns to the art gallery and discovers it is out of business. At the airport he learns that his ticket has been cancelled. Investigating the statue further Jeff finds that it is a machine-made fake.  Countess Dracula shows up at Jeff's apartment with a gun, but he tells her he doesn't have the statue there and can't get it until the next day.  

Burglars show up at 77SS again, this time manhandling Roscoe and Kookie both.  Jeff shows up in time to catch one of the burglars, only to discover it is a government man after the real crooks. The feds have been using Jeff as bait to catch the foreign agents.  Jeff is sneaked out of his offices in an ambulance and he switches places with one of the attendants. Jeff and the fed take the sculpture to a forensic lab, where it is determined that the phony Rodin is made out of a to-secret super-plastic used in the space program.

The Countess demands the statue back and Jeff stalls her.  Jeff and the feds set up a trap for the dastardly spies.

In a side story Kookie wants to introduce his new girlfriend, WB singing "star" Joanie Sommers (recorded "Kookie's Love Song" with Edd Byrnes in 1959 and the 1962 #7 hit "Johnny Get Angry"), to talent agent Mr. Samuels (Jim Backus, who gets to do a little Mr. Magoo at the end of the episode).  Joanie gets to sing two full numbers with the Frankie Ortega Trio.

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"The One That Got Away." (Season 2, Episode 17) Bailey & Spencer have another insurance case, to investigate the death of Wheeler Carthwright (Brad Weston, appeared in eight 77SS episodes), a professional photographer and owner of a chain of camera shops.  Wheeler died while taking underwater photos and his body was never recovered. Phil Marsden (William Hudson, husband of the 50 Ft. Woman), Wheeler's photographic assistant presumes he was eaten by sharks.  Jeff has Kookie dive for Wheeler's camera, which shows a possible shark attack.

Questioning Wheeler's wife, Diana Carthwright (Whitney Blake, Mrs. B from "Hazel", co-creator of "One Day at a Time", mother of Meredith Baxter Birney) who is having an affair with Marsden and more interested in getting her greedy paws on the insurance money than discovering what happen to her late husband, Jeff discovers Wheeler spent a lot of time in Mexico.  Pictures in Wheeler's darkroom show many of a beautiful Mexican woman.  He also finds that Wheeler's shop in Tijuana, owned by an old friend, has lost large sums of money.

In Tijuana, Jeff tries to get info about Wheeler from the camera shop, but Wheeler's old friend plays dumb, but a photograph by Wheeler in the shop gives Jeff a clue that Wheeler might just still be alive.  Jeff travels to the small coastal village of Soledad, where it's almost a dead certainty Jeff will slap the guitar.  After giving a concert, Jeff visits Pilar Sanchez (Lisa Montell, an exotic beauty who worked in the 50s and early 6os, then retired. Although she was Polish, she played many ethnic types incl., Mexicans, Native Americans, South Sea Islanders, South Asians, etc.), the woman in Wheeler's photos, who plays dumb, as does her mute cousin Manuel.  But getting a light from Manuel, lights up Jeff's suspicions as well as his cigarette.  Meanwhile, Roscoe, who has tagged along with Jeff, becomes Soledad's champion cockroach racing owner, with his speedy bug, Pedro.

Jeff locates Carthwright and convinces him the right thing to do is square things with his wife.  Diana, Marsden and Wheeler meet at the local cantina, while the village thugs waylay Jeff.  Diana decides the only way she'll get the money is to have Marsden kill her husband.  Roscoe rescues Jeff from the thugs by bribing them with his famed racing cucaracha, Pedro. Jeff arrives in time to burn down Wheeler's house, save Wheeler from murder and rescue Diana from the burning house.

This was Kookie's last episode before he went on strike for a bigger role and more money. While on hiatus Byrnes' drinking and drug problems were exacerbated. He only appeared in two additional episodes at the end of Season 2. While he might have upped his wages, the decision weakened the show and also turned the cool Kookie into the square Gerald Lloyd Kookson III. He went from dressing like James Dean to wearing suits. He went from driving the beautiful Kookie Kar, to driving your grandma's Ford Falcon. And he didn't even get more screen time, because when he finally returned he had to eventually compete with Richard Long as a new partner in the firm of Bailey & Spencer, Rex Randolph, who started in Season 3. Byrnes pretty much got screwed on the deal, which was typical of WB.

Another insulting 77SS goes to a foreign country where they aren't like us episode. But this was typical of popular culture of the era.

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