77 Sunset Strip was the first of four detective series produced by Warner Brothers for ABC between 1958 and 1960 (The others were Bourbon Street Beat, Hawaiian Eye and Surfside 6) Each featured a (semi-)exotic locale, a cast of faces familiar to TV audiences of the era (Van Williams! Robert Conrad!) and a jazzy earworm of a theme song:
77 Sunset Strip also featured a star-making supporting turn by Edd Byrnes as Gerald Lloyd “Kookie” Kookson III as the jive-talking, hair-combing valet for the Sunset Boulevard landmark Dino’s Lodge. Kookie-mania was briefly A Thing, which included a novelty duet with Connie Stevens that reached #4 on the pop charts, and a booklet detailing the character’s elaborate slang.
By 1960, Byrnes was promoted to co-star status as he joined Efrem Zimbalist Jr and Roger Smith as a partner in the detective agency. All was well until the sixth season when ABC decided to mess with success by bringing in Jack Webb as the new executive producer and firing the entire cast, save Zimbalist, leading to the show’s mid-season cancellation.
Byrnes remained sufficiently popular to be included in Jane Sherrod Singer’s 1970 collection Cooking With the Stars: Hollywood’s Favorite Recipes, sharing his mother’s cookie recipe, the perfect accompaniment “while sipping espresso at a Sunset Strip coffeehouse.”
1 Stick Butter, melted and cooled
1 Egg, beaten
1 Box White cake mix
10 Brach’s toffee’s, diced (these are now sold as Brach’s Milkmaid Royals)
Preheat oven to 350
Combine all ingredients. Drop in 1-inch balls on buttered cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until light brown.
Remove from oven, let cool on cookie sheet a few minutes, then carefully remove with spatula to cookie rack.
Makes about 20.
I’ve made these a number of times; how you feel about them will depend on how delicious you would find eating a box of cake mix and a stick of butter to be.
77 Sunset Strip has never received a commercial home video release; a “best of” collection of episodes (along with Hawaiian Eye) is available through the Warner Archive Instant service.