» » 77 Sunset Strip The College Caper (1958–1964)

Short summary

Bailey and Kookie enter college--as teacher and student--to protect a gangster's football-hero son.

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    • Author: krot
    Once again, "77 Sunset Strip" goes to college but this time it isn't Roger Smith posing as a student to crack Bailey & Spencer's latest case. Instead, Efrem Zimbalist and Edd Byrnes share the honors, the former impersonating a professor of Geology (about which he knows nothing) and Kookie as a transfer student (who happens to be a terrific football player). The reason for this grand deception? A notorious gangster's worst enemy has just been released from prison and notifies him that to get revenge for a past "injustice", he is going to murder the gangster's son currently enrolled in a nearby college where he is not only an All-American football hero but the most popular boy on the coed campus. But here's the catch: This kid has no idea who his dad is because his mother who raised him told him his father was deceased. And his dad wants to keep things that way, fearful that if the son he loves so much ever knew his true identity, he'd be scarred for life (especially when we learn that junior is studying to be a lawyer!). So, with the full cooperation of the college's president, Zimbalist is installed as the school's Geology prof while arrangements are made for Kookie to be the boy's bodyguard (and roommate and member of the football team where this gifted fellow is the star player). That's the set-up and I'll go no further except to mention it's a first-rate episode where things don't quite come off as you might expect. Of special note are two of the young actors in co-starring roles. 23-year-old newcomer Chad Everett (already signed to a Warner Bros. contract) is perfectly cast as the gangster's son (and would make two more appearances in the series, playing a bad guy in one of them). Though deprived of any heavily dramatic scenes, his cleancut good looks, charisma and easy-going appeal so strongly resembled the young Paul Newman that a bright future in movies and TV seemed guaranteed. And in a role so small he received no screen credit, 19-year-old Robert Logan (as one of the college students) so impressed the Warner Bros. execs that he soon joined "77 Sunset Strip" as a regular, replacing Edd Byrnes as the parking lot attendant at Dino's Lounge when Kookie was promoted to a starring role as one of the private detectives. In fact, the only element missing from this episode was the lack of gorgeous blonde starlets usually employed to display their charms in supporting roles. No matter. Jacqueline Beer as the detectives' secretary/receptionist, though virtually ignored when the show was originally telecast, was actually the most beautiful and bewitching young lady to ever grace "77 Sunset Strip". Her few scenes at the beginning of the episode are enough to bring to it her very special luster. Small wonder that in a previous episode, Roger Smith's Jeff Spencer fell deeply in love with her and even asked her to marry him. The title of that episode escapes me, but the chemistry and romantic sparks set off by Ms. Beer & Mr. Smith I'll always remember!
  • Episode complete credited cast:
    Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. - Stuart Bailey
    Roger Smith Roger Smith - Jeff Spencer (credit only)
    Edd Byrnes Edd Byrnes - Kookie (as Edward Byrnes)
    Richard Long Richard Long - Rex Randolph
    Jacqueline Beer Jacqueline Beer - Suzanne
    Chad Everett Chad Everett - Mark Adams
    Alan Baxter Alan Baxter - Frankie Arnold
    Marian McKnight Marian McKnight - Sally Butler
    Claudia Barrett Claudia Barrett - Gloria Phillips
    Byron Keith Byron Keith - Lt. Gilmore
    Steve Mitchell Steve Mitchell - Hood #2
    Karl Lukas Karl Lukas - Hood #1
    William Forrest William Forrest - John Morgan
    Karen Parker Karen Parker - Jean
    Julie Van Zandt Julie Van Zandt - Girl
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