Gary: “An exciting new TV Series hit our screens in 1958 and lasted until 1964…”
77 Sunset Strip
Now, believe it or not 2 hit records came from the actors of this series. One could not sing a note, Edd Byrnes (above).
The other actor could sing, Connie Stevens, and she was gorgeous (my vote!)
1. Kookie, Kookie, (Lend Me Your Comb) Edd Byrnes & Connie Stevens/ Warner 5047/ 4/27/1959/ #4 Billboard
2. Sixteen Reasons (loved this song and her)/ Warner 5137/ 3/14/1960/ #3 Billboard
Her first album was titled Concetta (1958). She had minor hits with the songs Blame It On My Youth, Looking For A Boy, and Spring Is Here. She appeared opposite James Garner in a comedy episode of the TV western series Maverick entitled “Two Tickets to Ten Strike,” and after making several appearances on the Warner Bros. hit TV series 77 Sunset Strip, she recorded the hit novelty song Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb, a duet with one of the shows stars, Edward Byrnes. She also recorded the hit single Sixteen Reasons (1960). It hit the top five in both Billboard and Cashbox.
Kookie’s character—a valet parker at Dean Martin’s “Dino’s Lodge” restaurant next door to 77 Sunset Strip—frequently acted as an unlicensed detective who helped the private eyes (Zimbalist and Roger Smith) on their cases. He called everybody “Dad” and was an example of the hipster of the late ’50s and early ’60s who talks jive talk and knows “the word on the street.”
Kookie’s constant tending of his ducktail haircut led to many jokes and a hit song, “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb“, which he recorded with Connie Stevens, and which reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also appeared on an album of Edd Byrnes “songs” called “Kookie“. His fan mail reached 15,000 letters a week, according to Picture Magazine in 1961.
Byrnes walked off the show in the second season demanding a bigger part that the producers eventually acceded to.
Owing to restrictions in his Warner Brothers contract, he was forced to turn down roles in Ocean’s Eleven (1960), Rio Bravo (1959), North to Alaska (1960) and The Longest Day (1962). However he appeared in the Warners films Darby’s Rangers (1957) (replacing Tab Hunter), Marjorie Morningstar (1958), Up Periscope and Yellowstone Kelly (both in 1959). He tested for the role of John F. Kennedy in PT 109 but the President preferred Cliff Robertson.
His typecasting led him to buy his way out of his contract with Warners.