77 Sunset Strip. Terminally cool hepcat detective telly of the fifties, and fertile fictional soil from whence sprang Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson, he of the comb and smouldering looks out from under eyebrows as perfectly coiffed as the, well, coiffure. Not that I mentioned that manicured thing about the eyebrows. That is not cool.
The Strip ran for 206 episodes and god knows how many of these I've seen, but apparently not the pilot. Or the second episode. In the first episode, ladies and germs, Kookie was cast as a serial killer, nabbed by our heroes the PIs and sent away to pay The Ultimate Price for his crimes. But the preview audiences loved Kookie.
So, what do you do? Well, duh. You pull the classic "Oh, For God's Sake" move. You come up with some anemically thin but marginally tenable narrative which explains ... whatever crazy thing you need explaining.
Christopher Lambert: There can be only ONE!
De- and re-capitated Sean Connery: Well, you know. Except for when there was this rebellion 500 years ago and there's a special magical bond between the two immortals whose lives were threatened by this other immortal and then there's a special bringing-back-to-life swordfight which is um, specially not like the other special swordfights where we die, and ... uh, you know, not.
Audience: OH, FOR GOD'S SAKE.
Right. The dog ate it. Whatever. We return to episode 2 of 77 Sunset Strip, where market forces are compelling us to pluck Kookie from the jaws of death. Hold your breath. Efram Zimbalist, Jr., who plays one of our pair of heroes, ex-secret agent PI Stu Bailey, appears on screen. As himself.
Zimbalist: We previewed this show, and because Edd Byrnes was such a hit we decided that Kookie and his comb had to be in our series. So this week, we'll just forget that in the pilot he went off to prison to be executed.
Absolutely magic. A balls-out, cards-on-the-table, red-handed, honest-to-god do-over. My faith in second chances is utterly restored. Let's peel from this gig.