Edd Byrnes, Kookie in 77 Sunset Strip, dies

Edd Byrnes, front, in a TV Guide cover featuring the cast of 77 Sunset Strip

Edd Byrnes, whose hip parking lot attendant in 77 Sunset Strip became enormously popular, has died.

The death was announced on Twitter by his son, Logan Byrnes, a San Diego TV news anchor.

The tweet attached a press release that said Edd Byrnes died on Wednesday of natural causes. That press released gave his age as 87, but other sources, including a  New York Times obituary, listed it as 86.

77 Sunset Strip (1958-64), an ABC series produced by Warner Bros., featured Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Roger Smith as smooth Los Angeles private detectives. It had a snappy title song and would spawn similar private eye series, including Hawaiian Eye and Bourbon Street Beat.

Edd Byrnes appeared in the pilot episode of 77 Sunset Strip, Girl on the Run, as a villain.

But following an audience preview, kids navigated toward Byrnes, who had played “a cold-blooded killer, a no-good from way back. He didn’t have one redeeming feature,” Roy Huggins, the series creator, said in a 1998 interview for the Archive of American Television.

As a result, Byrnes was brought back as the hair-combing Kookie, who parked cars at the restaurant next door to the private agency featured in the show.

The private eyes, former OSS agent Stuart Bailey (Zimbalist) and Jeff Spencer (Smith), soon pressed Kookie into service helping them on various cases. Eventually, Kookie was promoted to a detective at the agency.

Meanwhile, the Kookie role provided Byrnes the opportunity to record songs such as Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb.

Eventually, Kookie’s popularity waned. In the final season of 77 Sunset Strip,  the format was drastically changed. All the the cast fired except for Zimbalist and Stu Bailey became a lone-wolf private eye.

Byrnes continued on, appearing many television series as well as the movie Grease. His IMDB.COM ENTRY lists 85 acting credits through 1999.

No Time to Die trailer debuts

If you consider a trailer an unforgivable spoiler, stop reading.

No Time to Die’s trailer — we can safely stop calling it a “teaser trailer” — debuted today. The 2:35 trailer may have answered some fan questions while raising new ones.

Confirmed: Nomi (Lashana Lynch) is a double-0 agent. More information: she and former agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) don’t get along, at least not at first.

“So stay in your lane,” she tells Bond. “If you get in my way, I will put a bullet in your knee — the one that works.”

Unconfirmed: Whether Nomi now has the 007 code number following Bond’s departure. There is a scene in the trailer where M (Ralph Fiennes) asks, “Where’s 007?” That would be a perfect setup to introduce Nomi as having Bond’s old code number — if the filmmakers choose to do so.

Seemingly confirmed: Christoph Waltz is back as Blofeld and is visited in prison by Bond. Given the franchise’s embrace of continuity, it looks pretty certain he is playing Blofeld again. He taunts Bond about Madeline Swann.

New question: What happened between Bond and Swann (Lea Seydoux) after the end of SPECTRE?

A number of scenes indicate the relationship between Bond and Swann got rocky, with questions about secrets.

New question: What is Rami Malek’s villain character up to?

That’s not really answered but there are a few intriguing lines from Malek’s character.

In the U.S., the trailer was unveiled on ABC’s Good Morning America show. Afterward, some of the main cast were interviewed but said little.

Lea Seydoux said Swann has secrets (which we knew already from the trailer). Lashana Lynch said Daniel Craig is her favorite James Bond (joining Rami Malek and director Cary Fukunaga who made that declaration previously). Malek said it was an honor to work with Craig. At least that talking point remains consistent.

Here’s the trailer:

UPDATE (12: 30 p.m., New York Time): I had a chance to re-watch the Good Morning America interview. Director Fukunaga says No Time to Die “carries on the tradition of the previous four films…We’re trying our best to wrap them up in a really exciting way.” He also says he hopes new generations discover Bond.

UPDATE (1:40 p.m. New York time): It turns out the entire No Time to Die segment on Good Morning America was sponsored by MGM. In other words, it was an informercial.

NTTD-GMA-MGM

 

Bond 25 questions: The trailer edition

No Time to Die logo

h/t @CorneelVF for a tweet that got me thinking about this.

James Bond fans may finally get to see the first trailer for No Time to Die next week. Naturally, the blog has some questions.

Is this the teaser trailer we heard about back in August?

In August, the James Bond & Friends podcast referenced a rough cut, or preliminary version, of a teaser trailer for No Time to Die.

However, a finished version of that trailer — whatever it contained — has yet to be shown. Meanwhile, the MI6 James Bond website, which produces James Bond & Friends, reported this week the trailer will go online Dec. 4 or 5, depending on what time zone you’re in.

If that comes to be, will this be the same trailer? Or will it be different?

What makes you ask that?

In August, there was still a lot to be be filmed. In late August, filming began in Matera, Italy, involving replica Aston Martin DB5s and other vehicles in a car chase. That got a lot of exposure thanks to tourists taking smartphone videos.

What’s more, filming ended in late October. So there is a lot of footage available to update the trailer — if the filmmakers decide to do so. At this point, there’s no way to know for sure.

Do you think we’ll really see a trailer (updated or not)?

Walt Disney Television, which owns ABC, put out a press release about guests who will be appearing on Good Morning America next week.

On Dec. 4, No Time to Die’s Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and director Cary Fukunaga are listed as scheduled guests. It would appear to be a natural their appearance would come at the same time as the trailer.

Also, in late April, there was a segment about the movie on Good Morning America. Anyway, we’ll see how it plays out next week.

Bond 25 questions: Eve (?) of the announcement edition

It seems we’re about to get some Bond 25 news this week. But, given how Bond 25 development has gone the past three years, there are questions even in the home stretch.

What changes from the normal media launch might we see?

During the evening of April 23, the MI6 James Bond website came out with a story that said the following:

MI6 has been informed that there will be no traditional press conference.

Instead, specially recorded segments in Jamaica will be packaged by ABC TV (Good Morning America) in the USA and ITV in the UK (Good Morning Britain) for broadcast on Thursday and Friday this week.

Anything particularly odd about that?

U.S. network ABC, which airs Good Morning America, is owned by Walt Disney Co. Competitor NBC, which airs Today, a morning rival to Good Morning America, is owned by Comcast. Comcast, in turn, is parent company to NBC-Universal. The Universal part is Bond 25’s international distributor.

So?

From a distance, it would appear Bond 25 is messing over one of its corporate partners (Universal).

Any other concerns?

The blog is wondering if we’ll find out Bond 25’s actual title this week. This decade, at this point, we were told that Bond 23 would be called Skyfall and Bond 24 would be called SPECTRE.

Maybe we’ll be told Bond 25’s actual title. But the format of this week’s media event is different enough that the blog isn’t taking it for granted.

UPDATE (April 24): Comcast also is being shut out on the European side of the Atlantic when it comes to this week’s Bond 25 events. Comcast owns a controlling interest Sky. But ITV isn’t part of Sky. h/t to reader Rob Coppinger for bringing this to my attention.

UPDATE II: Reader @CorneelVf on Twitter has a post of a program guide indicating Comcast’s Sky will have a half-hour show on Thursday called Bond 25: The Announcement.

UPDATE III: The official Eon Productions 007 Twitter feed has details about a live Bond 25 announcement at 13:10 GMT on Thursday. Twitter users can ask questions using #BOND25. This may be a social media substitute for the traditional media event for 007 films.

 

Jonny Quest movie project resurfaces

The cast of Jonny Quest

A live-action movie based on the Jonny Quest adventure cartoon has resurfaced, according to the entertainment news website The Wrap.

Chris McKay, director of The Lego Batman movie, will helm the Quest project, The Wrap said. The website said it got the information from “individuals with knowledge of the project.” The Hollywood Reporter said it confirmed the news.

Three years ago, there were reports that Robert Rodriguez would co-write and direct a live-action Quest film.

Jonny Quest debuted in 1964 on ABC. It was made by Hanna-Barbera and created by cartoonist Doug Wildey. The series featured realistically drawn characters (with the except of Jonny’s dog, Bandit), a departure for H-B. The original version only lasted one season, although there were revivals in the 1980s and 1990s.

Jonny Quest was the son of widower scientist Dr. Benton Quest. They were protected by U.S. government agent Race Bannon. The group took in Hadji, a native of India.

Quest was Hanna-Barbera’s answer to James Bond. Development began after producer Joseph Barbera saw Dr. No. Hanna-Barbera initially intended to adapt the radio program Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy, but went with original characters instead.

The Hanna-Barbera cartoon brand was later absorbed by Warner Bros.’s animation unit. The movie, if it goes into production, would be released by Warner Bros.

In 2016, La-La Land Records released a soundtrack set of music from the 1964-65 season of Quest.

1988 Mission: Impossible series gets a soundtrack release

Mission: Impossible soundtrack from 1988 revival series.

A soundtrack to the 1988-90 Mission: Impossible revival television series is coming out from La-La Land Records, the company said July 23 ON FACEBOOK.

The price is $29.98 and sales will be limited to 1,988 units, La-La Land said. The new soundtrack includes music by Lalo Schifrin (composer of the famous Mission: Impossible theme) and Ron Jones.

The sets will include liner notes by film and TV music expert Jon Burlingame, who has worked on other La-Land projects, including a soundtrack for the original 1966-73 Mission: Impossible series.

The 1988 series starred Peter Graves, reprising his role as Jim Phelps of the Impossible Missions Force. In the first episode, he returns to the IMF after a protégé was killed. At the time it began production, there was a Writers Guild strike. As a result, the initial stories were based on scripts written for the original show. The revival series aired on ABC while the original had been telecast by CBS.

The revival soundtrack will go on sale July 31. Presumably, it will be sold (like other La-La Land offerings) on the company’s website.

Adrian Samish: Flip side of the Harlan Ellison punchline

Adrian Samish title card for a first-season episode of The Streets of San Francisco

Another in a series about unsung figures of television.

There are some people who are destined to be remembered as the punchline of an anecdote or joke.

One such person was Adrian Samish, who had a career as a producer and television network executive.

He’s the guy who had his pelvis broken as the result of a fight with writer Harlan Ellison over a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea script.

In the usual telling, Samish was the small-minded ABC executive who didn’t appreciate Ellison’s enormous talent.

For example, there’s this review at The New York Review of Science Fiction.

Harlan is in a conference with a “universally despised” ABC censor, Adrian Samish, discussing a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea episode. Samish’s notes are uniformly moronic. Harlan counters them, losing patience. Samish loses patience, exclaiming, “You’ll do it! Writers are toadies!”

This anecdote was told for years, especially by Ellison himself. It even was mentioned in the obituary published by The New York Times, although Samish wasn’t mentioned by name, nor was Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

Rarely, however, is life so black and white. With that in mind, this post takes a closer look at Samish’s career.

For one thing, Samish did extract a bit of revenge. Ellison pitched a story for the Batman television series for a story featuring the villain Two Face.

But Samish, on his way out the door at ABC, vetoed the idea. At least that’s the gist of this 2013 Den of Geek post. In 2014, Ellison’s story was adapted by Len Wein for the Batman ’66 comic book. Wein, co-creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing, dies last year.

After his tenure at ABC ended, Samish landed at QM Productions.

“The acid-tongued, perfectionist Samish demanded scripts so tight, so in keeping with a series’ format, more than one writer assaulted him physically,” according to the preface of the 2003 book Quinn Martin, Producer.

Adrian Samish title card for an episode of The FBI during the 1966-67 season where he got top billing over Arthur Fellows.

Samish came aboard QM for shows produced for the 1966-67 season. He was given the title “in charge of production,” which Samish shared with a key Quinn Martin lieutenant, Arthur Fellows.

Samish focused on pre-production while Fellows supervised the QM editing and post-production operation. Their shared credit would appear near the conclusion of the end titles. Both names appeared separately, with the two men alternating top billing.

Thus, is would appear, “In Charge of Production Arthur Fellows | And Adrian Samish” or, “In Charge of Production Adrian Samish | And Arthur Fellows.”

According to Quinn Martin, Producer author Jonathan Etter, the two didn’t have much use for each other. Fellows thought Samish had no talent, Etter quotes Richard Brockway, a QM editor, as saying.

On the other hand, John Elizalde, a QM music supervisor and post-production supervisor, told Etter that Samish was a valuable member of the team.

“Adrian was one of the good guys,” Elizalde told Etter. Samish, he said, was “brilliant, and very creative, and a victim of his own devices…Adrian was the major-domo for Quinn in the writing department.”

One fan was actress Lynda Day George, a member of the “QM Players,” of frequently employed actors at the production company.

“Adrian was very concerned that a show maintain its integrity,” George told Etter. “He wanted to be sure that characters were understood, that what was wanted by the production was understood.” Etter wrote that Quinn Martin trusted Samish’s judgment.

However, Samish on more than one occasion aroused anger during a run of several years at QM.

Philip Saltzman and Mark Weingart, the producer of associate producer of The FBI, had written extra scenes for an episode that was running short. Samish called Saltzman, angry that the extra material hadn’t been approved in advance.

An argument ensued. “I threatened to go over to Adrian’s office and beat him up,” Saltzman told Etter. “And I’m not a physical guy.”

In this instance, no blows took place. Quinn Martin called Saltzman after seeing Samish in his office. “He’s as white as a sheet,” Saltzman quoted Martin as saying. “What happened?”

After an explanation, Martin reportedly responded, “Aw, you know. People get set in their ways.” Saltzman told Etter that after the incident “I never had any trouble with Adrian.”

Starting with the 1968-69 season, Samish was given a new title, supervising producer, while Arthur Fellows retained “in charge of production.”

Adrian Samish title card for a first-season episode of producer Aaron Spelling’s Starsky and Hutch series. 

Samish, over time, also took on the task of producer of QM TV movies and pilots. Sometimes by himself (House on Greenapple Road, which resulted in the Dan August series, as well as the pilots for Barnaby Jones and The Manhunter). Sometimes with Fellows (the pilots for Cannon and The Streets of San Francisco).

Samish ended up departing QM in the 1970s to work for producer Aaron Spelling. Samish died in 1976 at the age of 66.