How We Went Koo-Koo for "Kookie"
Who could have known that a serial killer would become one of TV’s first teen idols?
In the late 1950’s, private eye shows were giving Westerns a real run for their money in prime time. Starting in the summer of 1957, Richard Diamond (created by Blake Edwards) made the jump from radio to television and did pretty well.
In the fall of 1958, two “imitation Diamonds” hit the air: Peter Gunn (also created by Edwards) and 77 Sunset Strip (created by Roy Huggins). Both were smash hits.
Huggins had intended his series to be hard-boiled, centering on former military intelligence officer Stu Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.). However, viewer reaction to a serial killer in the pilot soon sent the series in a radically different direction.