Nostalgic Memory: 77 Sunset Strip – A Private Eye Game Based on the TV Show

Our readers have been asking for another nostalgic look back at a toy or game from the past. I was surprised to see that it had been over 6 months since we posted one of our nostalgic reviews.  So, here we go.

In the fall of 1958, ABC premiered a new detective TV show starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Roger Smith.  They played private eyes with an office at 77 Sunset Strip.  However, the real attraction of the show came from Edd Byrnes, who played “Kookie,” the parking lot attendant next door.  In fact, his original supporting role became so popular and essential to the show, that he was basically the star in the eyes of many of the show’s younger viewers.  “Kookie” was best known for snapping his fingers, and talking in a timely beatnik style.
I have to admit that “77 Sunset Strip” was my favorite TV show during that period of time, and just about everybody I knew thought “Kookie” was the best.  His most famous quote was “Baby, you’re the “ginchiest,” which meant you were attractive and cool.

The TV show ran for 6 years, and in 1960 the Lowell Toy Mfg. Corp. released “77 Sunset Strip,” a private eye board game of mystery and suspense.  The art work on the box featured all three stars from the TV show.  The object of the game was to be the first player to solve the crime, finding the motive for the crime, the time at which the crime was committed, and the weapon used.

“77 Sunset Strip”  was a game for 2-4 players.  It came with 4 plastic detective pieces, 1 die, 1 clue pad, 1 note pad, 1 set of 15 clue figures, and 1 set of 27 time, weapon and motive cards.  The game board pictured various rooms in a motel.  Clues in the shape of small die-cut figures were placed face down and distributed throughout the various rooms.  When a player entered a room, he could look at a clue, which assisted him in discovering the room number where a particular object was located. The game was much like the game of “Clue,” but it actually had its own personality, and in many ways was a much more fun experience.  

I still have my original game, in fairly good condition, with the box, rules and playing pieces still intact.  It is hard to believe that “77 Sunset Strip,” the board game is over 50 years old.  In looking at my game, I found that I had kept some of the used score pads, with names of childhood friends and scribblings that I had not looked at during those same 50 years.  If you search hard enough, you can still buy a copy of “77 Sunset Strip.”  I saw one available for $75.00.

Of course, I had to play a game with my wife.  She won in about 45 minutes, but it was fun moving around the board and thinking about “Kookie” again.  I snapped my fingers a few times during the game, despite the frown on my wife’s face.  I even told her she was the “ginchiest,” but she just did not understand.
— RJ Cullen

Posted in Nostalgic