Surfside Six

Dave Thorne, Ken Madison and Sandy Winfield II

Created by William Orr and Hugh Benson

The hook in Surfside Six was that the three hip (and hunky) detectives, DAVE THORNE, KEN MADISON and SANDY WINFIELD, worked out of a houseboat moored across the street from the Fountainbleau Hotel on the real-gone locale of Miami Beach. The obligatory babe character quota was filled by next boat neighbour Daphne Dutton, an eccentric socialite, and wacky colour was provided by nightclub entertainer Cha Cha who performed in the hotel's Boom Boom Room.

And yes, the name of the show was repeated ad nauseum in the show's theme song just in case anyone forgot what they'd just tuned into.

In other words, it was just another Warner Brothers detective show, inhabiting the same warped, incestuous TV universe as 77 Sunset Strip (where the original formula was concocted), Bourbon Street Beat and Hawaiian Eye, and possibly the weakest of the bunch, seemingly built from leftover scripts and other scraps from the other shows. In fact, originally, Kenny was originally a private eye on Bourbon Street Beat, but when that show flopped, he was recycled into Surfside.

The truth is, the shows eventually became so interchangeably lame that you just never knew who would drop in from another show. Like, Kookie and Jeff Spencer from 77 Sunset Strip appear in "Love Song For A Deadly Redhead" and The Frank Ortega Trio, the house band at Dino's, the hip club where the 77 P.I.s hung out, appeared in the "A Piece Of Tommy Minor" episode.

AN INSIDE JOB

  • "Sure, the plots were lame and the writing inept, but given how wooden he was, you'd have thought Troy Donahue's acting skills alone coulda kept the show afloat for years."

-- Duke Seabrook

  • , a man so wooden"I'm going through a six- page promo that Warners gave to ABC to sell Surfiside 6 to the network, trying to find some way to credit Roy Huggins with Surfside 6. It's great-- the running characters have different names, different backgrounds and the supporting players are completely different and no woman is included. The last credit I can find for Roy Huggins is for the final Maverick of the 1958-59 season, aired on March 29, 1959. I think he left the studio just before that. The initial Surfside I believe was to be a thing called "Conventional Killing". I have the final script dated July 1, 1960, the teleplay by Richard De Roy based on a story, "Body in the Bikini" written by William Edward Hayes. Yet, no production number was given to that script. The first production number, first shot, was 7211, "The Clown," which ended up being the third show aired. The first show aired was "Country Gentleman," which was production # 7216, the sixth show shot. Confused yet?"

-- name and address withheld by request

  • "...the book Warner Bros. TV by Lynn Wooley et al makes no mention of Huggins. It seems to be a copycat creation by William Orr and Hugh Benson to continue the adventures of Ken Madison (Van Williams) in a more exotic location than Bourbon Street. A secondary
    motive was the desire to create a series for Troy Donahue who became popular after the release of 1959's A Summer Place."

--Arthur Lortie

TELEVISION

  • SURFSIDE SIX
    (1960-62 ABC)
    74 60-minute episodes
    Writers: Montgomery Pittman, Roger Smith, Anne Howard Bailey, Richard DeRoy, Gloria Elmore, Herman Groves, Erna Lazarus, Sonya Roberts, Hugh Benson
    Directors: Charles Rondeau, Irving J. Moore, Robert Douglas, george waGGner, Michael O'Herlihy, Paul Landres, Montgomery Pittman
    Producers: Charles Hoffman, Joel Rogosin
    Executive Producer: William T. Orr
    Theme music by Mack David and Jerry Livingston
    A Warner Bros. Production
    Starring Lee Patterson as DAVE THORNE
    and Van Williams as KENNY MADISON
    with Troy Donahue as SANDY WINFIELD II
    Also starring Diane McBain, Margarita Sierra, Richard Crane, Donald "Red" Barry, Mousie Garner
    Guest stars: Claude Atkins, Lon Chaney, Jr., Elisha Cook, Jr., Bruce Dern, Chad Everett, Dennis Hopper, Ellen McRae (Burstyn), Gerald Mohr, Mary Tyler Moore

  • Season One
  • "Country Gentleman" (October 3, 1960)
  • "High Tide" (October 10, 1960)
  • "The Clown" (October 17, 1960)
  • "According to Our Files" (October 24, 1960)
  • "Local Girl" (October 31, 1960)
  • "Par-a-Kee" (November 7, 1960)
  • "Deadly Male" (November 14, 1960)
  • "Power of Suggestion" (November 21, 1960)
  • "The International Net" (December 5, 1960)
  • "The Frightened Canary" (December 12, 1960)
  • "Girl in the Galleon" (December 19, 1960)
  • "Bride and Seek" (December 26, 1960)
  • "Little Star Lost" (January 2, 1961)
  • "Heels Over Head" (January 9, 1961)
  • "The Facts on the Fire" (January 16, 1961)
  • "Yesterday's Hero" (January 23, 1961)
  • "Thieve's Among Honor" (January 30, 1961)
  • "License to Steal" (February 6, 1961)
  • "Race Against Time" (February 13, 1961)
  • "Black Orange Blossoms" (February 20, 1961)
  • "The Chase" (February 27, 1961)
  • "Ghost of a Chance" (March 6, 1961)
  • "The Impractical Joker" (March 13, 1961)
  • "Inside Job" (March 20, 1961)
  • "Invitation to a Party" (March 27, 1961)
  • "Spring Training" (April 3, 1961)
  • "Double Image" (April 10, 1961)
  • "Circumstantial Evidence" (April 17, 1961)
  • "Vengeance is Bitter" (April 24, 1961)
  • "Little Mister Kelly" (May 1, 1961)
  • "Spinout at Sebring" (May 8, 1961)
  • "The Bhoyo and the Blonde" (May 15, 1961)
  • "An Overdose of Justice" (May 22, 1961)

  • Season Two
  • "Count Seven!" (September 18, 1961)
  • "The Wedding Guest" (September 25, 1961)
  • "One for the Road" (October 2, 1961)
  • "Daphne, Girl Detective" (October 9, 1961)
  • "The Empty House" (October 16, 1961)
  • "Witness for the Defense" (October 23, 1961)
  • "Laugh for the Lady" (October 30, 1961)
  • "Affair at Hotel Delight" (November 6, 1961)
  • "Jonathan Wembley is Missing" (November 13, 1961)
  • "The Old School Tie" (November 20, 1961)
  • "A Matter of Seconds" (November 27, 1961)
  • "Prescription for Panic" (December 4, 1961)
  • "A Slight Case of Chivalry" (December 18, 1961)
  • "Pattern for a Frame" (December 25, 1961)
  • "The Roust" (January 1, 1962)
  • "The Quarterback" (January 8, 1962)
  • "Separate Checks" (January 15, 1961)
  • "The Artful Deceit" (January 22, 1962)
  • "Anniversary Special" (January 29, 1962)
  • "The Surfside Swindle" (February 5, 1962)
  • "Who is Sylvia?" (February 12, 1962)
  • "Find Leroy Burdette" (February 19, 1962)
  • "Many a Slip" (February 26, 1962)
  • "The Green Beret" (May 5, 1962)
  • "Vendetta Arms" (March 12, 1962)
  • "A Piece of Tommy Minor" (March 19, 1962)
  • "Portrait of Nicole" (March 26, 1962)
  • "Eulogy for a Bookeeper" (April 2, 1962)
  • "The Money Gam" (April 9, 1962)
  • "Irish Pride" (April 16, 1962)
  • "Green Bay Riddle" (April 23, 1962)
  • "Love Song for a Dead Redhead" (April 30, 1962)
  • "Dead Heat" (May 7, 1962)
  • "Squeeze Play" (May 14, 1962)
  • "A Private Eye for Beauty" (May 21, 1962)
  • "Masquerade" (May 28, 1962)
  • "Pawn's Gambit" (June 4, 1961)
  • "Neutral Corner" (June 11, 1962)
  • "House on Boca Key" (June 18, 1962)
  • "Midnight for Prince Charming" (June 24, 1962)

NOVELIZATIONS

  • Surfside 6 (1962, by J. M. Flynn)

NOTE: An additional book by Talmage Powell was prepared for Whitman books (the same series that did the Maverick, Cheyenne, Man From UNCLE, etc. hardcovers) but wasn't published due to the cancellation of the show. I'm trying to see if it somehow got cycled into the UK or Australian series of these books.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Arthur Lortie and Dick Martin for some of the info on this page.


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