"Randolph and Calhoun" were private investigators working out of New Orleans.
Thirty-one year old Richard Long played senior partner Rex Randolph. The firm's offices were in Rex's elegant home. I loved the set of that home. There was a striking spiral staircase in Rex's office that led up to his bedroom. At the bottom of the staircase was a kitchenette where Rex liked to cook gourmet meals for his lovely guests. (Reportedly, this was the same set Warner Brothers had used for "A Streetcar Named Desire".)
Thirty-five year old Andrew Duggan was Cal Calhoun, a former small town police detective. Rex met Cal in the first episode when Rex was investigating the murder of his previous partner. Cal was less educated and more rustic than Rex. Cal had pictures of silent screen stars like Theda Bara on his office wall.
Twenty-four year old Arlene Howell played Melody Lee Mercer, their secretary. Melody's blond hair and lovely figure had won her many beauty contests, but she was still very prim and proper. Arlene (then Eurlyne) Howell had been Miss USA (representing Louisiana) in 1958, the year before she started this series.
Twenty-five year old Van Williams played Ken Madison, a young law student who works part time for the firm. Ken also invests a lot of time trying to melt Melody's reserve.
These were four nicely written roles and they were beautifully played by four very appealing actors. All four actors had star potential. Warner Brothers must have had a great talent program (although they didn't pay the talent much money.)
In one episode three men planning to assassinate a man running for governor take over Rex Randolph's home. The three killers were superbly played by Richard Chamberlain, James Coburn and John Marley. The writer of the episode was Richard Matheson ("Duel", "The Night Stalker", "I Am Legend").
Other impressive guest stars included Joanna Moore, Kathleen Crowley, Shirley Knight, Mary Tyler Moore, Madlyn Rhue, Diane McBain, Margaret Hayes, Nita Talbot, Rex Reason, Rhodes Reason, Ray Danton, James Drury, Robert Vaughn and Wayne Morris.
When "Bourbon Street Beat" was canceled, Ken Madison opened his own firm in Miami Beach. Ken now had his law degree. His partner Dave Thorne (Lee Patterson) was a former NYC assistant district attorney. Their combination home and office was a luxurious houseboat moored at "Surfside Six."
Rex also left New Orleans, moving to Los Angeles. He became a non-name partner in Bailey and Spencer, a firm whose address was "77 Sunset Strip". (Richard Long went from top billing to fourth billing.) Rex left Bailey and Spencer after one year. My guess is Rex opened his own firm in Beverly Hills, which would have been more his style than the garish Sunset Boulevard. Maybe Ken Madison eventually came out from Miami to be his partner. When Rex left Bailey and Spencer, Kookie moved up from being a lowly carhop to taking over Rex's office and becoming a full partner (with his own crime lab no less.)
Stuart Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) was in New Orleans on a case a couple of years later. Who does he run into but Cal Calhoun. Calhoun is now a detective lieutenant in the New Orleans Police Department. Calhoun recognizes Bailey's name. He says, "I think you inherited an old partner of mine for a while". Bailey realizes this must be the great Cal Calhoun that Rex talked about. But no one mentioned Rex by name. Calhoun says he prefers being on the force to private practice since there is a case waiting for him each morning, instead of having to worry about drumming up business. Apparently Cal couldn't keep the firm going without the charming Rex's ability to find clients.
Andrew Duggan had played a crooked New Orleans private eye in a 1956 episode of "Conflict" called "The Money". "Conflict" was a Warner Brothers anthology series produced by the great Roy Huggins, the creator of "77 Sunset Strip". This episode, which predated "77 Sunset Strip", must have partially inspired "Bourbon Street Beat". Other future series stars in addition to Duggan who had roles in "The Money" were David Janssen ("Richard Diamond"), Kathy Nolan ("The Real McCoys"), John Smith ("Laramie") and Peggie Castle ("Lawman"). Howard Browne was the writer of "The Money" and also wrote the story for the pilot of "Bourbon Street Beat".
Andrew Duggan worked again with Richard Long as a guest star on "The Big Valley." Van Williams also guest starred on "The Big Valley" in a pilot for a series where Williams would have played a sheriff with a young son. Van Williams also worked with Richard Long on a "Nanny and the Professor".
Sadly, we never saw much more of delightful Arlene Howell. My guess is she married well.
My favorite shows of the 1959-60 season were "Tightrope", "Mr. Lucky" and "Bourbon Street Beat".
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