6 July 2008 | bkoganbing
Calling Surfside 6-----in Miami Beach
Before Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome and Don Johnson as Sonny Crockett lived and worked out of a houseboat as detectives, this Warner Brothers entry in their cloned detectives series was the first show to operate out of Miami Beach. Miami Beach as defined by the Warner Brothers back lot.
This show featured Van Williams, Lee Patterson, and the up and coming Troy Donahue as yet another private eye firm in an American exotic location. Seeing how well Connie Stevens was scoring in Hawaiian Eye as gal pal to the detectives there, something that the original model 77 Sunset Strip lacked, Warner Brothers used another one of their starlets under contract Diane McBain. Van Williams came over from Bourbon Street Beat which lasted the shortest of any of the Warner detective series.
And as McBain was not a singer, Surfside 6 boasted Warner Brothers next generation answer to Carmen Miranda, Margarieta Sierra as Cha Cha O'Brien. She was the saddest story in the bunch, a year after Surfside Six ended, the poor woman who apparently had congenital heart problems died.
Although Van Williams later became TV's Green Hornet he was overshadowed there by the up and coming Bruce Lee as Kato. The big breakout stars were of course Donahue and McBain. Donahue was the Edd 'Kookie' Byrnes of the group and he quickly overtook Kookie in popularity and then just as quickly fell.
Of course detectives from those other shows crossed over with cases and the Surfside Six guys also went on their shows.
As Jack Warner was too cheap to shoot these things on location, Surfside 6 is not in the class of Miami Vice and never in a million years could it be. Still it was a pleasant piece of early sixties diversion.