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Honey West (TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Honey West
HoneyWestDVD.gif
Honey West complete series DVD cover (UK version)
GenreCrime drama
Action
Based onHoney West
by G.G. Fickling
StarringAnne Francis
John Ericson
Theme music composerJoseph Mullendore
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes30 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producerAaron Spelling
ProducerRichard Newton
Camera setupSingle camera
Running time25 minutes
Production companyFour Star Television
Release
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 17, 1965 (1965-09-17) –
April 8, 1966 (1966-04-08)
Chronology
Related showsBurke's Law

Honey West is a ground-breaking American crime drama television series that aired on ABC from September 17, 1965, to April 8, 1966, as an entry in the 1965–1966 television season. Based upon a series of novels that had launched in 1957, the series starred Anne Francis as female private detective Honey West and John Ericson as her partner Sam Bolt. The popular series was historic in that it marked the first time that a woman played the lead character in a network TV series with her character's name as the title (the syndicated Annie Oakley had a similar distinction in its category a decade earlier).

Thirty half-hour episodes were produced. The entire series is available on DVD.

Creation

The Honey West character was created by Gloria and Forrest E. “Skip” Fickling under the pseudonym “G.G. Fickling” in the late 1950s. Skip had been a United States Army Air Forces air gunner during World War II, then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve after the war, when he was called back into active service during the Korean War.[1] The G.G. represented the initials of his wife, Gloria Gautraud, whom he married in 1949, with initials used so the sex of the author would remain vague. Though Gloria said that most of the writing was done by Forrest, Forrest said Gloria's ideas were used to make a plausible female character, with Gloria also providing Honey's dress sense. Forrest told the Los Angeles Times, “I first thought of Marilyn Monroe, and then I thought of [fictional detective] Mike Hammer and decided to put the two together ... We thought the most used name for someone you really like is Honey. And she lives in the West, so there was her name.”[2]

West was one of the first female “private eyes” to ever appear on television. Francis first played West in the second-season episode of Burke’s Law, entitled “Who Killed the Jackpot?”, broadcast on April 21, 1965, which led to this series being commissioned as a spin-off. West drove a Jaguar convertible in the Burke's Law episode and was twice referred to as the "private eyeful." She carried a gun and was trained in martial arts. Honey West was intended to be the American equivalent of characters Cathy Gale and Emma Peel in the British series The Avengers.

Producer Aaron Spelling's first choice for the role of Honey was Honor Blackman, whom he had seen in England playing Cathy Gale on The Avengers and as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. Blackman turned the role down.[3] Anne Francis’ fashions in the Honey role were by Nolan Miller,[4] and her action scenes choreographed by Gene LeBell.[5] The series was developed for television by Gwen Bagni and Paul Dubov, writers of several Burke's Law episodes.

Synopsis

Francis as Honey West with Bruce.
Francis as Honey West with Bruce.
John Ericson
John Ericson

As in the Burke's Law episode introducing her, West has a partner and man-Friday, Sam Bolt (John Ericson), who communicates with Honey via a radio hidden in her lipstick case. In the television series, she keeps a pet ocelot named Bruce. (In “The Fun-Fun Killer”, which originally aired on March 4, 1966, the Africa-set series Daktari is showing on Honey's TV, and Honey asks, “Oh Bruce, why do we always have to watch your show?”)

Honey's alluring feline qualities were reflected in her animal-print wardrobe and apartment decor. For sneaking around at night and engaging in energetic fight scenes, she wears a black fabric bodystocking reminiscent of Emma Peel's leather jumpsuit. Like Peel's Lotus Elan sports car, Honey's similar-looking AC Cobra convertible emphasized her independence and vitality. Although the racy content of the novels was excised for television, West often went on solo undercover missions that required a provocative or revealing outfit.

She uses a number of James Bond-like gimmicks: a high-tech surveillance van, an exploding compact, a garter-belt gas mask, and tear-gas earrings. West is a black-belt in judo, as is Sam, who is an ex-Marine.

Some episodes of this series, including the final one, were scripted by Richard Levinson and William Link, who would later be affiliated with such noted series as Columbo and Murder, She Wrote.[6]

Cast

Guest stars

Among those appearing during the series' 30-episode run were Joe Don Baker, James Best, Lloyd Bochner, Edd Byrnes, Dick Clark, Charlene Holt, Nancy Kovack, Kevin McCarthy, Maureen McCormick, Bert Parks, Michael J. Pollard, Wayne Rogers, Everett Sloane and Bobby Sherman.

Trivia

Episode 3, "The Abominable Snowman" has a plot where cocaine is being smuggled inside snow globes, and is one of the earliest references in popular TV culture to cocaine as "snow".

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"The Swingin' Mrs. Jones"Paul WendkosGwen Bagni & Paul DubovSeptember 17, 1965 (1965-09-17)
Honey sets out to solve a mystery at a resort.
2"The Owl and the Eye"Paul WendkosWilliam BastSeptember 24, 1965 (1965-09-24)
A jade owl is stolen from a museum.
3"The Abominable Snowman"Paul WendkosGwen Bagni & Paul DubovOctober 1, 1965 (1965-10-01)
When a man is murdered, Honey and Sam discover and expose a cocaine ring.
4"A Matter of Wife and Death"John FloreaTony BarrettOctober 8, 1965 (1965-10-08)
Honey and Sam take action when Maggie's life is threatened....or is it?
5"Live a Little... Kill a Little"Murray GoldenTony BarrettOctober 15, 1965 (1965-10-15)
Karen has been targeted for death. Will Honey and Sam be able to keep her safe?
6"Whatever Lola Wants...."John PeyserWilliam BastOctober 22, 1965 (1965-10-22)
When Honey agrees to go to Lola's party with Vargas, she discovers Lola is a criminal mastermind.
7"The Princess and the Paupers"Virgil W. VogelLeonard StaddOctober 29, 1965 (1965-10-29)
Honey and Sam investigate the kidnapping of a rock group's frontman(Bobby Sherman).
8"In the Bag"Seymour RobbieGwen Bagni & Paul DubovNovember 5, 1965 (1965-11-05)
Honey has her hands full with a bratty child and a gang of gem smugglers.
9"The Flame and the Pussycat"James GoldstoneGeorge Clayton JohnsonNovember 12, 1965 (1965-11-12)
Honey and Sam are on the trail of a mysterious arsonist.
10"A Neat Little Package"Murray GoldenGwen Bagni & Paul DubovNovember 19, 1965 (1965-11-19)
An amnesiac, a hotel room key, and a huge wad of money are essential clues in a bizarre mystery.
11"A Stitch in Crime"John PeyserGwen Bagni & Paul DubovNovember 26, 1965 (1965-11-26)
En route to a fashion show in San Diego, Honey and Sam are carjacked, and a number of very expensive gowns are stolen along with their van.
12"A Million Bucks in Anybody's Language"John FloreaTony BarrettDecember 3, 1965 (1965-12-03)
When their friend, Charlie is killed by a car bomb, Honey and Sam discover a counterfeiting ring.
13"The Gray Lady (Pilot Episode)"Walter GraumanRichard Levinson & William LinkDecember 10, 1965 (1965-12-10)
Honey comes up with a plan to prevent the theft of a valuable diamond.
14"Invitation to Limbo"Tom GriesRichard Levinson & William LinkDecember 17, 1965 (1965-12-17)
Local businessmen are being hypnotized into committing inside jobs.
15"Rockabye the Hard Way"Bill ColleranGwen Bagni & Paul DubovDecember 24, 1965 (1965-12-24)
Honey and Sam deal with bad guys in Mexico.
16"A Nice Little Till to Tap"Jerry HopperTony BarrettDecember 31, 1965 (1965-12-31)
Honey and Sam take on bank robbers.
17"How Brillig, O, Beamish Boy"Ida LupinoDon IngallsJanuary 7, 1966 (1966-01-07)
A criminal gang led by Mr. Brillig is after a package containing a large amount of cash.
18"King of the Mountain"Thomas CarrJay SimmsJanuary 14, 1966 (1966-01-14)
A wheelchair-bound paraplegic may be behind the murder of his own nurse.
19"It's Earlier Than You Think"James H. BrownMarc BrandelJanuary 21, 1966 (1966-01-21)
A newspaper with a front page story about Lincoln's assassination, a murder victim's cryptic statement, and three men claiming to be the dead man's brother draw Honey into her most baffling case yet.
20"The Perfect Un-Crime"Sidney MillerKen KolbJanuary 28, 1966 (1966-01-28)
A thief recruits Honey and Sam to put back the money he stole from his own department store. Note: The scene of Honey posing as a mannequin was inspired by The Twilight Zone episode "The After Hours," which starred Anne Francis.
21"Like Visions and Omens and All That Jazz"John FloreaTony BarrettFebruary 4, 1966 (1966-02-04)
A psychic's predictions endanger the life of a young heiress.
22"Don't Look Now, But Isn't That Me"James H. BrownGwen Bagni & Paul DubovFebruary 11, 1966 (1966-02-11)
A woman disguised as Honey frames her for a series of robberies. Note: Anne Francis plays both Honey West and the impostor, Pandora.
23"Come to Me, My Litigation Baby"Thomas CarrGwen Bagni & Paul DubovFebruary 18, 1966 (1966-02-18)
A gang of criminals are committing insurance fraud by faking accidents.
24"Slay, Gypsy, Slay"James H. BrownTony BarrettFebruary 25, 1966 (1966-02-25)
When a rich man is kidnapped by a band of gypsies, things are not what they appear to be.
25"The Fun-Fun Killer"Murray GoldenArthur WeingartenMarch 4, 1966 (1966-03-04)
The owner of a toy factory, and a researcher at the factory's testing lab have both been murdered by a life-sized robot.
26"Pop Goes the Easel"James H. BrownStory by : Gail Allen & Chris Christensen
Teleplay by : Lila Garrett & Bernie Kahn
March 11, 1966 (1966-03-11)
Aunt Meg can't understand why thieves stole a can of chicken gumbo that she just bought at the supermarket.
27"Little Green Robin Hood"Sidney MillerKen KolbMarch 18, 1966 (1966-03-18)
28"Just the Bear Facts, Ma'am"James H. BrownGwen Bagni & Paul DubovMarch 25, 1966 (1966-03-25)
29"There's a Long, Long, Fuse A'Burning"Thomas CarrGwen Bagni & Paul DubovApril 1, 1966 (1966-04-01)
30"An Eerie, Airy, Thing"James H. BrownRichard Levinson & William LinkApril 8, 1966 (1966-04-08)

Reception

Honey West was cancelled after just one season. This came down to two factors: competition from Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., and financial considerations. ABC executives reportedly decided it would be cheaper to import The Avengers and air it in the same time slot rather than produce Honey West at a significantly steeper price.[7] Nonetheless, Francis received nominations for a Golden Globe Award and a Best Actress Emmy for her performance.

The series was rerun in the late 1990s as part of TV Land's inaugural lineup.

Home media

In 2006, Delta Home Entertainment released the entire series on Region 0 DVD in the UK.[8]

VCI Entertainment issued a North American Region 1 DVD release of the series in September 2008.[9]

References

  1. ^ Niebuhr, Gary Warren (2005). "Honey West: A fresh look". Mysteryfile.com. Steve Lewis. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  2. ^ McLellan, Dennis (April 11, 1998). "Skip Fickling, Honey West Creator, Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  3. ^ Mizejewski, Linda (2004). Hardboiled & High Heeled: The Woman Detective in Popular Culture. Routledge. p. 55.
  4. ^ Wagner, Laura (November 18, 2008). "Private Eyeful". Classic Images website. Archived from the original on May 15, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  5. ^ "Gene's Film & Television Career". Gene Lebell website. Archived from the original on 2005-12-30. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  6. ^ Britton, Wesley Alan (2004). Spy Television p. 183. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-2759-8163-1.
  7. ^ "The Rap Sheet: A Taste of Honey". Therapsheet.blogspot.com. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  8. ^ "Amazon.co.uk, Honey West DVD info". Amazon.co.uk. 20 November 2006. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  9. ^ "Amazon.com, Honey West Product Details". 2 September 2008. Retrieved 2013-05-15.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 June 2022, at 13:48
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