Honey West (TV series)
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 TV series in her name.
|Based on||Honey West|
by G.G. Fickling
|Theme music composer||Joseph Mullendore|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||30 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer||Aaron Spelling|
|Camera setup||Single camera|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company||Four Star Television|
|Original release||September 17, 1965 –|
April 8, 1966
|Related shows||Burke's Law|
Thirty half-hour episodes were produced. The entire series is available on DVD.
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. 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.”
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. Anne Francis’ fashions in the Honey role were by Nolan Miller, and her action scenes choreographed by Gene LeBell. The series was developed for television by Gwen Bagni and Paul Dubov, writers of several Burke's Law episodes.
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 African 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.
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.
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".
This article needs a plot summary. (August 2018)
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"The Swingin' Mrs. Jones"||Paul Wendkos||Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov||September 17, 1965|
|2||"The Owl and the Eye"||Paul Wendkos||William Bast||September 24, 1965|
|3||"The Abominable Snowman"||Paul Wendkos||Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov||October 1, 1965|
|4||"A Matter of Wife and Death"||John Florea||Tony Barrett||October 8, 1965|
|5||"Live a Little... Kill a Little"||Murray Golden||Tony Barrett||October 15, 1965|
|6||"Whatever Lola Wants...."||John Peyser||William Bast||October 22, 1965|
|7||"The Princess and the Paupers"||Virgil W. Vogel||Leonard Stadd||October 29, 1965|
|8||"In the Bag"||Seymour Robbie||Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov||November 5, 1965|
|9||"The Flame and the Pussycat"||James Goldstone||George Clayton Johnson||November 12, 1965|
|10||"A Neat Little Package"||Murray Golden||Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov||November 19, 1965|
|11||"A Stitch in Crime"||John Peyser||Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov||November 26, 1965|
|12||"A Million Bucks in Anybody's Language"||John Florea||Tony Barrett||December 3, 1965|
|13||"The Gray Lady"||Walter Grauman||Richard Levinson & William Link||December 10, 1965|
|14||"Invitation to Limbo"||Tom Gries||Richard Levinson & William Link||December 17, 1965|
|15||"Rockabye the Hard Way"||Bill Colleran||Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov||December 24, 1965|
|16||"A Nice Little Till to Tap"||Jerry Hopper||Tony Barrett||December 31, 1965|
|17||"How Brillig, O, Beamish Boy"||Ida Lupino||Don Ingalls||January 7, 1966|
|18||"King of the Mountain"||Thomas Carr||Jay Simms||January 14, 1966|
|19||"It's Earlier Than You Think"||James H. Brown||Marc Brandel||January 21, 1966|
|20||"The Perfect Un-Crime"||Sidney Miller||Ken Kolb||January 28, 1966|
|21||"Like Visions and Omens and All That Jazz"||John Florea||Tony Barrett||February 4, 1966|
|22||"Don't Look Now, But Isn't That Me"||James H. Brown||Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov||February 11, 1966|
|23||"Come to Me, My Litigation Baby"||Thomas Carr||Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov||February 18, 1966|
|24||"Slay, Gypsy, Slay"||James H. Brown||Tony Barrett||February 25, 1966|
|25||"The Fun-Fun Killer"||Murray Golden||Arthur Weingarten||March 4, 1966|
|26||"Pop Goes the Easel"||James H. Brown||Story by : Gail Allen & Chris Christensen|
Teleplay by : Lila Garrett & Bernie Kahn
|March 11, 1966|
|27||"Little Green Robin Hood"||Sidney Miller||Ken Kolb||March 18, 1966|
|28||"Just the Bear Facts, Ma'am"||James H. Brown||Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov||March 25, 1966|
|29||"There's a Long, Long, Fuse A'Burning"||Thomas Carr||Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov||April 1, 1966|
|30||"An Eerie, Airy, Thing"||James H. Brown||Richard Levinson & William Link||April 8, 1966|
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. 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.
- Niebuhr, Gary Warren (2005). "Honey West: A fresh look". Mysteryfile.com. Steve Lewis. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
- McLellan, Dennis (April 11, 1998). "Skip Fickling, Honey West Creator, Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- Mizejewski, Linda (2004). Hardboiled & High Heeled: The Woman Detective in Popular Culture. Routledge. p. 55.
- Wagner, Laura (November 18, 2008). "Private Eyeful". Classic Images website. Archived from the original on May 15, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- "Gene's Film & Television Career". Gene Lebell website. Archived from the original on 2005-12-30. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- Britton, Wesley Alan (2004). Spy Television p. 183. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-2759-8163-1.
- "The Rap Sheet: A Taste of Honey". Therapsheet.blogspot.com. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
- "Amazon.co.uk, ''Honey West'' DVD info". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
- "Amazon.com, ''Honey West'' Product Details". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-05-15.