77 SUNSET STRIP “Legend of Crystal Dart.” ABC, 15 April 1960 (Season 2, Episode 28.) Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Roger Smith, Marilyn Maxwell, William Schallert, Kurt Kreuger, Jacqueline Beer, Patricia Michon. Teleplay: Gloria Elmore. Director: Montgomery Pittman.

   While the series has not yet officially released on DVD — and why not, I don’t know — scattered episodes of 77 Sunset Strip are being shown on a cable channel called MeTV, which is how I managed to see this one, the first episode I’ve seen since it was first on the air. (Complete seasons are available on the collectors’ market, but in absymal picture quality, even as advertised.)

   Unfortunately, I had no choice as to which one came up first, and this one was it. It’s not representative, I don’t believe. Roger Smith, as Jeff Spencer, co-partner in the firm, shows up in the office only at the beginning and at the end. Kookie (Edd Byrnes) isn’t in this one at all. It’s up to Stu Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) to work this case completely on his own.

   He’s hired by a former famous French entertainer named Crystal Dart (a very buxom Marilyn Maxwell) to serve an eviction notice to her soon-to-be ex-husband in their isolated mountain lodge up in the mountains. Trapped in a snowstorm with them (as it turns out) are the ghostwriter for her memoirs, his wife, and the nurse/girl friend of Miss Dart’s wheelchair-bound husband.

   Sizzling resentments and vicious arguments quickly break out, some dealing with secrets from the past. Miss Dart has not a friend among them, or so it seems. Bailey is mostly content to sit back with his pipe and casual sweater wear, watching as he does in bemused fashion. It takes a while for a murder to occur, but surprisingly enough, it is not Miss Dart who is the victim.

   Some mild detective work takes place, that plus Stu Bailey’s obvious growing attraction to Miss Dart. In spite of the classic setting, that of an isolated snowbound haven from the elements, the slow pace manages to eliminate all but the smallest hint of suspense. Not the best example to begin with, I suspect.