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In television's first prime time series starring a female private eye, Honey West would take on any tough case. She could handle herself mingling with millionaires just as well as scaling a thirty foot wall. Along with colleague Sam Bolt, Honey West was sure to solve the case. Written by
Wayne Coleman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
First prime time TV series starring a female private eye. See more »
The style of the detective agency's name changes from episode to episode. Sometimes it is "H. West & Company, Private Investigators" and other times it is "Honey West & Co., Private Investigators." In the novels on which the series is based, it was sometimes "H. West, Private Investigators" and other times "H. West, Private Investigations." The reason it was "H. West" in the novels and not "Honey West" was twofold: Honey did not want potential clients to know she was a woman before they met her, and the business, which she had inherited from her father, Hank West, had always been called "H. West." See more »
People see something of The Avengers in this series and the connection is stronger than some may realize. As I've read it, Aaron Spelling had been to England and saw The Avengers with Patrick MacNee and Honor Blackman. I even think I know the episode he saw: Both the 1962 Avengers episode `Death of a Great Dane' and the 1964 Burke's Law episode `Who Killed the Richest Man in the World?' are about a reclusive billionaire who is actually dead but his staff is pretending he's alive to split up the profits from his empire. He was so impressed with Blackman that he offered her a job as the star of a private eye series he would create called `Honey West'. But she opted to do `Goldfinger' instead. Spelling wasn't willing to give up on the idea and searched for the actress who most reminded him of Blackman and decided it was Anne Francis. Honey West was then introduced on the Burke's Law episode `Who Killed the Jackpot?' in 1965. The series began the following fall but lasted only one year as it was on opposite the huge hit Gomer Pyle.
I don't think I ever watched a single episode of Gomer Pyle. I fell hard for Anne Francis, who I think was much better than the rather dower Blackman in The Avengers, (which I didn't see until A & E showed the earlier version of the series in 1990). If you rate Francis with the `Avenger Girls', the only one who really ranks with her is Diana Rigg, although I liked Linda Thorson as well. I think Francis and Rigg were easily the best actresses in those parts and brought both a dramatic weight and light comic touch to the characters and the show.
Looking at Honey West now, it doesn't seem like much of a show other than what Francis brings to it. John Ericson is a `he-man' who's only job is to argue with Honey whenever she tries to do anything dangerous. Quite a difference from Steed's genuine respect for the capabilities of Cathy Gale and Emma Peel. Irene Hervey as `Aunt Meg' adds nothing whatsoever to the show. The pet ocelot was more interesting. The fact that the show was only a half hour show also hurt: it came off as a cartoon rather than a dramatic adventure.
But a half hour with Anne Francis makes it worth it.
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