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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>
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 »
I mean that in a complimentary manner. Before there was Pamela, or Farrah, or Sigourney, there was...Anne Francis as Honey West. The producers of "Honey" knew exactly what their strong hand was in this series, and that is the sex appeal of Anne Francis as the smart, resourceful, but above all else, sexy Honey West. But, while she could play the soft and feminine sex object in one scene, in the next Honey could show she was no cupcake when it came to battling it out with the baddies on the street.
For those of us who remember the sexually liberated sixties, Honey West was the epitome of raw sexuality dressed up in evening clothes. Yet, at the same time, she had the same quality of femininity when wearing a skin tight jumpsuit ala Emma Peel of The Avengers. Anne Francis is one of those rare females who looks as if she could glide off the runway of a fashion show and slip into the working garb of a private investigator without a hair out of place or smudge of makeup.
The storylines of this series were by no means bad. They featured the usual blend of mystery and intrigue, spiced with some (for the time) techno-gadgetry (courtesy of Honey's partner, Sam, who spent many hours in his "Bolt's TV Repair" panel truck eavesdropping on the bad guys, and would pop out in the nick of time to assist or occasionally save Honey from peril), and a good amount of action. Honey could hold her own against the bad guys when it came to kickboxing or gun battles, and always did so with style and flair and her usual touch of femininity. But, make no mistake, the storylines are merely vehicles for the display, to the pleasure of male viewers, of the sex appeal of Miss Anne Francis.
While Miss Francis is the show's feature player, a nod goes to John Ericson as Honey's able assistant, Sam Bolt. Fans will recognize the ruggedly handsome character actor from his lead role in the 1960 movie Pretty Boy Floyd. Here, he goes over to the right side of the law, and provides the rough-edged male counterpart to Honey's cool and soft femininity. While there was sexual tension between Sam and Honey, I always thought that Sam also felt a protectiveness towards Honey since he was her father's partner in the business and retained that loyalty. Still, the episodes never showed Sam putting any serious (in today's context) moves on Honey, something that intrigued and puzzled by fevered adolescent brain to no end.
All in all, Honey West was a fun hour of escapism and distraction, and will be fondly remembered, thanks to the smoldering sexuality of Miss Francis, by legions of men like myself who came of age in the midst of the sexually liberated sixties.
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