Sometimes, TV eyes, just like their literary counterparts, seem to have trouble knowing their place (see “Great Cameos“), and wander onto other television shows, in what sometimes seems like an endless number of “very special” episodes.
- Stuart Bailey from 77 Sunset Strip appeared in the first episode of Hawaiian Eye, “Malihini Holiday” (October 7, 1959), to help introduce the latest out of the Warner Bros’ P.I. factory.
- Bailey brought along his P.I. pal, Jeff Spencer, when he returned for a second visit in the Hawaiian Eye episode “I Wed Three Wives” (September 14, 1960.
- Tom Lopaka of Hawaiian Eye showed up on the 77 Sunset Strip episodes “Only Zeroes Count” (October 2, 1959) and “Who Killed Cock Robin?” (February 5, 1960).
- Rex Randolph from Bourbon Street Beat (and later, 77 Sunset Strip) showed up in the Hawaiian Eye episode “Swan Song for a Hero” (December 7, 1960).
Surfside Six/77 Sunset Strip
- Sandy Winfield I and Ken Madison from Surfside Six journeyed to LA in the 77 Sunset Strip episode “The Hot Tamale Caper” (May 26, 1961).
- Kookie Kookson and Jeff Spencer from 77 Sunset Strip reciprocated, showing up in Miami in the Surfside Six episode “Love Song for a Deadly Redhead” (April 30, 1962).
- Barnaby Jones was introduced in “Requiem For A Son,” the November 28, 1973 episode of Cannon, as an elderly private detective who came out of retirement to investigate his son’s murder. The conclusion of the two-part story served as the premiere episode of Barnaby Jones, which went on to become quite a success on its own.
- Barnaby Jones returned to Cannon for the September 17, 1975 episode “The Deadly Conspiracy,” teaming up with Cannon to investigate a large corporation’s shenigans. The conclusion of the two-part story aired as a Barnaby Jones episode.
Barnaby Jones/The Beverly Hillbillies
- This isn’t a true TV crossover, but Buddy Ebsen, as Barnaby Jones, did make a cameo in the 1993 Beverly Hillbillies, a movie based on THAT TV series. At one point in the film, Granny turns up missing and Miss Jane hires Barnaby, amazingly still private eying at eighty-five, to look for her. A class act, having the original Jed pop up, if you ask me.
- The detective wore tennis shoes. Richie Brockleman showed up on a couple of episodes, teaming up with Jimbo, on The Rockford Files: “The House on Willis Avenue” (February 24, 1978) and “Never Send a Boy King To Do a Man’s Job” (March 3, 1979).
Simon and Simon/Whiz Kids
- Rick and A.J. Simon from Simon and Simon showed up on the short-lived Whiz Kids, a show about teenage prodigy Richie (played by Matthew Laborteaux) who uses his homemade computer to solve crimes. Turns out both the brothers and the kid are working on connected cases, and they team up, although AJ seems more interested on hitting on the Richie’s single mom. Later in the season, Richie makes an appearance on Simon and Simon, and AJ gets to flirt with mom again.
- Rick and A.J. Simon from Simon and Simon showed up on Magnum, P.I. in the “Ki’i’s Don’t Lie” episode which aired October 5, 1982. Magnum returned the favor when this crossover story was concluded on the Simon and Simon episode “Emeralds Are Not A Girl’s Best Friend.”
Magnum, P.I./Murder, She Wrote
- Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote dropped by on Magnum, P.I. in the November 19, 1986 episode “Novel Connection.” The story was concluded in the Murder She Wrote episode “Magnum On Ice”.
The Law and Harry McGraw/Murder, She Wrote
- Before (and after) he was spun off into his own, short-lived show, The Law and Harry McGraw (1987-88, CBS), private eye Harry McGraw (playerd by Jerry Orbach) showed up on Murder, She Wrote several times. His character was actually introduced in the episode “Tough Guys Don’t Die” (February 24, 1985; first season) and returned in “One Good Bid Deserves a Murder” (February 23, 1986), “Death Takes a Dive” (February 22, 1987), “Double Exposure” (April 30, 1989), “From the Horse’s Mouth” (February 24, 1991) and “The Skinny According to Nick Cullhane” (May 12, 1991)
Moonlighting/Hart to Hart
- In a “very special” Christmas episode of Moonlighting, Maddie Hayes dreams that The Blue Moon Detective Agency is owned by The Hart Detective Agency, which of course is owned by Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, the crime-solving millionaires of ABC’s then-recent hit romance/detective series Hart To Hart. In Maddie’s fantasy, the Hart’s long-suffering manservant Max was on hand to oversee things and run the agency for the Harts.
- Charlie’s Angels are on assignment in Sin City and end up hooking up with Dan Tanna, the man from Vega$, in one cheesy crossover. But if that’s not enough cheese for ya, the gals also apparently appeared on a Love Boat episode. I’d talk more about it, but my doctor tells me to watch myu cholesterol.
- Fast-talking scam artist E.L. “Tenspeed” Turner, of Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, showed up on another Stephen J. Cannell show, J.J. Starbuck, seven years after his own show was canned.
- Joe Mannix appeared on a surprisingly memorable Diagnosis: Murder episode, believe it or not. Scenes from a 1973 Mannix episode, “Little Girl Lost” are cleverly used in flashback sequences, with Pernell Roberts and Beverly Garland reprising their guest-starring roles from the original episode while Mannix, to honour a promise to a little girl (now a grown journalist), attempts to track down her father’s killer. When he arrives at Community General Hospital with a bullet wound (Oh, Joe!), he runs into Dr. Mark and together they work the case. Meanwhile, the good doctor uncovers a more serious health risk while treating Mannix for his bullet wound and strongly advises him to take immediate action–a warning Mannix, naturally, promptly chooses to ignore. Seems you can’t keep a good dick down…
- But the weirdest P.I. crossover of all, hands-down, has to be two-fisted Joe Mannix appearing on Here’s Lucy with Lucille Ball. I’m not kidding! In “Lucy and Mannix Are Held Hostage,” Lucy accidentally witnesses robbers counting their loot. Worried this might place Lucy’s life in danger, her brother-in-law Harry (Gale Gordon) hires Mannix to protect her. Of course Lucy hasn’t a clue who Mannix is when he shows up and ends up knocking the unsuspecting shamus out, which of course allows the bad guys to take both Lucy and Joe hostage. And the hilarity ensues…
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