Mike and Bob Brannagan (The Brothers Brannagan)

Created by Wilbur Stark and Jerry Layton

The Brothers Branagan was an early sixties TV show relating the cases of MIKE and BOB BRANNAGAN, two “hip” brothers working as private eyes out of the lobby of the swanky Mountain Shadows Resort near Phoenix, Arizona, nestled between Camelback and Mummy Mountains. Their cases usually involved insurance fraud, theft, divorce or murder. Of course both, being young, eligible bachelor dudes, tended to hang out at pools and bars, flirting with the “chicks” when they weren’t working, and the show had a decidedly lighthearted tone.

It was, in fact, very much in the mold of the Warner Bros. production juggernaut which had already squirted out several of its own clones of its smash 77 Sunset Strip, including Hawaiian Eye, Bourbon Street Beat, and Surfside Six.

Although The Brothers Brannagan wasn’t part of the WB stable, it might as well have been. I mean, two handsome, high-living eligible hunky leads in nice suits, working as swinging private eyes, cracking wise and working cases amidst a colourful and “sophisticated” setting–with a snappy show opening and plenty of babes around? Who were they tryin’ to kid? Roy Huggins shoulda got a cut!

Bob was the more “serious” one; while kid brother Mike was the poetry-quoting “romantic” one, constantly in love (and trouble) with various women. And of course there was always that hilarious sibling rivalry to contend with. They lived together in a large luxury apartment, complete with a maid and a doorman.

The snappy opening, the semi-amusing rivalry between the brothers and (for the time) unusual setting weren’t enough, however, to compensate for so-so scripts and a relatively low budget, and the show only lasted one season, although Signet did squeeze out one tie-in novel in 1961, despite the show’s cancellation. The book was notable for its painted cover, which offered a far starker and more dramatic vibe than the show itself offered.

But the idea of two mismatched brothers working as private eyes seems to have had legs… twenty years later it was dusted off, and Simon and Simon became a huge hit.

TRIVIA

  • By 2014, they were in the process of razing Mountain Shadows where the exteriors for the show were shot. According to Dewey Webb, a Phoenix writer, the resort “Used to be THE place for high end wedding, proms, etc. The Monkees stayed there in 1967 for the documentary finale of their first season…. You can YouTube it. Rooms look pretty much like standard Motel 6 but lush landscaping and a prime locale on the Phoenix/Scottsdale border made it the place to be back in Sixties.”

TELEVISION

  • THE BROTHERS BRANNAGAN
    (1960-61, Syndicated)
    Black and White
    39 30-minute episodes
    Produced by Wilbur Stark and Jerry Layton
    A Brad-Jacey Production
    Writers: Harold Jack Bloom, John Dana, Sam Ross, William Link and Richard Levinson, Al C. Ward
    Directors: Eddie Davis, Paul Landres, Anton Leader
    Starring Steve Dunne as MIKE BRANNAGAN
    and Mark Roberts as BOB BRANNAGAN
    Guest stars: Barney Phillips, Vic Morrow, Marion Ross, Burt Reynolds, Don Haggerty, James Coburn, Kent Taylor

    • “Tune in for Murder” (September 24, 1960)
    • “An Hour to Kill” (October 1, 1960)
    • “Three” (October 8, 1960)
    • “Delayed Payment” (October 15, 1960)
    • “Duet” (October 22, 1960)
    • “The Model Murder” (October 29, 1960)
    • “The Twisted Root” (November 5, 1960)
    • “Love Me, Love My Dog” (November 12, 1960)
    • “Her Brother’s Keeper” (November 19, 1960)
    • “The Baby Sitters” (November 26, 1960)
    • “The Key of Jade” (December 3, 1960)
    • “Damaged Dolls” (December 31, 1960)
    • “Tough Guy” (January 7, 1961)
    • “Mantrap” (January 14, 1961)
    • “A Friend to Man” (January 21, 1961)
    • “The Grapefruit King” (January 28, 1961)
    • “Overexposed” (February 4, 1961)
    • “Shot in the Dark” (February 11, 1961)
    • “A Very Special Woman” (February 18, 1961)
    • “A Frame for Mike” (February 25, 1961)
    • “The Deadly Love” (March 4, 1961)
    • “Heart of Steel” (March 11, 1961)
    • “Thunderbird” (March 18, 1961)
    • “Wheel of Fortune” (March 25, 1961)
    • “Advantage: Death” (April 1, 1961)
    • “The Green Gamblers” (April 8, 1961)
    • “Sunday Jewels” (April 15, 1961)
    • “Mistaken Identity” (April 22, 1961)
    • “Death Insurance” (April 29, 1961)
    • “Terror in the Afternoon” (May 6 1961)
    • “Equinox” (May 13, 1961)
    • “Death is Not Deductible” (May 20, 1961)
    • “Treasure Hunt” (May 27, 1961)
    • “Murder Fits the Frame” (June 3, 1961)
    • “A View of Murder” (June 10, 1961)
    • “The Annabelle Case” (June 17, 1961)
    • “Bordertown” (June 24, 1961)
    • “A Matter of a MIllion” (July 1, 1961)
    • “The Hunter and the Hunted” (July 15, 1961)

NOVELIZATION

  • The Brothers Brannagan (1961; by Henry Edward Helseth)Buy this book

THE DICK OF THE DAY

FURTHER INVESTIGATION

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Rachel Crane and Paul Guyot for the latest.

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