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Hawaiian Eye

Hawaiian Eye is an American television series that ran from October 1959 to September 1963 on the ABC television network


Private investigator Tracey Steele (Anthony Eisley) and his half-Hawaiian partner, Tom Lopaka (Robert Conrad), own Hawaiian Eye, a combination detective agency and private security firm, located in Honolulu, Hawaii. Their principal client is the Hawaiian Village Hotel, which in exchange for security services, provides the agency with a luxurious private compound on the hotel grounds. The partners investigate mysteries and protect clients with the sometime help of photographer Cricket Blake (Connie Stevens), who also sings at the hotel's Shell Bar, and a ukelele-playing cab driver Kim Quisado (Poncie Ponce), who has "relatives" throughout the islands. Engineer turned detective Greg McKenzie (Grant Williams), joins the agency later on as a full partner, while hotel social director Philip Barton (Troy Donahue) lends a hand after Tracey Steele departs.

Hawaiian Eye was one of several ABC/Warner Brothers Television detective series of the era situated in different exotic locales. Others included Hollywood-based 77 Sunset Strip, Bourbon Street Beat, set in New Orleans, and Miami's Surfside Six. In reality, all were shot on the Warner Brothers lot in Los Angeles, making it easy for characters—and sometimes whole scripts—to cross over. Although the shows aren't spin-offs in the traditional sense, Sunset was the first in this chain of "exotic location detective series". In this regard, Hawaiian Eye was the most viable of the Sunset look-alikes, lasting four seasons. The show's debut coincided with several real-world developments that helped contribute to its longevity. These were the granting of statehood to Hawaii, the advent of mass tourism to the new state brought about by the introduction of jetliners for commercial passenger flights, and the promotional efforts of Henry J. Kaiser, whose real estate projects in Honolulu included building the hotel complex originally known as Kaiser's Hawaiian Village and later the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.

The program did well in the ratings on Wednesday evenings. In its last season, it was placed on the Tuesday schedule opposite CBS's The Red Skelton Show and a new NBC Western drama Empire set on a modern New Mexico ranch. Skelton survived the competition, and Empire was cut to a half-hour program called Redigo the following season and was soon cancelled.

 

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