77 Sunset Strip (1958–1964)
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The Rice Estate 

Eunice Rice is in dire financial straits, a recent widow of an unhappy marriage, who is being blackmailed by an unknown stranger.


Robert Douglas


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Episode complete credited cast:
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. ... Stuart Bailey
Roger Smith ... Jeff Spencer
Edd Byrnes ... Kookie (as Edward Byrnes)
Louis Quinn ... Pete Roscoe
Jacqueline Beer ... Suzanne Fabry
Gary Conway ... Colton Rice Jr.
Montgomery Pittman Montgomery Pittman ... Russian
Cecile Rogers Cecile Rogers ... Girl
Chuck Hicks ... Bobby (as Charles Hicks)
Jean Paul King Jean Paul King ... Will
Peggy McCay ... Eunice Rice


Stuart is hired by reclusive and mysterious twenty-eight year old Eunice Rice, who has just completed the one year mourning in almost total solitude of her much older husband, Colton Rice, the mourning despite his abusive nature, she believing it just the proper thing to do. Among the many unusual aspects is that she wants him to take the job on credit as she, penniless, will come into money once she sells what is the Rice Estate - a mansion and its vast property - which Colton brought into the marriage. The job is to find who and why someone is anonymously threatening her not to sell the property. Her brother-in-law, Carl Rice, has offered to buy it if only so that the Rice Estate will remain as such. While she and Carl do not get along, she does with Colton Rice Jr., Colton Sr.'s adult son from his first marriage. As Stuart spends much time with Eunice at Rice Estate in trying to acclimatize her back to socialization after her year of solitude in mourning on what is a dark and ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Crime | Drama







Release Date:

30 December 1960 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Eunice says that her brother-in-law's name is Carl Rice, Stuart who asks Jeff to do some research on him. When Jeff calls back later, he refers to the brother-in-law as Avery Rice. See more »


Eunice Rice: Mr. Bailey, you delight me!
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References Bronco (1958) See more »


Just One of Those Things
Written by Cole Porter
Performed by Roger Smith
[Jeff sings the song at the masquerade party]
See more »

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User Reviews

A must-see episode for devoted fans of the "Strip"!
9 February 2018 | by sdiner82See all my reviews

"The Rice Estate" is a deceptively bland title for this terrific, innovative episode of my favorite private-detective series, as much fun today as it was 58 years ago. It begins promisingly enough, with Efrem Zimbalist summoned on a dark and stormy night to an isolated mansion whose sole inhabitant, the delicious Peggy McKay, has been scared out of her wits by a series of letters and phone calls threatening her with death if she dares to sell the palatial estate she has just inherited from its eccentric, recently-departed owner. But what follows, instead of the expected whodunit, is a series of events that include every single element that have made this TV show so memorably unique: For starters, it's not solely Zimbalist's case; when he and McKay quickly find themselves falling in love, they throw an impromptu midnight masquerade champagne cocktail party that very same night. Among the guests are every single member of the "77" team, including Roger Smith (who shows off his impressive singing talents by accompanying himself on his guitar and delivering a fine version of the standard "Just One of Those Things"; Edd Byrnes (who saves Efrem's life by instigating a fist fight that finally reveals the identity of the villain); Louis Quinn (a riot, as always); and the delectable Jacqueline Beer (the French actress who portrays the boys' good-natured secretary/receptionist Suzanne, and gets to say the show's priceless final lines, an hilarious plug for one of Warner Bros.' popular-at-the-time TV Westerns).

I must add my belated thanks to Montgomery Pittman, a gifted writer/director responsible for several of the show's finest episodes (who died tragically at the young age of 45). Also, this episode is refreshingly free of murders, and the mayhem is kept to a humorous minimum, albeit there is no shortage of suspense. It is also, I believe, the first (and possibly last) chapter in the series where Zimbalist actually falls in love with one of his clients (in another outstanding, similarly touching episode, Roger Smith & Ms. Beer realize they are deeply in love and Smith asks her to marry him). The exterior and interiors of the palatial mansion are a set-designer's eye-filling dream.

Best of all, "The Rice Estate" captures the obvious warmth and comradery the entire cast of "77 Sunset Strip" had for each other. Whether intentional or not, the fact that this episode was originally telecast only one day before New Year;s Eve of 1960 seems highly appropriate. When "The Rice Estate" was filmed, "77 Sunset Strip" was at the peak of its popularity, but its abundance of high spirits and sheer all-out fun are usually only found in a hit show or movie's celebrated (but never filmed) 'Wrap Party'!

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