Surfside 6 is an ABC television series which aired from 1960 to 1962. The show centered on a Miami Beach detective agency set on a houseboat and featured Troy Donahue as Sandy Winfield II; Van Williams as Kenny Madison (a character recycled from Bourbon Street Beat); and Lee Patterson as Dave Thorne. Diane McBain co-starred as socialite Daphne Dutton, whose yacht was berthed next to their houseboat. Margarita Sierra also had a supporting role as Cha Cha O'Brien, an entertainer who worked at The Boom Boom Room, a popular Miami Beach hangout at the Fontainebleau Hotel, directly across the street from Surfside 6. Surfside 6 was in fact a real address in Miami Beach, where an unrelated houseboat was moored at the time; it can also be seen in the sweeping aerial establishing shot of the Fontainebleu in 1964's Goldfinger.
Surfside 6 was one of four detective TV series produced by Warner Brothers around that time, the others being 77 Sunset Strip (set in L.A.), Hawaiian Eye (set in Hawaii), and the aforementioned Bourbon Street Beat (set in New Orleans). Plots, scripts (changing the names and locales), characters, and almost everything else crossed over from one series to another, not a difficult feat since they were all actually shot on the studio's backlots in Los Angeles.
Surfside 6 had a memorable theme song, written by Jerry Livingston and Mack David. The theme has often been parodied in popular culture. The lyrics varied from week to week, but "Surfside 6" and "In Miami Beach!" stayed intact. When the women would be introduced, the melody picked up with back-up singers singing "Cha Cha Cha" when the announcer introduced Margarita Sierra, who vamped exaggeratedly and winked at the camera during this brief weekly sequence.
In its first season, Surfside 6 was paired opposite the CBS sitcoms Bringing Up Buddy and The Danny Thomas Show and NBC's Western Tales of Wells Fargo starring Dale Robertson. In the second year, Surfside 6 competed against Danny Thomas and The Andy Griffith Show on CBS and NBC's short-lived but highly acclaimed 87th Precinct starring Robert Lansing, a series about a fictitious New York City police precinct.
Sandor Winfield II moved to Miami to get away from the job his father, Jonathan Winfield I, had picked out for him: Wall Street attorney. His father was not too angry, however, as he pays for Sandy's room and board at the Racquet Club in Miami Beach. Initially just a friend of the SurfSide detectives, Sandy eventually becomes part of the firm. He is a playboy who has no objection to mixing pleasure with business.
Kenneth Madison came to Miami after graduating from law school and working as a private investigator in New Orleans (his adventures shown in the series Bourbon Street Beat). His good looks (his private investigator's license lists him at 6' tall and 185 pounds) give him an advantage whenever he needs a female for companionship or information.
David M. Thorne has a long, distinguished background. Before moving to Miami, he served in the Air Force in the Korean War and worked in the New York District Attorney's office. His alma mater is Jersey State.
Daphne DeWitt Dutton is the young socialite who has the berth next to the SurfSide houseboat for her yacht, the Daffy II. She is not romantically involved with any of the detectives, but she is friends with them all. She occasionally helps out with chores in the office or assists on a case.
Cha Cha O'Brien is the featured performer at the Boom Boom Room. As with Daphne, Cha Cha has a platonic friendship with the detectives. She's more than happy to help them out when she sees something amiss in the hotel that might be tied to a case, although she occasionally finds herself in dangerous situations as a result.
THE HISTORY: SurfSide 6 was one of a number of detective series created by William T. Orr and produced by Warner Brothers. The most successful of these was 77 Sunset Strip. In fact, on three occasions -- a two-part 77 Sunset Strip episode ("The Hot Tamale Caper") and an episode of SurfSide 6 ("Love Song for a Deadly Redhead") -- the casts of 77 and SurfSide got together for "cross-over" episodes.