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Girl on the Run

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Director  Richard L. Bare
8.2/10 IMDb

Initial release  1958
Genre  Drama
Girl on the Run movie poster
Cast  Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Stuart Bailey), Erin O'Brien (Kathy Allen / Karen Shay), Shepperd Strudwick (James McCullough / Ralph Graham), Edward Byrnes (Kenneth Smiley), Barton MacLane (Francis J. Brannigan), Vince Barnett (Janitor)
Writer  Marion Hargrove, Roy Huggins (story)
Similar movies  A Walk Among the Tombstones, Inherent Vice, The Lincoln Lawyer, 8MM, The Maltese Falcon, The Big Bang
Tagline  If he doesn't catch her... a bullet will!

Honey bane girl on the run single 1979

Girl on the Run is a 1958 private detective film starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Erin O'Brien, and Edd Byrnes. The film is, in truth, although not legal fact, based on characters and situations created by writer Roy Huggins in a series of 1940s novels and novellas. The picture was directed by Richard L. Bare and aired on ABC as the pilot for 77 Sunset Strip after an initial, brief theatrical release in the Caribbean.


I am a girl on the run

Legal controversy

This trip to the Caribbean was legally significant. Huggins' claim to the characters and situations of 77 Sunset Strip was strong, since he had created them in a series of 1940s novels and novellas, but his relationship to this, the first episode of the upcoming series, was comparatively weaker. Marion Hargrove, and not Huggins, had written the script and called it Girl on the Run. Since he had been writing under an episodic television contract, Hargrove had no rights to the series whatsoever. By releasing the project theatrically under the episode title, Warner Bros. emphasized Hargrove's contribution at Huggins' expense. When it was thereafter aired on television, it was not legally the debut of a new series, but the television premiere of a theatrical film. This made it possible for Warner to argue that the resulting television series was based on the film, which it wholly owned, rather than Huggins' literary work.

From psycho to sidekick

Beyond the creator rights struggle, the film is also important for allowing one of its guest-stars to graduate to the regular cast. In Girl on the Run, Edd Byrnes played a vicious killer, Kevin Smiley, who compulsively combed his hair. When the youth audience reacted favorably to his performance, he was given a new, recurring character to play in the series proper. In 77 Sunset Strip, Byrnes became "Kookie", a comically hep carhop—who also compulsively combed his hair. Because of the narrative improbability of a killer becoming a trusted ally of Stu Bailey, Byrne's appearance in Girl on the Run was addressed directly in the series. At the beginning of the episode which followed Girl on the Run, Zimbalist broke the fourth wall with the announcement:

We previewed this show, and because Edd Byrnes was such a hit, we decided that Kookie and his comb had to be in our series. So this week, we'll just forget that in the pilot he went off to prison to be executed.

Supporting players

The film also featured the talents of singer/actress Erin O'Brien, whose performance as a singer required no dubbing; she appeared as a featured solo singer on six episodes of The Steve Allen Show during this same period. Veteran character actors Barton MacLane and Ray Teal rounded out the supporting cast.


Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Stuart Bailey
Erin O'Brien as Kathy Allen/Karen Shay
Edd Byrnes as Kevin Smiley
Barton MacLane as Francis J. Brannigan
Ray Teal as Harper


Girl on the Run Wikipedia
Girl on the Run IMDb Girl on the Run