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SurfSide 6

SurfSide 6


SurfSide 6 is the location of a Miami Beach houseboat used as the office for a private investigator firm. The firm is frequently referred to as "Thorne and Madison", but is also called by the name "SurfSide 6". Their phone exchange is also SurfSide 6 (phone number SurfSide 6-2345). At times the agency is presented as having two detectives - attorneys Dave Thorne and Ken Madison - and at other times Sandy Winfield is considered a partner. Dave and Ken live on the houseboat that serves as their office, while Sandy lives at a nearby Racquet Club. When it comes to romance or their job, the SurfSide detectives are always hard at work.


Sanford Winfield II is a Wall Street attorney who left New York against his father's wishes to work in Miami. In the show's opening episode, he receives a call from his father, Jonathan Winfield I, who wants Sandy to return to New York. Sandy's response to his father's phone call is that he's going to "quit answering the phone" and stay in Miami. Initially he is presented as not one of the detectives (since the detective agency is originally called "Thorne and Madison") but a friend who lives at the Racquet Club (courtesy of his father who is providing room and board) and helps out on occasion. Sandy is a playboy who has no trouble getting a girl on his arm, which occasionally comes in handy when he needs to get information for a case.

Kenneth Madison is the only non-New Yorker among the detectives. Before moving to Miami Ken worked as a detective in New Orleans (his adventures chronicled in the TV series Bourbon Street Beat). His southern roots and accent are quite evident on occasion. He was a college wrestler before going to law school. Like Sandy, Ken's good looks (6' tall, 185 pounds according to his private investigator's license) give him an advantage any time he needs a female for information -- or romance.

David M. Thorne, a "doctor of law" according to his business card, worked as an attorney with the New York district attorney before moving to Miami. He went to college at Jersey State. He is also an Air Force veteran of the Korean War. Because of his experience and background, he is apparently the oldest member of the group.

Daphne Dutton, nicknamed "Daffy", is a young socialite. Her father is the wealthy Reginald Dutton. She has her own yacht, the "Daffy II", moored in the harbor next to the SurfSide houseboat. She is friends with the detectives, though not romantically involved with them. Occasionally she helps them on cases or works in the office as their secretary.

Cha-Cha O'Brien is a Spanish singer who headlines in the Boom Boom Room at the Fontainebleau Hotel across the street from the houseboat. Like Daphne, she maintains a platonic relationship with the three detectives, although she obviously cares for them greatly. She also lends a helping hand to the SurfSiders by providing information on suspicious activities in the club or the hotel.


Troy Donahue had scored a success in the motion picture A Summer Place in 1959. He was cast to replace Edd Byrnes in 77 Sunset Strip when Brynes held out for more money after his "Kookie" character became a major fad. After SurfSide 6 Donahue appeared in the final season of Hawaiian Eye, appeared in the soap opera The Secret Storm, and continued to act in other movies (including a small role in Godfather II, where he played a character named Merle Johnson -- Troy's real name). He died September 2, 2001 of a heart attack.

Van Williams had spent the year before SurfSide 6 began playing Ken Madison -- on another program (Bourbon Street Beat). After the show ended he continued acting for several years before retiring from show business to handle his communication company and serve as a part-time sheriff's deputy. Before he left acting he spent a year in the role that has become his best-known part: The Green Hornet.

Lee Patterson spent many post-SurfSide years in daytime soap operas, including One Life to Live where he played the beloved character Joe Riley, and as guest star on numerous shows (including ABC's underrated 1970 series The Immortal). He also had a small part in the spoof Airplane II!. He retired from acting in the late 1990s and died at the age of 77 on February 14, 2007.

Diane McBain began acting at an early age, and was just 19 when SurfSide 6 began. She reunited with Van Williams in 1967, playing Pinky Pinkston in the episode of Batman ("A Piece of the Action"/"Batman's Satisfaction") that featured the Green Hornet as "visiting hero". She also appeared in Spinout with Elvis Presley. She most recently appeared on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Margarita Sierra provided her own voice for the singing scenes in the Boom Boom Room. A native of Madrid, she had already had a long career as a singer when she took the role of Cha Cha O'Brien at age 23. Warner Brothers released the song "The Cha Cha Twist" (which was featured in the episode "Who is Sylvia?") as a single. Sadly, she never had the opportunity to capitalize on her SurfSide 6 success, as she died from complications of heart surgery on September 6, 1963 at the young age of 26.


SurfSide 6 aired on ABC on Monday nights. A total of 74 episodes were produced. In addition, a two-part "crossover" episode of 77 Sunset Strip ("The Hot Tamale Caper") featured the SurfSide detectives. SurfSide 6 was considered by critics to be a "formula show" modeled after the highly-successful 77 Sunset Strip. Both shows, as well as other so-called "knockoffs", had William Orr as executive producer.


SurfSide 6 featured good writing combining comedic overtones and suspense with numerous twists, where the "obvious choice" for villain didn't always turn out to be the bad guy. The show continues in reruns on the AmericanLife TV Network, with opening commentary by Nick Clooney.


The theme song, "SurfSide 6", written by Mack David and Jerry Livingston, can be found on the Television's Greatest Hits CD. Or click here.

Episode Info

Final: 2x40 -- Midnight for Prince Charming (Jun/25/1962)

A man seeks to hire Ken to investigate whether his wife is cheating with another man. Ken is unaware of the fact that the couple is attempting to establish a scam with the man named as the third member of a "love triangle" as the victim; however, since that man is a friend of Ken he will not take the case. The scam becomes apparent -- only after an acquaintance of the scheming couple is found murdered.
Troy DonahueTroy Donahue
As Sandy Winfield II
Van WilliamsVan Williams
As Ken Madison
Lee PattersonLee Patterson
As Dave Thorne
Diane McBainDiane McBain
As Daphne DeWitt Dutton
Margarita SierraMargarita Sierra
As Cha Cha O'Brien

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1x3: The Clown recap: Cha Cha is giving dancing lessons to an elderly gentleman in the Boom Boom Room. A young man watches her with interest, and after she finishes follows her to her dressing room to ask for lessons. "Carlos may teach you a thing," he boasts. When she refuses and orders him to leave, he begins to dance with her. Dave Thorne happens by Cha Cha's dressing room and stops the man. Carlos starts to leave, then turns and lunges at Dave with a knife. Dave successfully defends himself against the attacker. He discovers that the man works for a man named Correro. "He's a bad man!" Cha Cha says... read more.

1x2: High Tide recap: A woman walks into the SurfSide 6 office. She and Sandy strike up a brief conversation. A knock at the door interrupts them. A man at the door wants to know where "the girl" is. After Sandy walks out, the man and two friends begin to beat Sandy up. Ken, who had been asleep on the upper deck of the houseboat, jumps down and engages in the fight as well. Dave returns to the office and sees the fight, but remains an amused bystander... read more.

1x1: Country Gentleman recap: While Daphne reads the morning paper in the SurfSide 6 office, she reads aloud that someone named Hartman purchased yacht club commodore Arthur Gladstone's mansion. Dave recognizes the name: Marty Hartman, a criminal from New York whom Dave prosecuted while an assistant district attorney... read more.
Recurring Guests

Benny Baker as Waiter (5 eps)
Richard Benedict as Harry Noonan (4 eps)
Adam Williams as Henry Gifford (3 eps)
Sam Gilman as Will Whitman (3 eps)
Howard McLeod as Miller (3 eps)
Mike Road as Kip Daly (3 eps)
Shirley Knight as Miriam (3 eps)
Vito Scotti as Pepe Alvarez (3 eps)
Grace Lee Whitney as Wendy Peters (3 eps)
Chad Everett as Don Whitman (3 eps)

View All Recurring Guests
Classification: Scripted
Genre: Action | Adventure | Drama
Status: Canceled/Ended
Network: ABC ( USA)
Airs: Mondays at 08:30 pm
Runtime: 60 Minutes
Premiere: October 03, 1960
Ended: June 25, 1962
• Rompeolas (Spanish title), (Used In Spain)
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