EDD BYRNES

Born Edward Byrne Breitenberger, 30 July 1933, New York City, New York

Edd Byrnes was the jive-talking parking lot attendant Kookie (Gerald Lloyd Kookson III) of the weekly TV show "77 Sunset Strip". The show never made it to the Netherlands, so I've never seen a single episode, but apparently Kookie had a thing for his hair, hence the single "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb", which peaked at # 4 in May 1959. Released on the Warner Bros label and backed by "The Big Sound of Don Ralke", it featured a duet with Connie Stevens. The latter was born Concetta Ingolia on August 8, 1938, in Brooklyn, and will not get her own BTBWY entry next month, in spite of her good looks and her big hit "Sixteen Reasons" (# 3, 1960). Sorry, Connie. Only four 45s, an EP, and one album were ever recorded by Byrnes. Aside from "Kookie, Kookie", only the immediate follow-up, "Like I Love You", managed to chart nationally (# 42). It was billed as by Edd Byrnes and Friend (actually Joannie Sommers, another one-hit wonder, who scored a # 7 hit in 1962 with "Johnny Get Angry"). Edd had five good years with "77 Sunset Strip" (1958-63), but found it hard to shake his hip "Kookie" image once the series had been mothballed. He played some secondary roles in B-grade flicks, moved to Europe where he acted in spaghetti westerns, and appeared in "Back To The Beach" (1988), with Frankie Avalon, Annette and Connie Stevens.

(With thanks to Wayne Jancik.)

Autobiography: Edd Byrnes, Kookie No More. Edited by Marshall Terrill. Fort Lee, NJ : Barricade Books, 1996. CD: Kookie (Collector's Choice, 2001). A very short CD, with twelve tracks from the fifties, some of which feature a nice rock 'n' roll backing.

 
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