The title character, played by Craig Stevens, is a well-dressed private investigator whose hair is always in place and who loves cool jazz. Where other gumshoes might be coarse, Peter Gunn is a sophisticate with expensive tastes. He operates in a nameless waterfront city, a regular patron of Mother's (a smoky wharfside jazz club) that he uses as his "office", often meeting clients there. Pete's standard fee is $1,000. He has a reputation of being one of the best investigators and trustworthy. He sometimes works cases out of the state and on at least one occasion out of country with one case occurring in Mexico. Gunn drives a 1958 two-tone DeSoto two door hardtop in the first few episodes of the first season, then a 1959 Plymouth Fury convertible with a white top and a mobile phone.
Herschel Bernardi played Lieutenant Jacoby, a police detective and friend of Gunn; He sometimes refers people to Pete as clients. Bernardi received his only Emmy nomination for the role. Pete's girlfriend, Edie Hart (Lola Albright), was a sultry singer employed at Mother's; she later opens her own place. Pete's pet name for Edie is "Silly". Hope Emerson played "Mother", who had been a singer and piano player in speakeasies during Prohibition. She received an Emmy nomination for the role. For the second season, "Mother" was played by Minerva Urecal. Associate producer Byron Kane portrayed Barney, the bartender; Kane was never credited for playing this role. Bill Chadney played Emmett, the piano player at Mother's. (Chadney and Albright married in 1961.)
Both Billy Barty as pool hustler Babby and Herbert Ellis as Beat bistro owner, painter and sculptor Wilbur appeared in several episodes as occasional "information resources", as "Mother" also often is. Capri Candela played Wilbur's girlfriend Capri. Frequent director Robert Gist appeared as an actor in different roles in three episodes.
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Famous quotes containing the words gunn and/or peter:
“One joins the movement in a valueless world,
Choosing it, till both hurler and the hurled,
One moves as well, always toward, toward.”
—Thom Gunn (b. 1929)
“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
—George Bernard Shaw (18561950)