Skip to comments.Joe Friday: Man Out of Time
Posted on 12/21/2012 7:03:09 AM PST by bestintxas
Dragnets Jack Webb died thirty years ago, and a lot of America has been dead ever since.
Jack Webb, who died thirty years ago this weekend, arrived at the right time. After the war, people were much more realistic, notes Peggy Webber, star of more than 100 Dragnet episodes. They wanted things to be as honest as possible. And he filled the bill.
Dragnet, as the just-the-facts catchphrase it inspired indicates, depicted police work without the frills. Whereas other detective stories attracted listeners through the promise of a weekly shootout, Dragnet snagged them by keeping the weapons holstered. The iconic music, gimmicky teasers promising to reveal case results, and insistence that the show dramatized real-life events joined with the deadpan deliveries to provide the program an audience and authenticity.
My favorite radio episode involved a disturbed old man who for thrills made emergency phone calls for fake car accidents and the like. Typical broadcasts included bunco swindles of Korean War widows, juvenile delinquent rumbles, and small-time robberies of mom-and-pop outlets. Occasionally, the radio run tackled heroin, pornography, and other (im?)mature themes. The hustlers argued their innocence. They never, unlike their counterparts in the 60s-era television version, argued the innocence of hustling. Crime hadnt changed. Criminals had.
This became startlingly evident on the January 12, 1967 premiere episode of Dragnet 1967, which depicts a blue-faced teenager tripping on acid. Blue Boy memorably makes numerous non sequitur observations: Brown, blue, yellow, green, green, orange, red. Red! Red! Red! I can hear them! I can hear them all! Fifties, meet the sixties.
We remember this post-Miranda incarnation of Dragnet, despite it
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...
And don’t forget his sidekick, Henry Morgan - he was great in MASH, too.
I second your suggestion. I have listened every single one of the radio shows and still go back and listen again. Great radio plays and in my opinion better than either TV version Especially the second.
Damn, but we sure need a Joe Friday today.
The 1950s tv version of “Dragnet” really needs to circulate and be seen again (it has a harder edge to it than the late-60s version). Two dozen or so episodes are easily available, due to their public-domain status, but the prints tend to be pretty ratty. The whole 1950s run should be re-mastered and syndicated. It’s an important piece of americana. Yet it sits in film vaults, the vast majority of the run remaining unseen for generations.
Always loved Dragnet, and the semi-spinoff Adam 12.
Webb was also great in a neat little movie called “The D.I.” This is one of my favorite clips from it:
Also a role in Sunset Boulevard.
“Just the facts ma’am” was first spoken in a Stan Freberg parody of “Dragnet”.
“During World War II, Webb enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces, but he “washed out” of flight training. After that happened, he applied for and received a hardship discharge, being the primary financial support for his mother and grandmother.” Some “Hero”. I believe the word is “Chickenhawk”. Like Gingrich, Cheney, Bushie(43) and the like.
You can still listen to ‘crime time’, on Live 365 dot com.
Jack Webb was a man out of time, yet today, more of us seem to claim that niche, and never expected to, in our lives.
Jack Webb wrote a book titled “The Badge”. I have a print copy of it. It is Jack Webb reading it to you in your ‘reader’s ears’.
He was Persona Americanus.
From the article, the response to Occupy wahatever:
Dont think you have a corner on all the virtue, vision in the country, or that everybody else is fat and selfish and youre the first generation to come along thats felt dissatisfied. They all have, you know, about different things. Most of them didnt have the same opportunity and freedoms that you do. Lets talk poverty. Most places in the world thats not a problem. Thats a way of life. And rights? Theyre liable to give you a blank stare because they may not know what youre talking about. The fact is more people are living better right here than anywhere else ever before in history. So dont expect us to roll over and play dead when you say youre dissatisfied.
To add, one of the things I find appealing about “Dragnet” as well as most other old shows is their matter-of-fact, unpretentious dialogue. Reminds me of my parents and grandparents generations, which was just always brimming with straight-arrow conversations and plaintive common sense. Unlike the culture nowadays, which every line and every visual exudes a sort of cynical, naval-gazing self-consciousness. Sarcastic sub-texts to everything said or done. It wears so thin, to put it mildly.
Dang, you're tough to please. Guy volunteers to get his tail shot off in a tin can in the sky, but it turns out he's not a good enough flyer. Are you saying he must have failed on purpose? Do we have some way of knowing? And do we know there was no pressing need for him to take care of his mother and grandmother?
Unconnected, but it seems odd that whatever source doesn't refer to the service as the Army Air Corps, which was the name on all my father's manuals and such.
One of the best TV bits ever. I still think they were both trying to break each other up.
Honey I’m so old I remember when Ben Alexander was his sidekick.....LOL
You ENLIST in MY Military and you DO your ENTIRE Obligation. I did(20 Years, 1 Month, 18 Days/US Navy), My Son did(4 Years/US Navy) My other Son did(4 years/United States Marines). So sorry, you sign up for MY MILITARY you either come back carrying you shield or ON IT!
Here is the 50s series in all its glory i have watched them all pretty good video quality.
Dragnet : The Big Oskar
The Big Oskar from the 1950’s series Dragnet
Keywords: Dragnet; Classic TV
Average rating: 5.0 stars (1 review)
Which also demonstrated his range as an actor.
Interestingly, Morgan was the bad guy in some of the radio episodes.