The Old Time Dragnet Show

A blog for the Old Time Dragnet Podcast celebrating the best Old Time Radio Show, Dragnet starring Jack Webb.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Big Dance

Joe Friday and Ben Romero hunt for 2 young hold up men.

Original Air Date: January 18, 1951

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At August 17, 2008 at 2:37 PM , Blogger headintheclouds said...


Thanks for putting out this podcast. I've been an OTR fan for quite a few years (Jack Benny being my favorite) and I've always had a soft spot for Jack Webb. My first memories of him were as a kid in the sixties. To my immigrant parents, as Joe Friday he was the fixed and immovable pillar of all that was upright, decent, and good that they could cling to as they were buffeted by the storm of drugs, hair, and moral relativism that was the sixties.

By the late seventies and early eighties, my college friends and I would watch Dragnet on cable, make fascist jokes, and howl at lines delivered with Friday's wooden, yet somehow heartfelt and resolute dead pan: "I've seen kids pull their own eyes out on a bad acid trip!" (I remember this line as fact, although I've never heard it since).

Now, in my late forties, and after working twenty years in the film industry, I've come to appreciate Webb not only as a pop culture icon, but as a very talented actor and producer. The range he displays, from the happy-go-lucky Arnie in Sunset Blvd., to the insanely hard-boiled Pat Novak, to the solemn immortal Egyptian in the Escape episode "The Ring of Thoth," has given me a great deal more appreciation for the nuance and subtlety of the flat affect and deadpan delivery he gives the unflappable Joe Friday. That deadpan is so believable, that until you see Arnie or hear Jeff Regan, you'd think Jack Webb *was* Joe Friday.

Finally, I enjoy listening to these shows not just for the good writing and fine acting, but because it provides a foundation for the thousands of cultural references that anyone who grew up in the fifties, sixties or seventies felt as part of the warp and weft of the culture at large. I remember Dragnet references or parodies in everything from The Three Stooges to Rocky and Bullwinkle, Stan Freberg, the Dean Martin Show etc. etc. etc. During any sitcom from the sixties to the eighties, if two plain clothes detectives showed up at the door, there was a better than even chance a Joe Friday reference would arrive with them.

Thanks for putting in the hours and providing context for the shows. I'm happy you do them live, and don't let anyone tell you you need to work from a script -- anyone can work from a script. But not just anyone can work on the fly and bring passion for the material and a bit of folksy charm with them. This, you do.

Good Luck,

Michael Jonascu


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