Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb): “Flinch, and you’ll be chasing your head down Fifth Street!”
From the Dragnet 1967 episode “The Shooting.” My God, I love Jack Webb!
And if anybody cares, that’s an Ithaca 37 Deer Slayer Police Special shotgun.
Filed under 1967, Dialogue Of The Day, Jack Webb, Television
Toby, one of my favorite TV shows of all time. We could quote Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday all day. I don’t know if you have seen this from THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON, which first aired on February 19, 1968. It is a gem.
That thing’s a riot. It never gets old. Thanks for sending it!
I sure wish we could see the 1950s tv run, all nice and remastered. In some ways, it’s probably the most high-profile ‘filmed’ 1950s series to have never been restored and revived. I do worry whether the reason for this involves the quality of the elements in the Universal vaults. There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt about how Webb’s earlier library wasn’t kept up well, with his “Noah’s Ark” series (with Paul Burke) being potentially lost, and maybe the same for his short-lived “Pete Kelly’s Blues” tv-version, although I do know at least one episode of the latter has circulated around in the bootleg arena for decades.
Have a few Radio Spirits collections of the “Dragnet” radio series, and they are admittedly quite impressive and entertaining, maybe even more than the tv-version. At least we’ll be getting the 1954 feature-film on blu from Kino, and I’m certainly looking forward to that.
The Dragnet franchise was sold to MCA around the time the movie was made. It’s surprising that it didn’t end up coming from Universal International. Warners wanted Webb to shoot it in CinemaScope, but he turned em down. It was one of the first pictures shot to be cropped for widescreen, 1.75 at the time, I believe.
They used teleprompter like the series did, and since many of the actors came from radio, they were used to reading and acting at the same time.
Bert, that is a crying shame, because like I LOVE LUCY(1951-57) the original DRAGNET(1951-59) was shot on 35mm film. If the 276 episodes are in the Universal storage vaults, then you would think that UniversalNBC could take the masters to strike new prints and syndicate them to Me-TV, Get-TV, and other channels while creating season sets on DVD to sell at Wal-Mart.
Bert, am I right, that there are about 52 episodes, more or less, already out there on DVD of the original series, which are public domain? I would hope that UniversalNBC would at least license the remaining episodes to Shout Factory to get them out there. Unless, the powers that be, had no usable modern masters made, since Universal Television withdrew the original black and white series from syndication around the time the color series started in January, 1967 and they never bothered with transferring the original 35mm elements to videotape in the 1980’s. Now, if the elements are lost or so damaged they can’t be used, what a crying shame.
I thought there were only about 30 episodes of the b&w series circulating about, but it wouldn’t surprise me if more haven’t popped up in recent times. Of course, these would be PD episodes we’re talking about. Half of the 1950s run in reputedly PD, while the other half is still copyrighted and unavailable for PD vendors. Since the show was widely syndicated before the 1960s version bigfooted it off the airwaves, I’d certainly suspect a number of the non-PD ones are also out there in collectors’ hands.
I don’t have any good knowledge on why Universal has kept the older run under lock-and-key. Despite its age, I think “Dragnet” still carries a strong cultural cache, and retains some syndication value, and would be worth it for Universal to remaster… if those 35mm masters are still extant. But that grim stuff we hear concerning Webb’s concurrent 1950s properties of “Noah’s Ark” and “Pete Kelly’s Blues” tv-series sure makes me ill-at-ease regarding the situation with the b&w “Dragnets.”
Hope you’re doing well, Walter! Always good seeing your posts!
Bert, I always like reading your comments. We are living in frustrating times, in more ways than one. My wife is in remission from her B-Cell PLL Leukemia, but we know she isn’t out of the woods yet. So, we live one day at a time. She has to go back to St. Louis for more tests this week, so we’ll be there a couple of days, then back home.
I don’t like what has probably happened to DRAGNET. Also, Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation claims that “half of all American films made before 1950 and over 90% of films made before 1929 are lost forever.” That is a lot of lost film.
Universal teased us with a B&W episode as an extra on the DVDs of Dragnet 1967. So they have at least one!
Researching the 1954 movie for the DVD commentary has been terrific. It’s easy to forget how popular and influential that show was.
Toby, have you ever read Michael J. Hayde’s MY NAME IS FRIDAY: THE UNAUTHORIZED BUT TRUE STORY OF DRAGNET AND THE FILMS OF JACK WEBB(2001)? I haven’t read it, but I would like to in the future.
Bert, there is an 8 disc set of 64 episodes of the original DRAGNET TV series for sale on Ebay. The seller lists all 64 titles and all are public domain, so the quality is probably poor.
Hayde’s book is pretty good. The best thing I’ve come across. Been using it as I put together my commentary notes for the movie.
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