Category Archives: Janet Leigh

Blu-ray News #45: The Vikings (1957).

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Directed by Richard Fleischer
Starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine, Janet Leigh, James Donald

Richard Fleischer’s The Vikings (1957) will land on Blu-ray in March of 2016. It’s probably not much for history, but for late-50s epic cool, this is about as good as it gets. Originally released in Technirama and Technicolor, I can’t wait to see what this’ll look like in hi-def.

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Filed under 1957, DVD/Blu-ray News, Ernest Borgnine, Janet Leigh, Kino Lorber, Kirk Douglas, Richard Fleischer, Tony Curtis

The Jack Webb Blogathon: Bloggers’ Choice Award.

Jack Webb Blogathon HOR

Kinda hate to see this Jack Webb thing come to an end. I’ve really enjoyed it. The posts were great, the bloggers were so nice, my wife and daughter got to participate, and I simply can’t get enough of Jack Webb.

The way the Bloggers’ Choice thing worked, everyone who posted sent in their favorite of all the posts that appeared over the weekend. The one with the most votes won. It’s that simple.

And the winner was Caftan Woman and her piece on Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955). She got me even more stoked for the upcoming Blu-ray from Warner Archive. The post on the Pete Kelly’s Blues radio show, over at Once Upon A Screen, was also a favorite.

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I’ve got a few ideas for other blogathons, and will get around to those before too long. I’ve learned a few things on this one which should make it go a bit smoother.

To everyone who wrote something or read something, a great big thanks.

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Filed under 1955, Blogathon, DVD/Blu-ray News, Jack Webb, Janet Leigh, Warner Archive

The Jack Webb Blogathon: Behind The Badge.

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This post is part of The Jack Webb Blogathon, a celebration of his huge, and hugely influential, body of work. For more Webb on the web, appearing October 17-19, visit Dispatch (or click on the banner below).

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As The Jack Webb Blogathon comes to a close, here’s some interesting trivia about Jack Webb and his work.

In lieu of compensation for assistance and information, what did Jack Webb’s Mark VII Production Company do for the Los Angeles Police Department?
The Company made generous contributions to the Los Angeles Police Orphans and Widows Fund.

How did Dragnet get the stories as basis for their episodes?
Through an arrangement with the Los Angeles Police Department, an officer wrote up a three-page report void of names and intimate details. Dragnet writers filled in the blanks and wrote a story around it. They were not given access to actual police files.

Where did the number 714 come from on the famous badge?
Jack Webb thought 7 was a lucky number. The television series began in 1949 and Webb thought badges issued in the 700s was way in the future for police. So, he choose 7 as the first number and just doubled it for the last numbers – 14.

Mark VII Productions, Inc. was Jack Webb’s production company. What is the meaning behind the logo that can be seen at the end of Dragnet episodes (iron door with a hand pounding the Roman numerals with a hammer)?
Jack Webb “stole” the idea from Arm & Hammer baking soda. He said he liked the look of it as a kid. The door to him also meant strength. The VII for 7 was probably, again, use of his lucky number.

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Jack Webb used a real badge and revolver during the first run of Dragnet. What happened to those items after the show ended and what did he use for a badge and revolver in the new Dragnet show?
When the show ended in 1958, he returned the official, registered items to the LA Police Department, which had issued them to Webb for the show. He got them back from the Police Department for the new Dragnet show.

What Emergency! regular doubled for Jack Webb’s Joe Friday character in long shots on the original Dragnet?
Marco Lopez. He also had small parts on Dragnet, as well. He admitted that he liked to cook while on that show and the cast and crew got to partake in his hobby to their delight. This led to the fully-equipped kitchen at the firehouse on Emergency! — he could not only be a regular on the show, but keep on cookin’.

Which actor did Jack Webb want as Sgt. Joe Friday in the original series, but reluctantly took the role himself, when it didn’t pan out?
Lloyd Nolan, best known for his acting roles portraying private detectives Michael Shayne and Martin Kane.

In 1953, a famous movie producer friend and his wife sold their house to Jack Webb, so they could be closer to a park for their son. Who was this producer and what special thing did they do to the house to sell it to him?
Stanley Kramer. He and his wife replaced the doorbell with one that played “dum-da-dum-dum.”

What was the “Jack Webb Special?”
A deluxe, chartered airplane provided by Warner Brothers for Webb’s cross-country tour promoting Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955). It had an eight-person crew, dining room, bedroom and even a conference room.

Speaking of Pete Kelly’s Blues, Herm Saunders played the pianist. What was his relationship to Jack Webb in real life?
At the time, he was Webb’s press agent.

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Jack Webb directing Martin Milner and Kent McCord in the Adam-12 pilot.

How did Ozzie Nelson (of Ozzie And Harriet fame) come to direct a segment in an episode of Adam-12?
Nelson phoned Webb and requested the assignment. He said he wanted to work with his old family friend Kent McCord again. (As you may remember, McCord was a regular on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.) Nelson did such an impressive job, he was asked to direct the episode called “The D.A.”

Jack Webb turned down the chance to make a movie, which lead to great animosity between the guy who wrote the story for the movie and Kent McCord. Who was the author, what was the movie and why all the hostility?
Joseph Wambaugh wrote The New Centurions, among other books about police like The Onion Field and The Blue Knight. He also created and advised on the television show Police Story. After Webb declined to do The New Centurions, according to McCord, Wambaugh set out to tarnish the badges of Jack Webb and his Adam-12. In interviews, Wambaugh would misquote McCord, trash the show’s acting and call into question the realism of the characters they portray. McCord was hot under the collar about Wambaugh’s mouthing off and was quoted as saying: “He spends his days sitting on his rear and reading burglary reports. I think he‘s out of touch with the guys who patrol the streets,” and “He shouldn’t be telling me how to act. I don’t give him advice on how to read burglary reports.” He also didn‘t like how Wambaugh‘s police characters were “jerks“ or “petty criminals,” which of course was an insult itself to Jack Webb’s style. McCord went on to say about Wambaugh, “If he had anything to say he could tell it to my face or I’d punch him in the face,” and “I’m tired of picking up newspapers and magazines and seeing Wambaugh rap me. If he keeps it up I’m going to rap him.”

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Hopefully, this blogathon has you wanting to see more Jack Webb, or better yet, own it. (I can’t wait to revisit The D.I.) Here’s where you can get the stuff written about over the weekend. Physical evidence, I guess you could say.

Dragnet (TV, 1951-59)
Public domain episodes are available from various companies. Quality varies from pretty darn good to absolutely wretched. You can also find some on YouTube and Roku.

Dragnet (Feature, 1954)
Available from Universal’s Vault program. If I didn’t consider this movie absolutely essential to life as a human, I’d tell you to wait till it was redone, preferably for Blu-ray.

Dragnet (TV, 1967-70)
You’ll find Dragnet on MeTV and Hulu Plus, along with Adam-12 and Emergency! They’re also on DVD from Shout Factory, complete with some really terrific extras, including the 1966 TV movie.

He Walked By Night (1948)
Several DVD sources for this one. Stay away from Alpha, and you’ll be OK.

Dark City (1950)
This is available on DVD from Olive Films—and in the same Blu-ray noir set as Appointment With Danger.

Appointment With Danger (1951)
Olive Films has brought this to DVD as a stand-alone disc and on Blu-ray as part of a film noir set.

Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955)
Warner Brothers brought this out on DVD, and Warner Archive recently announced a Blu-ray. Can’t wait.

The D.I. (1957)
You can get this one on DVD from Warner Archive (and you should).

-30- (1959)
Again, our friends at Warner Archive can set you up with this one on DVD.

SOURCES: Various newspapers, 1954-1976
Thanks to my wife Jennifer for researching and writing the trivia stuff.

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Filed under 1951, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, DVD/Blu-ray News, Harry Morgan, Jack Webb, Janet Leigh, Kent McCord, Martin Milner, MeTV, Olive Films, Shout/Scream Factory, Television, Warner Archive

The Jack Webb Blogathon: Dispatch.

Jack Webb Blogathon VERT

Welcome to Dispatch for The Jack Webb Blogathon. Here, you’ll find links to all the posts going up over the weekend in celebration of Jack Webb’s huge, and hugely influential, body of work.

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Day Three. October 19.
It was warm in Los Angeles.

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Behind The Badge

The Hannibal 8

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The D.I.
(1957)

Rupert Pupkin Speaks

Halls OM LC JW
Halls Of Montezuma
(1950)

The Pacific Edible Seaweed Co.

 

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Appointment With Danger
(1951)

Speakeasy

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Day Two. October 18.
It was cloudy in Los Angeles.

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Dragnet (1954, feature)

The Hannibal 8

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– 30 –
(1959)

Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot

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Dragnet
(1954, feature)

Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings

Wes Fix
Dragnet: “Frauds DR-36”
Everybody Nods: The Dragnet Style Files

 

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He Walked By Night (1949)
Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear

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Day One. October 17.
It was sunny in Los Angeles.

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Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955, feature)
Caftan Woman

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Dragnet 1969
: “Narcotics DR-21”

The Hannibal 8 (Guest blogger: Presley Roan)

 

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Dragnet (1966 TV movie)

The Pacific Edible Seaweed Co.

 

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Pete Kelly’s Blues
(radio)

Once Upon A Screen

 

Dark City LC
Dark City
(1950)

Vienna’s Classic Hollywood

 

The DI HS
The D.I. (1957)
Crítica Retrô

 

Big Rod title from Hot Rod
Dragnet: “The Big Rod” (1954)
The Hannibal 8

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Filed under 1954, 1955, 1966, 1969, Blogathon, Charlton Heston, Harry Morgan, Jack Webb, Janet Leigh, Lee Marvin, MeTV, Shout/Scream Factory, Television

Blu-ray News #8: Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955).

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Directed by Jack Webb
Starring Jack Webb, Janet Leigh, Edmond O’Brien, Peggy Lee

Seems like Jack Webb’s everywhere these days, which is fine by me. TCM. MeTV. Shout Factory.

And now Warner Archive. They’ve just announced the upcoming Blu-ray of Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955).

The facts:
• Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
• Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround
• Subtitles: English SDH
• Discs: One 50GB Blu-ray Disc
• Run Time: 95 Minutes
• Color (1080p HD)
• SPECIAL FEATURES (all in 1080p HD): Original Theatrical Trailer (Color/CinemaScope)/ Alternate Theatrical Trailer/ (B&W/CinemaScope)/ Vintage 1955 Warner Bros. Short “Gadgets Galore”/ Vintage 1955 Warner Bros. Cartoon “The Hole Idea”

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Filed under 1955, DVD/Blu-ray News, Jack Webb, Janet Leigh, Lee Marvin, Warner Archive

Making Movies: Touch Of Evil (1958).

touch of evil orson

Orson Welles’ Touch Of Evil (1958) is unlike any film I’ve ever seen. It’s highbrow and lowbrow at the same time, as Welles put his masterful cinematic stamp on a most lurid story. To me, it’s a true masterpiece, an incredible stylistic exercise, while a friend called it the skankiest movie they’d ever seen. Maybe we’re both right.

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Here’s Welles with cinematographer Russell Metty and Charlton Heston.

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Valentin De Vargas (back to camera) with Welles on the set. Though most of credits are in TV, De Vargas worked for three of my favorite directors: Welles, Howard Hawks (Hatari!, 1962) and William Friedkin (To Live And Die In L.A., 1985).

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Here’s Welles with Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh. Note the sling: Leigh broke her arm a week before rehearsals. In the finished film, her arm is obscured by sweaters and other things quite a bit.

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This shows us of what Welles looked like during production. It’s easy to imagine him being as big and slovenly as Hank Quinlan. This was just 17 years after Welles the wunderkind made Citizen Kane (1941). Wish I could’ve found a shot of Dennis Weaver between takes.

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How cool is this? Color! Welles is directing the opening single-shot bomb-in-the-car sequence. That crane’s about to get a real workout.

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Filed under Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Making Movies, Orson Welles