Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday's Favorite OTR

Dragnet: “Big Winchester” 8/16/51

Jack Webb created Dragnet because he believed that the daily routine of real-life police investigation would make for engaging drama.

Ironically, prior to Dragnet, Webb had starred in several very good hard-boiled detective shows—the sort of shows that also made for good drama, but have nothing at all to do with real life. Webb was really good in that sort of role. He had a talent for voicing rapid fire dialogue peppered with clever one-liners.

As Sgt. Joe Friday, though, he didn’t get very many one-liners. I always kind of miss this whenever I listen to a Dragnet episode, but of course it would have been out of character for the straight-laced Friday.

This particular episode involves what at first is an apparent suicide, with a Winchester rifle hooked up with a string to pull the trigger. But details at the crime scene don’t match up with suicide (I like that it’s one of the patrol officers who first arrived at the scene who is the first to notice this) and Friday and his partner, Ben Romero, are soon investigating what is clearly a murder.

The victim turned out to be a member of a lonely hearts club, giving the cops a firm lead. From there, the story takes us step-by-step through the investigation as Friday logically follows one clue to another. As is typical of a Dragnet episode, the production values and sound effects are top-notch, helping to draw the listener into the narrative. “Big Winchester” is one of many fine Dragnet episodes that demonstrate Jack Webb was right—you can turn a realistic portrayal of a police investigation into engaging drama.

Click HERE to listen or download

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...