Thursday, January 20, 2011

One of the best: Dragnet

There may not be an old-time radio fan anywhere who doesn't listen to Dragnet. It's one of the all-time greats, thanks to Jack Webb's terrific imagination in coming up with the show.

For those who don't know, the radio show is almost a carbon copy of the television show, if you've seen that. Detective Joe Friday is a stern, fast-talking, no-nonsense gumshoe who is (somehow and without explanation) in a different department of the police in every show on radio (and televsion to boot.) He may be in Bunco one show but rest-assured, he'll be Homicide or Forgery or Juvenile the next. It's like a roulette wheel. 

It's not just Friday who acts "robotic" as almost everyone on the show, including the victims, act this way. There are no long pauses and few words are used as possible. While this may seem to make the show cold and uncaring, it's just a directoral approach that now we can look back on and associate with Dragnet. It became it's own genre.

However, whoever was Friday's partner was a bit more slower-talking than Joe but generally this is will be the only "slow talker" in the entire episode. It makes for a nice play off Friday.

Friday was prone to going off on some incredible verbal rant against a criminal to make them feel like a heel. He was pretty vicious when you come down to it - yet the 30-something year-old Friday lived with his mother. Go figure.

This is one of the all-time greats and there are about 300 episodes floating around, most with great sound quality - so if you haven't already, you should go download the entire lot of them and enjoy them.

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