Saturday, January 19, 2013

"The Big Explosion" or "The Neo-Nazi Story"

This is the city.

The LAPD was once based in that pointy building just left of center.

That's enough of that.

...Shot of the freeway...

"Old Timer" on a bench. (Soundstaged with MacArthur park behind him.)
It's kind of absurd! I like it.

This episode is about church...

Not church. Nazis. 


What's up, Parker Center?

Going for a drive with Joe and Bill.

Oh, right, because a stupid neo-nazi stole a bunch of explosives from the largest construction company in the west:

That's fancy driving.

OK let's talk to some people in the construction office.

I LOVE THIS GUY! He gets recycled again and again!

This episode has the "Old Timer" trope twice!

Hey Olan Soule! Whatcha got in the box? A present for me?!

No? Just something explosives-related? Dammit! You never know what to get me.

Oh well, back to the car to drive to a rich neighborhood.

OK, get ready for some seriously weird set design:

I'm a lady with a lot of money and I like to sculpt with clay in my living room. Also, my house is being invaded by a tree, somehow?

My husband traded that station wagon in, you guys. But I'll be nice about it.

Freeway to the back lot for some further investigation!


Who's there?

The stars of Dragnet, of course!

I wear shades all of the time and I work at the Jade Pagoda.

Hey Hey! It's the back lot that sort of looks like a downtown!
They did a pretty good job of making it look arguably sketchy, but minimal still in Dragnet style.

Really groovy joint - 

Lots of nice touches in the Jade Pagoda set.

It can't be too much of a dive, you can see the creases in the tablecloth:

Heya, let's interview that guy. He looks helpful.

That ash tray is pretty far out and groovy.

Check out this entry on the archetypal Chinese restaurant location in New York to see what was being visually emulated.

Pretty screen and backlighting.

Hitting the real (non-backlot) streets of Los Angeles again.


Watch out for that tree!

Red sweater vest = owns car lot

Neat apron, lady! How long have you lived on the back lot here at Universal?

Why is there tape over C-O-M-E-T? It's a Ford.

Or is the tape hiding D-O-D-G-E? The guy on the phone said it as a 1961 Comet that the guys were after.

Dragnet had a big sponsorship in Ford Motors.


A little bird told me that the US military didn't use pineapple grenades.

What's that? If you are hateful and try to blow up a freshly integrated school, you get sent to prison?

There is just something about crouching in a closet loaded with high explosives to really get the good feelings flowing.

Hi Kent McCord. Welcome to the show.

Don Dubbins does a good job of getting on everyone's nerves with white supremacy crap.
They also moved all of the rifles to the foreground for some reason.


What's up, Olan?

You're going to die on February 1, 1994. Sigh.

(I have an ash tray like that, but mine is amber instead of green.)


Donald Lewis Chapman
Now serving his sentence in the state penitentiary, San Quentin, California, as prescribed by law.

He even had a confederate!

This guy:

Harry Albert Jones

Now serving a minimum term of five years for armed robbery in the Nevada State Prison, Carson City, Nevada.


Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday
Harry Morgan as Officer Bill Gannon
Don Dubbins as Donald L. Chapman
Olan Soule as Ray Murray
Bobby Troup as Al Amory
Harlan Warde as Captain Henry Mack
Ralph Manza as Gene Ellis
Val Avery as Phil Masturian
Kent McWhirter (McCord) as Officer
Ralph Moody as Matt Kemper
John Nolan as Nelson Grove
Bert Holland as Car Salesman

Art Direction - Russell Kimball
Set Decor - John McCarthy & Ralph Sylos
Writer - Robert C. Dennis

Aired 19 January 1967


  1. The shades-wearing night worker lives in Gannon's house, right next door to the Cleaver's.

    1. Yeah, that's right! It is Gannon's house, shot from the side instead of the front.
      Good eye!

      Suzy Dragnet

  2. I was wrong though, it isn't right next door to the Cleaver's... it's across the street and down a little bit (directly across from the Munster's). I just caught a little bit of Hazel on MeTV and apparently they lived in the neighborhood too. It looks like a nice area, but the crime rate must be outrageous. Dragnet and Adam-12 are there in nearly every episode!

  3. How on earth did you get by NOT identifying Bobby Troupe in the photos? He and Jack Webb were once married to the same woman!

    1. OMG hilarious. Season one I was just sort-of winging it. Especially in the early episodes.
      Not to worry.


    2. Teleprompter DevoteeSeptember 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      Ralph Moody! He appears in a lot of episodes in the black and white version of the series, but soon the eccentric old guy roles would be taken over by Burt Mustin and others.

  4. Have to crack-up at Donald L. Chapman (aka Siggy), as he sits there with Bill & Joe, calmly eating a Ham & Cheese sandwich, reading propaganda aloud, like he hasn't a care in the world;... "Ho-hum, just another day in the life of a Terrorist who is waiting for the integrated school to be blown up."

    Also, on the side of the Dynamite cases in Chapmans' closet, you can see the logo for the VULCAN DYNAMITE COMPANY, which is a legitimate and very old Explosives Manufacturer out of Bethlehem, PA - Nice touch by the Prop Master!

  5. Just saw the end of this episode and tried to search to see what became of the nazi, only to find the IMDB page for the episode, and this. I was just wondering if he became a more notorious criminal (if he got out), if he had a big turnaround for the better, or whatever. It was funny to see the cop from "Emergency" on there.

  6. Suzy: I have decided to start watching the whole series again for the winter. Just watched episodes 1 and 2. Never get tired of it. Are you planning on picking it up again with your fantastic treatments of each episode? I hope you are well and ready to rejoin the Dragnet community. Kenny P. (remember me?)

    1. Thank you Kenny :) Happy New Year !! I am planning to come back to the blog and finish season four.

      Be well & see you soon,
      Suzy Dragnet