Saturday, April 20, 2013

"The Big Gun" or "The Ben Roy Yoder Mystery"

We've seen this push before; sometimes they'll pan from the same vantage point.

Gun experts, have at this:

It's the 'waving-hello-to-the-guy-at-the-PAB' sequence again:

It's a thoughtful shot, and with the high cost of film, at the time of production, they got a lot of mileage out of this sequence.

Rolling through the parking garage at Parker Center on the way out, but from a slightly different angle:

Panic on the backlot at the stand-in facade for Gannon's house as we saw last week briefly in our quest to pin down Glenn Procustan!

Okay, this is a very special episode of Dragnet, stylistically speaking.

The set is all Japanese-influenced modern. T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, hold on to your hat!

In a classy and/or low-budget move, just like in The Hammer, they avoid showing the victim's body:


Let's look beyond the body on the stretcher. Instead dig those lovely red and yellow chairs:

These lamps are going to be candidates for the most zany table lamps of season one in the upcoming Table Lamps of Season One Retro-Retrospective.

Kathleen Freeman, perched on a pretty green silk upholstered sofa:

(She uses a hearing aid like the one that the real estate lady's husband has at the end of Revolutionary Road.)

The swing crew went nuts getting everything with oriental flair that would translate to TV and putting it EVERYWHERE. A hand fan. A little bonsai tree. A tiny statue. A mysterious wooden box, contents unknown and unknowable. 

Dig that flush fireplace. I know it's a set, but so modern!

"Doesn't look too promising, Joe. The whole house is unusually clean. The woman must have dusted and waxed the place every fifteen minutes." 

The latent prints guy gets frustrated by house clean the house is.
(To be fair, with black lacquered furniture, one would have to constantly dust because it shows dust.)

So, our murder victim had OCD or are they saying that stereotypically, Japanese people are just very, very neat and organized? Both? Either? Neither?

Joe crawls around under the house to recover the slug.

Would you look at that! They even changed the front porch light to have a far east feel:

Full frontal table lamps, and you can see that the drapes (left) have some sort of Far East caricature character. I doubt they could have dressed the set without that shoji screen:

Ketchup chair.  Mustard chair. Click to enlarge fireplace.

Hi Leonard Stone. This muppet kinda looks like you.

Joe takes a stroll in the Hashimoto garden taking Bill's advice - "Smoke a cigarette and go home."

At last - S1e15's Smokin' Joe:

Heart - 320
R. Lung - 370
L. Lung - 340
Liver - 1780
Kidneys - 270
Brain - 1290
Spleen - 120

Hey! It's Olan!! Figuring out the caliber of the killer's gun. 
He's a very helpful scientist!

Okay, back to our house-to-house sweep looking for any thread of information relating to this woman's bizarre decorating sense, I mean murderer.

This lady's house looks like a disaster zone compared to the Hashimoto house. 

the 53rd extra:

The 54th snubs them, and then we get a long shot of Colonial Street:

Twelve days go by before this guy shows up:

Most stylish witness:

Ena Hartman.

Turns out the freaky Jesus lady was harboring this creeper! 

Chairs and table lamps. Table lamps and chairs. Chairs and chairs. Table lamps and table lamps.

Dragnet does the unthinkable; they show a bathroom!

One of my beloved night driving sequences:

Once again, a gift is offered and Friday has to explain that he can't accept it.

Ben Roy Yoder
Now awaiting execution in the state prison, San Quentin, California.

This episode is discinctive from an auditory perspective. The Dragnet themes and scoring differ from the typical episodes in a similar manner as The Interrogation. Where that episode was spare and brutal with percussion, this one is characterized by a far east influence. Stream the episodes somewhere!

Art Balinger as Captain Hugh Brown
Anne Loos as Mrs. Agatha Edney, a lady that loves Jesus, but also stands in the way of justice.
Kathleen Freeman as Mrs. Sunshine Pound, a nurse that can't hear very well
Leonard Stone as Detective Charlie Higbie, the guy that kinda looks like a muppet.
Olan Soule as Ray Murray
Herbert Anderson as Robert Blake
Lois Yoshiko Kiuchi as Mrs. Watanabe
Don Ross as Sergeant Dean Bergman
Sharann Hisamoto as Miko
Bill Baldwin as Coroner
Ena Hartman as Most Stylish Witness
_________ as Ben Roy Yoder  - Seriously, who played that guy?

Art Direction - Russell Kimball
Set Decor - John McCarthy & Ralph Sylos
Written by Henry Irving

Aired 27 April 1967

Same day:
Stylish Expo '67 opens in Montreal!
Investigate it, because it's pretty neat stuff.


  1. Suzy: Did you notice that everyone in this episode referred to the victim not as a person but as a thing: Poor thing, little thing, etc. about 8 times. I am assuming because she was Japanese, they still dehumanized her not in an evil way, but in an inanimate way. Sort of condescending.

    1. Yes, I did notice how they refer to the victim as an object or a plot element rather than a person.
      The swing gang did assemble a great set for the Hashimoto house, I think that by having so much of the episodes's action focused around her house shows her personality and her pride in her ancestry and things like that, even if it looks cliched to our eyes.

      Suzy Dragnet

    2. Yep. I think Jack Webb’s portrayal of multiculturalism was progressive for the time and super well-intentioned. But holy shit does this seem racist and objectifying now.

  2. "_________ as Ben Roy Yoder - Seriously, who played that guy?" My money's on Joe Montana.

    1. Raymond Mayo...he was on several episodes of Adam 12 in the 70's

  3. Was this animal executed?

    1. Dragnet seems to amalgamate the stories, so BRY could have been the sum of a couple of cases.
      They say "names are changed to protect the innocent," but I would guess that he was executed by the state, per the times (pre-1966).

  4. Hi Suzy!

    I just discovered your site a couple of weeks ago. Since I recently began watching the '60s series of Dragnet (starting with the World Premiere Dragnet, made-for-tv movie and now into Season One of Dragnet 1967), it has been fun following along with your blog.

    For instance, last night I watched The Gun episode and then came here today to scroll through the pictures. Great screen caps, by the way, very nice close-ups of the '60s architectural and decorating atmosphere. :) It's funny you should mention this:
    (She uses a hearing aid like the one that the real estate lady's husband has at the end of Revolutionary Road.)
    Saw this 2008 set-in-the-'50s movie, derived from Richard Yates' 1961 novel of the same name, not too long ago and thought the same thing when the hearin-aid scene came around. :)

    Once again, awesome blog, enjoying it very much! Off to watch, The Big Kids, and the follow along here.

    I realize this was posted about a year ago, but I'll catch up to the present day eventually. :)

  5. I tried commenting on here last night, but it didn't go through. So I'll try again. :) Just recently started watching the '60s Dragnet series again. I began with the World Premiere Dragnet made-for-TV movie from 1966.and am currently working my way through Season One. Just watched The Gun episode last night and have been following along with your blog as I view each episode.

    This a fun blog! You have great screen caps and close-ups of things most viewers would miss or just ignore. I enjoy seeing how places or sets were decorated then.

    I also thought of the 2008 movie, Revolutionary Road, with the hearing aid scene while watching the episode. :) Going to watch The Big Kids very soon. Enjoying your blog very much!


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  7. It's Larry Linville!

  8. About midway through this episode I wondered why it was so incredibly condescending towards Japanese people and culture - and I swear back in the 60's I recall hearing my mother always going on about how impossibly tidy and clean Japanese women kept their houses. I think it's a trope common to people who lived during World War II. I accepted this episode as being a (somewhat heavy-handed) nod to a former mortal enemy.

    Dig the guns loving displayed in the glass cases in Olan's lab - wow.

    And finally, THAT CHURCH LADY! Good grief! And here I thought Dragnet was a show for the right-wingers... about the very last place I expected to see Christianity slammed was Dragnet!

    1. It is and it isn’t though. The anti-drug and pro-cop message is of course conservative, but it was otherwise quite progressive for the time. Women were more than decoration, people of different races and cultures were portrayed positively. And the policing actually was depicted with a strong emphasis on treating the accused respectfully, following procedure, and allowing remorseful people who made mistakes to have a second chance.

      The episodes that focus specifically on race relations are actually shockingly forward thinking.

  9. The first muppet man (crime scene photographer?) played Dennis The Menace's father, yes?

  10. The hot black chick looking out the car window is Annazette Chase, not Ena Hartman

  11. I think Smokin' Joe picked up a case of yellow fever somewhere. Does anyone know if he served in the Pacific Theater or possibly Korea?