Saturday, May 25, 2013

"The Badge Racket" or "Undercover Bill and the Hotel Elsinore"

There's a pretty hotel lobby and bar set in this episode.

"This is the city-- Los Angeles, California.

Whether or not you'd want to live here,

It's a nice place to visit-

and a few million people do it every year. They come for a lot of reasons.

Either way, they don't like to be swindled. When they are, that's when I go to work.
I carry a badge."


We are back, once again, in our favorite pea-green PAB soundstage. It's like a second home, really.

That cube is a sugar cube isn't LSD, and Bill doesn't really go on a trip. He just does, kind of.

What's up, Alfred Shelley?

Trans World Airlines, as seen on Dragnet.

From the TWA terminal, to the Hotel Elsinore.
Dig that red carpet.

There is the bar - a chandelier, box lights, all kinds of colors and textures. Jeepers!

Panning over past the bar to the check-in desk:

Two chandeliers.

It can't be a soundstage. It's too fussy!

Okay, this bar has a weird mod-Eastern sort of look with the pointed arches. Check out the texture (tiles? wallpaper?) at the right of the frame: groovy stuff!

Here is Bill, I mean, Mr. Fred W. Howie's hotel room - 100% soundstage!

The walls make no sense. Lots of awkward angles, and the whole thing is dreary and gray. The carpet is sort of a sixties non-color.


Some intel received:

Props to the prop department:

Metropolitan Dade County, Florida
Public Safety Department

Oct. 16, 1967

Chief of Police
Los Angeles Police Department
150 North Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, California

Switching back and forth from the PAB set to the Hotel Elisnore set.

That table lamp looks like the one from when they stuffed Peggy Webber into the trunk of a car:


Look over Gannon's shoulder at the background, there. Fake L.A.

Friday eavesdrops like he did when we busted the phony bank examiners.

See? It is the lamp from the bank.

Perhaps this sequence was shot fresh for season two:

Oh well, back to the Elsinore:

Getting a line on some "action" from another Dragnet Waiter In A Red Jacket:

And there are more to come - Here's the prop dept. coming up with a cocktail napkin from the Tivoli Bar:

Bank of phone booths just left of center; far left, more of that neat metallic wallpaper:

Night shot of the PAB sign, which we've seen before:

I love this shot - Joe is keeping a "loose tail" on Bill in the elevator:


Okay, here's the shakedown:

Edward Larkin
Walter Kinnett

Now serving their sentences in the state prison, San Quentin, California.

Patricia Lee Olney

Now serving her sentence at the California Institution for Women, Corona, California.

Donald Joseph Carlson

Now serving his sentence in the state prison, San Quentin, California.

Art Gilmore as Captain Lambert
Tol Avery as Willard Danhart
Harry Lauter as Edward Larkin
Stacy Harris as Walter Kinnett
Indus Arthur as Pat Olney
Alfred Shelly as Sgt. William D. Booth
Don Ross as Mr. Ainsworth
Bert Holland as Ralph

Art Direction - Russell Kimball
Set Decor - John McCarthy & John Sturtevant
Written by Robert C. Dennis

Aired 28 September 1967

Same day:

In a move that would baffle first graders for the weeks to come, Walter Washington was elected as the first mayor of Washington, D.C.

Moon Unit Zappa was born, her name being a sign of the general weirdness of the times with which Dragnet co-existed.

The Beatles did the final overdubs for "Flying," due to be released on Magical Mystery Tour, which would be released on December 8, 1967.

"The Letter" by The Box Tops was in its second of four weeks at the top of the Billboard chart.

Here is a list of the bestselling books of 1967:

*Elia Kazan's The Arrangement
*The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
*The Chosen by Chaim Potok
*Topaz by Leon Uris
*Christy by Catherine Marshall
*Thornton Wilder's The Eighth Day
*Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin (which Sally reads on Mad Men in Season 6 - the summer of 1968.)
*The Plot by Irving Wallace
*Mary Stewart's The Gabriel Hounds
*The Exhibitionist by Henry Sutton

See you next week for some clever thieves armed with ...a mauve pillowcase?

See it to believe it, next week on Suzy Dragnet's Ridiculous Dragnet Production Style Blog All About The Production & Style & Tropes & Things & Oh Yeah Joe Friday, Too, Production Style Blog !!!!!!!


  1. "Moon Unit Zappa was born, her name being a sign of the general weirdness of the times with which Dragnet co-existed."

    Staying in touch with the times, fourteen years later she would go on to satirize San Fernando Valley stereotypes in her hit song "Valley Girl."

  2. Valley Girl was almost as good as "Don't eat the yellow snow" from the "Apostrophe" album I believe.

  3. I'm gonna start playing a drinking game. Everytime someone asks a question and we hear, "what's that?" take a drink.