Saturday, October 12, 2013

"The Little Victim" or "Three's a crowd, unfortunately"

All right, you guys. This is the city.


"This is the city-- Los Angeles, California.
A great many city dwellers use a leg of the freeway system at least twice a day. Some say it's nerve-racking. Others navigate them with ease. The living can be good in a modern apartment complex or in your own home. But there are those, no matter where they live, that never quite become adjusted to living a normal, useful life. Some people start out with good intentions.
And they bring new people into the world. And sometimes, these are the ones that need help. When they do, I go to work. I carry a badge."


From freeways to babies? That's an odd dot to connect.


It's the apartment house where Bully Boy lived - so modern:


This one? Eh, who knows. Bel Air?


This shot was reused from a season one drive through the backlot at Universal:


Dragnet Babies will make your dreams come true:



I guess babies are sort of cute. I'm not drawn to motherhood, so there's that.


Bill and Joe prove to be "all-purpose" cops throughout the series and go all out in their role generating awareness and prevention of child abuse.


Part of their job is to give a talk at a luncheon for "society ladies" of the Pacific Women's Club with hilarious and wonderful hats.

I chose the best snaps that I could to illustrate their darling, if befuddling, headwear selections.


Contrast this "high-rent" (what we call today 'upscale') locale with the "low-rent" location earlier this season featuring Dragnet regular Virginia Gregg:



CLICK TO ENLARGE HATS


Thanks for the reminder, Joe.


Louise Lorimer:



This episode resonated with me when I saw it in the 1990's, and it resonates with me today for different reasons.

I used to feel that it vindicated the way my parents treated me. I suffered no contusions, broken bones, subdural hematomas, or anything like that. 

Nowadays, I feel like emotional or mental mistreatment of children should also be part of the child abuse milieu.


My mother was the most beautiful, elegant woman in the world; my father was my hero, strong and brave. If they're so great, why would they break up? 

They divorced, of course, of course, and I was saddled with re-runs of Mister Ed (and no idea that the show wasn't currently in production, by the way).


Wilbur was an architect, though, that was cool.

He also represented one half of a marriage that was childfree, what an excellent choice.

Elizabeth Rogers:


Why would I have to spend over a decade riding shotgun on the freeway for six hours every other weekend until everyone sort of sighed and threw in the towel after my childhood was deemed over?

Why would I think that was normal? Because it was, for me.



I was sensitive, but rootless. I was not liked by the other kids in one home, and practically a stranger at the other. By age ten, I wondered, 'Is this as good as it gets?'


I convinced myself that everything was fine. I wasn't "really" abused.
Anyway, I had plenty to eat, plenty to wear, and my own bed in both houses.
Kids that were beaten, yelled at, thrown through walls - they had problems.


Me? I got my share of cookies with creme filling and no bedtime all summer.


Now that I am older, I sense that the other adults probably thought that something was wrong with me, mother, or whatever, but nobody did anything about it. What could they do? Assume the fat twelve year old is just fine. "She's just shy."

My emotions/feelings were locked up pretty tightly. I was absolutely made to behave and I can't forget how many times mother pinched my thigh so I would be quiet with her achingly beautiful long, long fingernails.

I felt so guilty for ruining her life and her fun relationship with Dad. I wanted to die.
She would say, "you're the best thing that ever happened to me," but it never felt right, rang true.


In the 80's and 90's, child abuse awareness was mostly focused on beatings and weird, unjust punishments (like that guy that made his son drink gallon upon gallon of water). Mental abuse? Hurting someone's feelings repeatedly? That's pretty low on the cruelty totem pole.

(Is it? No. Hurt is hurt.)


I suppose it's a bit like Stockholm syndrome; I just wanted them to love me, really love *me*. 
I thought that other parents had some degree of rapport, understanding, or give and take with their offspring. These days, when someone tells me how much they adore their child, whether that kid is four or forty, it almost makes me cry. I'm so filled with joy that the parent loves and respects their child, even when they disagree.


I wanted desperately for mine to care about me and not just my good grades in that pathetic public school district.

Anything that was not a grade A might as well have been an F to them. It stung. 


My favorite part of K-6 was the architecture of the building. Reading the masonry, the dark, shiny floors with decades of waxes and polishes, the smell of the library.


The K-6 was cutting edge around 1900, I appreciated that. I like places with history, hierarchy, some degree of dynamism. And if it stands up over time structurally - all the better.

Samba's Restaurant - cool sign! Anybody know about this place?


I was like a pet or a prop for my parents, you see, I had a little something in common with Andrew Marshall. They tried to want me, but they just didn't. I feel like a fool for taking thirty years to figure that out.


I desperately wanted some counseling or psychological help. Anything. I was isolated, cut off, in many ways, even before I was a teenager.


But I was forced to accept things the way they were.

Our superficial disagreements represented something new, now. I could be surly and wish I were dead and it wouldn't look like mother's fault. (yay?)


Dad was a dreamer, but a genius. That was the line I was fed.

Mom was glamorous, but remarried into a bizarre patriarchal mystery that involved a lot of Baptist church

I have no idea what the draw was. No kids there were my pals, either, so that wasn't even a refuge.
I can't remember a poignancy from a single sermon.

I can't remember a single sermon, actually.

This sequence is recycled from that time Little Sister served big drinks:


Don't give up on me; I'm not bitter. I'm just parsing. Making sense of the past. As people do.


I suppose it's a bit of a Dragnet memoir, this episode.


Don't you love an American neighborhood with trees? A tree canopy really defines outdoor space.

Leaves get everywhere, but it's the price we pay. The give and take.


Brooke Bundy's Louise Marhall is pitch-perfect. We all know she's fibbing, but she's meta-acting.
She's an actress acting that she's lying but not lying. Her wardrobe is pretty snappy, too.


Joe and Bill are sharing the screen with an interesting art piece - ooh, and a coin-op telephone:


Well, we're just one wacky lamp with a drum shade away from some nice vintage Los Angeles:


Some random rock near a fountain - once again, any ideas?


What could that be?


It's in both of these blurry-passing-car snaps.


For this establishing shot, (what is this, the fifth time we've seen it?), I married the pan together.
Recognize those squares on the far right? We've seen that one before!


BLAM - we're just right exactly back at the soundstage where Kipp Hamilton lived, Glen Procustan was investigated, Emile Hartman's furs were negotiated, among others.

Jean Howell:


Ooh! Another reflected Joe:


The swing gang put a lot of love into these sets. Look at our seasonal trope - gold, blue, even some of those inescapable lattice screen room dividers. What a pain they are to dust! I'm fairly certain that's what nudged them out of fashion. ;)


Yes, the same pool guy is standing in the same place, fishing out the same blue nothing.
I'm really beginning to think that this building is backlot, I just don't know where it was.


Trick or treat:


I like Brooke's outfit. Lots of plaid, but nicely cut.



Quick! There's a little bar back there, with some art verging on pop art.
The blue velvet sofa is simply to die for!


WHOA. Not only is it a drum lampshade, but the bastard thing is solid gold. 
New standard of bizarro for Dragnet table lamps? I'll take it!


Check it out! She's got an art wall sort of like that proto-yuppie pothead couple in Sherman Oaks that also wound up with a deceased child. She's also got a nice, big hi-fi console. In her dialogue, she indicates that she even has color TV! 




Enter Kiel Martin. This seems to be his first time on TV.


Devilish Wally. You're going to Q. I hope you get out in time to play on Hill Street Blues.


DON'T WORRY. I WILL.


OH GOD WALLY

Brooke Bundy's freak outs are nothing but epic.


Georgia Street Juvenile. Crime report. Et cetera.


Usually we see a wide shot or a distant pan of the L.A. Hall of Justice; for this episode, I made a collage of the architectural details:




*Double* HOLD THE PHONE!


Nice job, guys! That's going down in Everyone Nods history. 


The best wide shot of Georgia Street Juvenile thus far.

You know it was torn down, right?

Some familiar art and furniture:


Hurray! Dragnet doesn't show the body! Yay for good taste. S. John Launer just lays the blanket down and tells Joe/us.


Still, oy chaval. Poor Andy. At least my parents let me live.


I confess, I regretted it a time or three. Never pulled a "Ralph Harmon", though.


IF YOU WERE GONE, HOW COULD YOU CURATE DRAGNET STYLE?


Speaking of death, Jack Webb died the year I was born.

That still life on the far left is total first year art school:


Oh no, Bill - watch out for that drum shade, it's creeping up behind you:




Walter Marshall

Now serving his sentence in the State Prison, San Quentin, California.


"Since no criminal complaint could be filed against Louise Marshall, she was not held."


S2e22

Starred
Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday
Harry Morgan as Officer Bill Gannon
Brooke Bundy as Louise Marshall
Kiel Martin as Walter Marshall (OH, WALLY!)
S. John Launer as Dr. Roy Wingate
Elizabeth Rogers as Mrs. Bradley
Jean Howell as Mrs. Ruth Fowler
Gavin Mooney as Dr. Frederick Martin
Cathleen Cordell as Mrs. Newton
Louise Lorimer as Mrs. Walters
______ as Andrew Marshall / Baby Arm
______ as Hospital Volunteer
______, ______, ______, ______ as Random LAPD Officers
______, ______, ______, ______ as Random Hospital Staff

Art Direction - Russell Kimball
Set Decor - John McCarthy & John Sturtevant
Costumes - Vincent Dee

Aired 15 February 1968

Written by Robert Soderberg

Thanks for enduring my stream of consciousness. I'm grateful that I had a few people that loved me for me when I was young, even though most of them (all?) are deceased now. I'm still a very lucky blogger. No pity necessary.

See you next week as we begin to wrap up the second season. It's a snoozer (to me), but some of the dialogue is tops! Here's a clue- It's a "mother-lover" of an episode.

Take it easy and don't forget children are people, too. They deserve to be honored as human beings. Nobody's perfect, but don't let that attitude become a crutch.

I'm real sorry, honey,
Suzy Dragnet


17 comments:

  1. As usual, great post. I can't provide any info on the locations but will update if I come across anything. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sorry you felt unwanted as a child, but this post serves to remind me to be mindful of how I speak to my daughter (she's 4).

    I have to tell you, there are two sites I MUST check every Sunday morning: Postsecret and Everyone Nods. However, each update brings a little sadness because I know you will one day run out of episodes to recap. Anyway, as stated, great post, and keep up the great work.

    -WM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, darling. I read Post Secret, too! I'm delighted to make your weekly reads list. That just charms me to bits!
      I hemmed and hawed a bit over how much to say, but then I thought…well, it's a blog, "my" blog so why shouldn't I note things that strike a chord? My writing is a little clunky, but that's what revision is for.

      The funny thing about me growing up was that I didn't realize that I was unwanted because of the isolation (geographic & emotional).

      Not to worry, however, after I finish chronicling the episodes, I'm planning numerous posts that assess the production style in greater detail.

      Yes! Please enjoy your daughter. She's lucky to have you. (Don't ever tell her to "get up off of her lazy ass," for instance.) Kids are frustrating but therapy is golden.

      Cheers and thanks,
      Suzy Dragnet

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  2. The fountain is the Wm. Mulholland Fountain at the corner of Los Feliz Boulevard and Riverside Drive - http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2012/09/mulholland-fountain-to-go-dry-for-the-rest-of-the-year/

    It's a memorial to William Mulholland, LA's first engineer of the water system -
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Mulholland He was famously portrayed in the movie Chinatown.

    The rock is part of the memorial and has an inscription noting the dedication of the fountain in 1940 - http://culturenow.org/entry&permalink=15761&seo=William-Mulholland-Memorial-Fountain_City-of-Los-Angeles

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent sleuthing! I enjoyed the links as well. You must be from Cali to know so many things about L.A.
      I appreciate your help very much! I'm so proud to have you in the blog.

      See you again soon,
      Suzy Dragnet

      Delete
    2. I am an LA native and lifelong resident of Southern California. Been going past that fountain my whole life! Love what you are doing here. Feel free to check with me on any LA related questions. Thanks.
      ron@blurrylens.com

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    3. Thank you. I love it! I have always lived in North Carolina. I read Reyner Banham's book last year to help me get geared up for Everyone Nods: http://www.amazon.com/Los-Angeles-Architecture-Four-Ecologies/dp/0520260155

      Here's a cute Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/22488225

      Delete
  3. Great site, Suzy! The Marshall's apartment was indeed a back lot building at Universal. In addition to Dragnet, I’ve seen it in several Adam-12 episodes and at least one episode of It Takes a Thief.

    Hope this helps!

    ~JD

    http://www.thestudiotour.com/ush/backlot/apartments.php

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AH HA! Cool!
      I haven't watched all of Adam-12, but when I do, I'll keep an eye out for it.
      Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoy the blog.

      Best,
      Suzy Dragnet

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    2. I'm kind of sad that they razed the set in 1981. Post and beam is kind-of having a resurgence in popularity these days, it seems.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for a particularly poignant (and moving) post. It definitely struck a chord in me and I seem to keep coming back to it.

    I also love your blog and the art as well. I always look forward to more. And your writing style is funny, clever, and touched with pathos when it needs to be. Be proud! :)

    All the best...CVH

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay Pathos! haha. I try to keep it light, but sometimes…pathos wins.
      I never expected to get so much love for Everyone Nods. I started it as a project chronicling the visual style, but it's grown into so much more. I'm really, really glad people like you are out there to engage with me.

      Cheers & thanks,
      Suzy Dragnet

      Delete
  5. The restaurant you reference was called 'Sambo's' and not 'Samba's'. It was part of a chain of coffee shop/restaurant/diners. They were constantly being scrutinized for the politically incorrect name of the chain and finally did change their name later, but still the chain sank. Of the several restaurants they used to operate, only the original beach front restaurant now remains in Santa Barbara California.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, good catch. I was hoping someone would help me out with that one.
      Sambo's - wow… Reminds me of Coon Chicken Inn from the Ghost World movie:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_h4tgHbUho
      Samba's sounds more L.A. to me. It's musical. The sign is great, though. I'm a sucker for vintage neon. There is so little left.

      See you soon,
      Suzy Dragnet

      Delete
  6. The apartments with the swimming pool were on the backlot between Colonial Street and Circle Drive. I commented on them on your blog in another episode, I forget which. The other episode was shot from the other side which was a motel. As you noticed, they use the front side (apartments) and back side (motel) in many episodes. It appears in other series as well, most notably Adam-12 and The Rockford Files. It's quite an elaborate exterior set! I read it was torn down in the early 80s.

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  7. The girl who plays the mother is about the twitchiest actress I've ever seen. She was probably one of those kids who couldn't sit still. Reminds me of Nancy Barrett from "Dark Shadows" who was also extremely twitchy (it there is such a word). I wonder if it's a blonde thing.

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  8. I'm sorry your parents weren't capable of loving. Your writing shows you must be a strong person and used humor to get through the bad times.

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