Saturday, November 16, 2013

"The Big Problem" or "The One With Chief Reddin"

The second season closer brings us a special mid-series guest: Chief Reddin of the LAPD!

This episode is economical and very much a Mark VII Production. Just you wait.

Let's start with a pull back we've seen a dozen times before:




"This is the city-- Los Angeles, California. I work here. I carry a badge."

We get an upbeat music cue, then dropped right into a brown soundstage. Another with that "low rent" panache:


The episode streams "choppy" so it's a little tough to get quality caps today.


ANY OF YOU REMEMBER TO BRING A TELEPROMPTER?


NOT ME, MAN.


WE DON'T HAVE ONE 


DON ROSS, YOU'RE NOT OFF THE HOOK


I THINK YOU MEAN DON ROSS IS OFF THE CHAIN


Today, Friday and Gannon are working out of Foothill division, also known as 'Gannon's old stomping grounds.'


They're playing Community Relations officers. 



This means that Joe is going to have a lot to say, so hold on to your Dragnet hat.


I GUESS I GET A LINE OR TWO.


You'll notice this episode features a different set than the PAB soundstage with characteristic green walls, doors, and everything. This is Foothill Division. High windows. Light colors. Wooden doors. Modernized style of desks, not at all like the wooden ones we find at Georgia Juvenile. Everything at Foothill seems a touch newer, or at least more stylistically specific.


Nice to see you again, Maidie Norman. She's a doll. I imagine her as the type that sings to herself when she cleans her house/washes her car/does her dishes/washes her hair.


This episode has the husband/wife trope carried over from Lars was convinced it was an airedale:
the husband insists on telling Joe and Bill himself- Mr. Erickson doesn't let his wife talk.

I know Doodles Weaver is just doing a comic interject in the Ingo Burry episode. No worries. But still, this sort of activity had to be real enough to be written into Dragnet in the first place.


And in the case that there was any doubt of where we are talking about - this is Foothill:


That would be a fun job at the police office- preparing the data into maps that all of the officers get daily. Too bad a computer does that in real time, I guess. 


DO YOU THINK THAT SUZY SHOULD FEEL HURT THAT COMPUTERS CAN AND DO EVERYTHING BETTER AND MORE FLUIDLY THAN PEOPLE CAN?

Dang, Gannon, I guess you found a prompter.

AT LONG LAST - Season Two Joe with Joe!


ALL RIGHT


READY FOR JOE WITH JOE?
Hold on to that red fiberglass chair seat.


THAT'S SOME SERIOUS JOE WITH JOE

(Great contrast; good call by Russell Kimball.)


Even some pleasant-looking appliances behind Officer No-Manners and Officer Bungle here.


THIS EPISODE IS OVER 25 MINUTES LONG

Stream the episode; check out around 13:30; Joe has this great 'wind up cop' walk to the trash can and then tosses the cup out in the most Hollywood way imaginable.


The exteriors seem to line up with the exterior of 12760 Osborne Street, Pacoima, CA 91331.

Parker Center opened in 1955. When did the Foothill location open?


What's up, Clark Howat?
Eleven chatty minutes to go.



Day Watch Roll Call:


CAMBOT


GYPSY


TOM SERVO


CROOOOW!


SUZY YOU ARE WAY OFF THE RAILS
GET IT TOGETHER


In all seriousness, the spareness is treated with more gentleness on the soundstage set of Foothill. 



It's the footage from the Christmas Special!


ONE K EIGHTY
ONE K EIGHTY


The sequence with the white van above; It's coming up on a curvy concrete wall.
Call it a long shot, but that one would be cool to look up!


It's a real hodgepodge this week in terms of driving sequences.


Now we roll quickly by that mailbox and end over here:


Mailboxes used to look so proud and festive.

Well, you know it's Dragnet, so all roads lead to the backlot at Universal Studios; specifically this week back to New York street. The scale is so off!



Joe entered and exited Night School through the portal there behind Officer Rude Boy: 


I PROMISE YOU THERE IS ENOUGH RESPECT TO GO AROUND


Immediately I know this soundstage. Don Dubbins lived up here, the dead porno actress lived here, I think Ralph Moody did, too, or he will… I think we have some murder investigations coming up in seasons three and four on this soundstage. We'll have to hang out and see.


CHECK IT OUT, DUDE IS LIVING IN A DEAD LADY'S APARTMENT


Billy Jones
4400 Iberia Street Apt. 22
"About as objective as a wet towel."


That's some authentic-looking "door that has been painted 1,000,000 times with Wes Andersonian lettering.



After some tense moments and terse words, Joe coaxes him out of the apartment, convincing him that he can trust the police. Still, it's a frightening thought, in 1968, that the police force could be untrustworthy. 1968 was seeing Americans through some challenging social times.


 Things in America are more laid back than they've ever been, here in 2013; your mileage may vary.


This dude was really concerned about "the white man's lies".


As it turns out, that's not a thing in Dragnet. (Yay!)
I guess it must have been a thing by 1968.


Complex mix of extras - Vincent Dee had a lot of work this week.


"Well now, what do you know about that?"


Billy Jones

"The suspect pled guilty to 21801 V.C., illegal left turn, and was fined $12.50.
On the recommendation of the arresting officers, the charge of 148 P.C., resisting arrest, was dismissed.
In a moment, the Chief of Police of the City of Los Angeles, Thomas Reddin."

Welcome to the show. I'm crazy about the art- a panel of a nice, Miesian illustration of Parker Center.


This is one dynomite name plate! Tres chic!


"What you have just seen on this program in no way purports to pose all of the problems and only a small part of the solutions to police community relations. But what you have witnessed is true. The incidents were taken from many we have on file. If your police department is to do an effective job of serving you, there must be mutual understanding and tolerance between the citizens and the police. Join in the community relations programs in your city. Get to know your police officers better. Let them get to know you. You'll be helping your city, your country, and yourself."

(Did he look a tad afraid to be on the TV camera? Someone clearly found him a teleprompter.)


S2e28

Starred
Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday
Harry Morgan as Officer Bill Gannon
Roy Glenn as John Erickson
Maidie Norman as Elsa Erickson (Back again!)
John McCook as Officer Nick Jeffries
Charles Brewer as Officer Ron Braven
Clark Howat as Captain Shannon
Georg Stanford Brown as Billy Jones
Ed Deemer as Sergeant Charles Park
Richard Van Vleet as Officer Martin
Celia Lovsky as Rita Goldstein
Victor Millan as Sam Gonsalvez
Don Ross as Civilian with Glasses and Blue Tie
Celia Lovsky as T'Pau (via @SilverAgeTV)

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

Aired 28 March 1968

Written by Michael Donovan

Check us out next week when we're begin to take on season three. There are some really cool episodes coming up. The quality of the picture appears to drop for the remainder of the series, so that's too bad. Oh, the titles of the episodes get jacked up pretty badly. I'll be inventing episode names as I go along.

Well, let it all out in the comments section. You know I'd love to hear you.

xx,
Suzy Dragnet

P.S.
(I FINALLY GOT TO REFERENCE MST3K!!!)

5 comments:

  1. Thing is, Tom Red din was a very important new 'face' of the 1968 LAPD. The city was still in recovery mode after the Watts riots and community relations took on a deeper sense of importance.
    Chief Tom was there to represent a new improved racially diverse LAPD, though it wasn't until former LAPD officer Tom Bradley became mayor that things did begin to actually change big time in the city. It's no coincidence that Bradley himself was black and spent his entire mayoral career at war with the LAPD leading ultimately to the showdown with Cheif Daryl Gates in the 1990s that resulted in the LA riots.
    anyhow, Reddin in 1968 used to show up on local KTLA news once a week for a few minutes in a genuine attempt at community realtions with a segment that was taped in his Parker Center office that this episode is copying.

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    Replies
    1. Cool, ok, I didn't know about all that. KTLA. I guess they got the style pretty closely copied.
      I always thought this was a sweet episode.

      Thanks for writing & see you soon,
      Suzy Dragnet

      Delete
    2. I can't imagine things being so tense on a society when the Chief of Police of a new metropolis is compelled to declare things over the TV in this manner.

      Future Shock!!

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  2. "1968 was seeing Americans through some challenging social times."

    So is 2014; I'm not sure which year is worse, actually. (I was twelve in 1968.) With the Ferguson, MO riots in the news, this is an episode that it as timely now as it was in 1968.

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  3. Given how awkward Chief Reddin is on camera, it's a little ironic that he quit as the police chief the next year to become a full-time newscaster at KTLA!

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