Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Training DR-19" or "The Susan Seaforth Episode"

This episode is Susan Seaforth's chance to shine! She's always down on her luck with men, but this time, she is the center of attention and has a jerk boyfriend and everything!

And it goes on for the whole episode.

For me, of course, the return of Virginia Gregg is great. It's a Top Twenty episode, for sure. For pure anthropological television weirdness of the late mid-century - this is it.

Welcome, everyone, to a time in Los Angeles in which Lady Cops that were in training at the Police Academy were called "Cadets."

But on the bright side, there's a coffee break at the end of every hour, which is probably code for Everybody Smoke Cigarettes Time. This is taking place in 1968.

It's cute how much Jack Webb loves Susan Seaforth. He also loves Don Dubbins in a similar way. Both are always cast as reasonable and good except for that one time that Don Dubbins was a Nazi.
Eventually he will get to train dogs in the upcoming Don Dubbins: Dog Trainer episode and it's totally adorable. I mean adorable.

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

This episode is one of a few that recycle bits of film more than once in the same episode.
I believe that happened also when we investigated Virginia Gregg for trying to be a safecracker.
(Clearly, she is not!) That episode had a similar trope of a woman trying to put on as if here lifestyle were more glam and fab than it really was. We'll get hit with that trope later on during the rest of Art Director John E. Chilberg, II's reign.

What a lovely campus. Isn't that just charming?

Although it is chronologically incorrect, I'm posting all of the exterior Police Academy establishing shots here at the top.

Onward to our sound stages, where right away we are assaulted with that bottles/plate/jar still life. It also appeared in the Mickey Sholdar episode and I think also in the one with Brooke Bundy and her child-beating murderer husband.

This is the Police Academy Coffee Shop set.

If I'm not mistaken, the wall art north of Clark Howat also presided over Blue Boy's pill overdose.

Looks like the same coffee warmer as we had last week when Lew Brown was in the Secret Service.

I dig that tie! This is one of the only occasions in which a good guy has a cool tie!

Wouldn't you just love a nice mug of warm coffee?
I don't know about you, but it is literally freezing outside right now.

OK, Moving along, the next Police Academy Set is the most wood grain paneling ever presented on television. 

Nah, I'm just kidding, but judge for yourself:

1968 - In a time without Apple computers.

Look at that: Actual 'in boxes' and 'out boxes' - 

I believe that this ranks as 'Quite High' on the Suzy Dragnet Scale of amount of paneling used in a single set.

No touchscreen devices and ladies had to futz around with white gloves?

(See also - Eileen Gannon having dinner in Joe's Apartment earlier this season.)


This corridor will be recycled next week in SmartTeens, if I'm not mistaken.

Handbags and Shoes time.
Here, Virginia Gregg is seen wearing white shoes and they match her handbag, indicating that this is taking place sometime between Easter and Labor Day. This would be correct (probably) at the time of filming, but by the time it was all cut together and broadcast, it was well into November - meaning dark shoes and dark handbags.

This is another corridor of maximum minimalism.
And all of the beige! And Virginia Gregg is wearing the same sort of palette.

More futzing with gloves:

I'm Judy Jordan

When everyone speaks in a classroom, they stand up. They do this in SmarTeens and it drives me nuts!
So precocious! 

Check out this parade of 1968 ladies fashion as envisioned by Vincent Dee:

Oh yeah, Eve Brent is here:

No more delinquent motherhood for her! She's teaching a class on Conduct and Appearance!

Back in the corridor, Susan Seaforth gets jostled about by that no good fiancé of hers, Don Stewart.
He's been busted for being unsavory here on the show before.

Get with it, Susan Seaforth! Male Privilege! Male Privilege!

Susan gets a costume change from the aran knit sweater to a cute green two-tone number:

That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise.

Susan Seaforth shoots a revolver:

Yay, she is a good shot:

Then there was the first aid film:

Then playing around with a car:

Then everyone got into a circle and levitated.

Magical day.

Virginia Gregg is on her second costume change.

There. More paneling. much better.

Did he just warp space-time and portal out of the same door into a soundstage?

Vincent also puts Susan in blue:

Cue the theme from Jaws:

Joe comes over to deliver his Jesus Speech to Don Stewart.



All right - after a mock-graduation, we're about to wrap it up.


Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday
Harry Morgan as Officer Bill Gannon
Virginia Gregg as Dorothy Lee
Susan Seaforth as Joyce Anderson
Don Stewart as Russ Landa
Clark Howat as Captain Vern Hoy
Eve Brent as Sergeant Connie Speck
Judy Jordan as Carol Winters

Additional Cast
______ as Photographer

Additional Notes
No 'nodding at the end' sequence.

Art Direction - John E. Chilberg, II
Set Decor - John McCarthy & John Sturtevant
Costumes - Vincent Dee

Written by Robert C. Dennis

Aired 21 November 1968

Glad you tuned in,
Suzy Dragnet


  1. Not one of my favourite episodes, but, as always, your analysis has given me a different perspective. Quote of the episode goes to Bill Gannon: "If necessary, that can be arranged."

    Susan Seaforh: What a looker.

    Also, you make mention of Don Dubbins. Check out Adam-12, Season Five, Episode 20, wherein Malloy is partnered up with Officer Tyson (Don Dubbins) when Reed is suspended for shooting an unarmed man. Good stuff.


    1. YES! I also loves Gannon's line.

      Vincent Dee picked out some great costume changes for Susan and for the extras as well.

      I'll get to the Adam -12 episode before summer, hopefully.

      Thanks again for dropping in!!
      Suzy Dragnet

  2. You say that Jack Webb apparently liked Susan Seaforth, but I say the real chemistry is between Webb and the ever-present Virginia Gregg. They MUST have had something going on in real life! Anyone know for sure?

  3. Virginia Gregg was in literally ever radio episode of everything ever. Fantastic.