Jack Webb Radio Works
Hello MPIR Fans,
Playing now on the MPIR Mystery stream is the radio works of Jack Webb. Along with a few video's found on YouTube placed in the MPIR Theater for your listening and viewing enjoyment.
John Randolph "Jack" Webb (April 2, 1920 – December 23, 1982), also known by the pen name John Randolph, was an American actor, television producer, director, and screenwriter, who ismost famous for his role as Sgt. Joe Friday in the Dragnet franchise (which he also created).
He was also the founder of his own production company, Mark VII Limited.
In San Francisco, there was a wartime shortage of announcers this led to a temporary appointment to his own radio show on ABC's KGO Radio. The Jack Webb Show was a half-hour comedy that had a limited run on ABC radio in 1946. Prior to that, he had a one-man program, One Out of Seven, on KGO in which he dramatized a news story from the previous week. By 1949, he had abandoned comedy for drama, and starred in Pat Novak for Hire, a radio show originating from KFRC about a man who worked as an unlicensed private detective. The program co-starred Raymond Burr. Pat Novak was notable for writing that imitated the hard-boiled style of such writers as Raymond Chandler, with lines such as: "She drifted into the room like 98 pounds of warm smoke. Her voice was hot and sticky--like a furnace full of marshmallows."
Webb's radio shows included Johnny Madero, Pier 23, Jeff Regan, Investigator, Murder and Mr. Malone, Pete Kelly's Blues, and One Out of Seven. Webb provided all of the voices on One Out of Seven, often vigorously attacking racial prejudice.
Webb's most famous motion-picture role was as the combat-hardened Marine Corps drill instructor at Parris Island in the 1957 film The D.I., with Don Dubbins as a callow Marine private. Webb's hard-nosed approach to this role, that of Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant James Moore, would be reflected in much of his later acting. But The D.I. was a box-office failure.
Dragnet and stardom
Webb had a featured role as a crime lab technician in the 1948 film He Walked by Night, based on the real-life murder of a California Highway Patrol man by Erwin Walker. The film was produced in semi-documentary style with technical assistance provided by Detective Sergeant Marty Wynn of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). He Walked By Night's thinly veiled fictionalized recounting of the 1946 Walker crime spree gave Webb the idea for Dragnet: a recurring series based on real cases from LAPD police files, featuring authentic depictions of themodern police detective, including methods, mannerisms, and technical language.
With much assistance from Sgt. Marty Wynn and legendary LAPD chief William H. Parker, Dragnet premiered on NBC Radio in 1949 and ran till 1957. It was also picked up as a television series by NBC, which aired episodes each season from 1952 to 1959. Webb played Sgt. Joe Friday, and Barton Yarborough co-starred as Sgt. Ben Romero. After Yarborough's death, Ben Alexander joined the cast as Officer Frank Smith.
In announcing his vision of Dragnet, Webb said he intended to perform a service for the police by showing them as low-key working-class heroes. Dragnet moved away from earlier portrayals of the police in shows such as Jeff Regan and Pat Novak, which had often shown them as brutal and even corrupt. Dragnet became a successful television show in 1952. Barton Yarborough died of a heart attack in 1951, after filming only two episodes, and Barney Phillips (Sgt. Ed Jacobs) and Herbert Ellis (Officer Frank Smith) temporarily stepped in as partners. Veteran radio and film actor Ben Alexander soon took over the role of jovial, burly Officer Frank Smith. Alexander was popular and remained a cast member until the show's cancellation in 1959. In 1954, a full-length feature film adaptation of the series was released, starring Webb, Alexander, and Richard Boone.
Visit the MPIR Theater http://mpir-otr.com/beans/ for a few video examples of Jack Webb's work. The first video in the playlists is especially nice and funny. A Dragnet spoof with Johnny Carson!
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