Monday, May 23, 2011

badge 417

Jack Webb
Apr. 2, 1920 – Dec. 23, 1982
My dad liked this guy.  The older I get, the more I like him too.  Jack Webb played a straight-laced straight talking gum shoe police Sergeant Joe Friday on the television series Dragnet.  Jack wasn't a 'hip' guy, and that didn't seem to bother him one iota.  Joe was a real good guy.  He and his partner always caught the bad guy, and Friday always had the last word.  Joe Friday was old school and a lot of riff-raff got old schooled by him.

If Joe were around today, I'd don't think he'd be much of a hipster.  He wouldn't be very PC.  He's too honest for that.  Like me, Joe Friday is a black and white guy with very little grey to be seen.  I never heard a Sergeant Joe Friday speech that didn't ring of truth, that wasn't spot on.  Now decades later, Joe's dialogue and style might seem campy and corny - but his sermons on right and wrong are still right on.

"A small role in the film noir classic He Walked by Night
(1948) led to the creation of "Dragnet". During production, Webb befriended a LAPD police consultant assigned to the film and became fascinated with the cases he heard told. He successfully pitched the idea of a radio series to NBC using stories drawn from actual LAPD files. Dragnet first aired over NBC radio on June 3, 1949. There was a time when Dragnet was used as training films at the LAPD Academy.

Jack Webb, the guy that played a cop, was buried with full honors befitting an LAPD detective, including a 17-gun salute.  When Jack died, the badge number 417 was officially retired by the Los Angeles Police Department.
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