Wednesday, January 1, 2014

the big square


My dad liked Dragnet.  Having polio, dad would often ask me to massage his atrophied legs with rubbing alcohol on a Sunday evening as we watched FBI (IN COLOR!) or Dragnet.  Dragnet was for squares.  My dad was a square and Jack Webb was a square.  I sat there on the edge of his bed and watched it with him. 

You know what?
I guess that made me a square too.

Jack Webb played Sergeant Joe Friday on Dragnet. You could tell that Jack was a man of convictions just like the character he portrayed.  The bad guy was always apprehended on Dragnet and you could bet that Friday would have the last word.  Friday shot from the hip and didn't mince words.  You could always count on the perpetrator to be on the receiving end of one of Friday's righteous diatribes.  You tell'm Joe!

I haven't watched a Dragnet in decades.  I've been watching them back to back on Netflix the past few weeks.  Each Dragnet episode was a drama with little to no humor added.  Each episode was a sermon about law and order and crime and punishment.  Jack Webb's straight and narrow sermons were black and white and wrong and right.

The world has changed a great deal since Dragnet 1967.  Jack Webb, if he were still alive today, would be considered more square today than even in his day.  Jack Webb would never fit in the politically correct moral relative world we seem to be stuck in today.  What might have seemed a gritty crime drama show then, would seem campy and old fashioned by today's vague standards.  Hollywood would have nothing to do with Webb's like today. 

I watch these shows and saddened how the world has changed.  I like Dragnet - camp and all.  I like Joe Friday. I appreciate the efforts of Jack Webb now more than ever.   Joe Friday was the standard bearer for all things decent and just.  Good show!



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