Monday, February 23, 2015

Jack Webb Radio Shows

Early Jack Webb on the radio 
Introduction to radio's World of Webb

Jack Webb was a force in radio police drama. Dragnet (one of the earliest radio and tv cop shows) hadn't been Jack Webb's only old time radio show. His first was when Webb was in his twenties. A comedy sprinkled with some jazz music, The Jack Webb Show aired in in 1946. I've only heard a couple of episodes and it's Webb like you've never heard him. There's a Webb treat at the end of this article.

He played private eyes, Johnny Modero, Pat Novak for Hire and Jeff Regan, Investigator. There was a noir touch to the shows. Famous actors such as William Conrad, Raymond Burr and Gale Gordon who would also go on to find success on television worked with Webb on radio.

Pat Novak for Hire
"His mouth was open, flung to one side like a loose change purse full of old teeth..."

He provided all of the voices on the 1946 One Out of Seven, a show that  attacked racial prejudice. On it he used names and quotes from real people sometimes including text of speeches. 

Exposed is some vitriolic ranting from U.S. Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi a known racist and anti-Semitic congressman of the time. This was before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It gives a small idea of the conditions that brought about the Civil Rights Movement.

Jack Webb has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for his work in Radio, located at 7040 Hollywood Blvd. The other is for his work in television, 6278 Hollywood Blvd.

You can find a collection of Jack Webb's radio show's available on MP3.

His most famous show, Dragnet premiered on radio in 1949 and would continue there, running concurrently with the television show, through 1957. 

The name of every episode of Dragnet began, The Big....  In 1958 Webb wrote the book, The Badge: True and Terrifying Crime Stories That Could Not Be Presented on TV.

Just to make it confusing, there's a mystery writer of the 1950s also named Jack Webb. This man's full name was John Alfred Webb. And to make him even more often confused with the Dragnet Jack Webb, one of his most famous books is called The Big Sin. It's a story about crooked politicians, a murdered showgirl, a priest and rabbi who team up to solve the murder. 

John Randolph Webb is the full name of Webb of Dragnet fame. If John Randolph and John Alfred ever met I have no idea. There could've been a whole wily World Wide Webb group.

Similar Shows
The sincerest form of flattery? I wouldn't say that any show dealing with real crime stories copied any other show. True events serve as the basis for fiction all the time. Authors and filmmakers sometimes incorporate real people into fictional stories rewriting or reimagining history.

A good radio show set in New York City police station is 21st Precinct aka Twenty-first Precinct. A show out of the UK, show, titled Whitehall 1212 is the number of Scotland Yard. They also make a point of telling listeners that stories are based on actual events.

Twenty-first Precinct aired 1953-1956. Everett Sloan played Captain Frank Kennelly. You may recognize him. He was in Citizen Kane and The Lady from Shanghai. He was also in Patterns, which was written by Rod Serling and some episodes of The Twilight Zone, notably The Fever set in Las Vegas. "Franklin!"

"You have the right to remain lovely"

Sort of in the style of William Shatner, Jack Webb produced some talk-singing albums that were popular with his female fans. 

Just The Tracks Ma'am: The Warner Brothers Recordings Available on MP3 or audio CD. You'll find a swell collection of love song standards. But there's also a series of colorful instrumental tracks credited, "by Jack Webb and Pete Kelly:" Peacock, Turquoise, Perwinkle, Midnight, Dresden, Sapphire, Flame, Magenta, Rouge, Lobster and Fire Engine. The album is from the early 1950s.

Reminds me of the 1957 album, Yvonne De Carlo Sings which includes Am I Blue, In the Blue of the Evening, Little Girl Blue, My Blue Heaven, Mood Indigo and Blue Moon.

Since you're probably still in that Valentine's Day mood,
Jack Webb presents Do I Love You?

A great variety of various Detective OTR shows including some you can listen to free some free : old time radio 

Dragnet Early Television Cop Series 

Early Detective TV Shows The very first television detectives Ellery Queen, Man Against Crime, You be the Judge

No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome and thanks for visiting.

Please keep your comments topical & respectful. We can't accept links or be responsible for content of comments.