Saturday, December 9, 2017

DRAGNET - "The Big .22 Rifle For Christmas" (1952)

 Welcome to the first Saturday Night X-Mas Special 2017 in The Dungeon!
The TV series "DRAGNET" ran for eight seasons from 1951 to 1959, and then made another resurgence in 1967 for another four seasons up til 1970, then the movie with Dan Aykroyd came out in 1987, and still another TV show appeared for two seasons in 2003 with Ed O'Neill in the lead role!
That's a pretty good run!!

 The title was "The Big .22 Rifle For Christmas," and was episode seven of season two that aired on December 18th, 1952! It's very dark, and not festive at all! All the episode titles from this first run except the first one, are always prefaced with "The Big." It's kinda weird!

 The iconic Jack Webb is the equally iconic Sgt. Joe Friday, and his partner Officer Frank Smith was played by Herbert (The Party, Pete Kelly's Blues) Ellis! If I've done my math right, Herb will be 97 next month!!

This is the best shot ever of two guys synchronizing their watches!!

June Whitley Taylor was in three other "Dragnet" Episodes, and was all over the TV from the 50's through the 70's!  She's very distraught because her son is missing!

It seems that her son had got into his Christmas present early!

"Dragnet" was so revered that when Jack Webb died, he was given a full police burial, and his badge number 714 on the show was retired from the L.A.P.D. forever!

Jack Webb was a fascinating character, but my favourite piece of trivia about him is that he was a huge fan of jazz music, and had a record collection of over 6000 albums!

 If I ever take up painting again, this is going to be my first piece! I just love the fact that as simple as it is, you still know exactly what is happening, or at least I do anyway!

Sammy Ogg as Stanley Johnstone is in big trouble. He didn't actually kill his best friend, but he did get out the gun that his best friend accidentally shot himself with, and then felt so guilty, he tried to hide the body! Sammy was 13 here, and he quit acting when he was twenty! He was in 6 other "Dragnet Episodes" and before this, when he was 12, he was in "The Day The Earth Stood Still!"

Those heads held down tell the whole story! How do you break the bad news to a parent that their son is dead right before Christmas?

I believe "Dragnet," but when "Fargo" says it, I have my doubts!!

So is this not like the ultimate bummer of a Christmas story?
I'm not sure this story ever needed to be told! It's just sad!

In case you can't tell, that is a broken Christmas ornament!

I don't know what Tabonga has got up his sleeve for you next, but I've got some more weird X-Mas stuff for you on Wednesday, so stay tuned!!


knobgobbler said...

I love Dragnet, especially the radio shows and black & white episodes (It got a bit sillier in the 60s incarnation).
But I do avoid this episode because it's such a bummer and always made me tear up. Dragnet had a lot of horrifying stories but this one is just too sad.

KD said...

I like the early black and white DRAGNET episodes a lot more than the '60s ones, but I haven't seen this older episode. Not sure I want to see it, either. As a 50s/60s kid, the only "guns" I ever got for Xmas were ray guns that "shoot" colorful lights and electronic noises.

EEGAH!! said...

Bummer is right! This is definitely not the feel good story of the year!

Tommy Ross said... if anyone's interested, GREAT post, thanks!

EEGAH!! said...

You're Welcome Tommy! Thanx for the link and Merry X-Mas!

Anonymous said...

Shorter/easier URL:

Anonymous said...

By an amazing coincidence I am currently watching the 1967 season which I picked up cheaply on DVD (it was released here in Australia but was quite pricey but failed to sell and has now dropped in price).

I always loved Harry Morgan as Bill Gannon with his strange sandwiches which Friday would always shun for a cup of coffee.

Have a great Christmas all, it's getting plenty hot here in Sydney.


EEGAH!! said...

I'm right with you Paul, Harry Morgan was the best! Always glad to hear what's happening down under! You have a Merry Christmas too!

KD said...

I miss the lovely Dorothy Abbott as Joe Friday's girlfriend, "Ann Baker."

She was a wonderful actress who rarely got decent roles, but she did 6 episodes of DRAGNET in 1953 and '54. Most of her roles otherwise were "uncredited" or if given screen credit, you still had to search for her on-screen.

In fact, I don't believe the photo on her IMDb page is even her!

One of her very few lead roles was in an early, VERY soft softcore 1953 film titled "A Virgin in Hollywood" (she plays a journalist sent to Hollywood to investigate nudity in the film biz) which she was named in a nasty write-up in a fundamentalist so-called Christian book about "immorality" in the movie industry in Hollywood. I'm guessing, but maybe this book played a part in ruining her film career. Maybe.

EEGAH!! said...

After you wrote this KD, I felt bad that I didn't include something about her until I realized she wasn't in this episode, but while I was digging around I found out this incredible bit of info! Dorothy was in 24 episodes of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," but the interesting thing is that it wasn't a recurring character. Two appeared more than once, Dorothy and Mrs. Williams, but the bulk of them were same face, different person!

KD said...

Ah, I didn't pick up on that, EEGAH! I wasn't suggesting that you were ignoring her, it's just that her character on some early DRAGNET shows really stood out, for me. There are many standout episodes of that show!

Me and my missus are big fans of the old OZZIE & HARRIET show and have many on DVD in a Mill Creek box set, so I'll have to take a look again sometime. So sad that Dorothy ended up the way she did...from what I've seen of her acting, she was very pretty and quite talented!

KD said...

Dorothy Abbott (nice photo):

Grant said...

I don't know if I know this Dragnet episode, but whenever I hear about a subject that "no one used to EVER talk about," I think about stories like this. Because people are probably told that gun safety and kids used to "never be talked about," but there's this story, and also that famous Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Bang! You're Dead!" And maybe several others.

Speaking of that, I once saw a Dragnet episode (from this original version) about pedophilia! That would REALLY surprise a lot of people, even in a police show. Because that's another subject "no one ever to talk about."

KD said...

There was another show vaguely similar to this Dragnet, a segment of Four Star Playhouse from the mid-1950s titled "The Gun" starring Dick Powell. It's a tense story: a police officer (Powell) loses track of his gun and it seems that his son, a really little kid about 4 or 5 years of age, has got hold of it. Definitely worth watching, I believe it's on the Internet Archive...

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