Friday, September 07, 2007

Just the Facts Ma'am

As the tv westerns started to give way in popularity to police shows, one man came along who solidified the public interest in the police dramas. Jack Webb's promotion of the law enforcement field through tv made him the "top cop" of the sixties and seventies. Dragnet was one show that our family gathered around the tv to see. I don't think it was so much the storyline of each episode that drew such a large following as it was Jack himself. Even though he was the star of the show he always cast himself as just another cop, who happened to narrate the show. The family-friendly format made some of the episodes almost laughable at their non-violent nature. I mean, even at the young age I was, I still knew that Dragnet or Adam-12, another Jack Webb production, was not an accurate portrayal of the life of a cop in L.A. But there was no mistaking Jack's determination in trying to educate the public about the processes of the law. Sgt. Friday was a cop who seemed as boring a person as you'd want to meet, but for some reason you had to stay glued to the tube to see what happened next, right up to the end where you had to wait until after the commercial to see what the bad guys got... "In a moment, the results of that hearing".

The interest in police dramas started to fade a little after the seventies. There were a few in the early eighties - Magnum P.I., Miami Vice a little later, and some lesser known ones, but I don't think it was until the mid nineties that they started to pick up, and now they're all over the screen again, although most of them seem to be of the CSI type. Personally, I lived through the barrage of early seventies police shows, so by the time Magnum came around I wasn't much interested in watching cop shows anymore, and I don't watch them at all now. But Dragnet, even with its dull routine and bad acting by everyone except the main characters, was one of my favorites.


Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

The new one that I like is Saving Grace. It's Holly Hunter as a cop and my goodness, is she a mess! The acting is top-rate and the scripts are very funny and smart.

9:24 AM  

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