Some of you may be aware, some not, but I’m a huge Jack Webb fan. I have to blame Jack for my first real career (short lived as it was) as a cop.
I’ve embedded the Dragnet Christmas episode for your enjoyment. I try to watch it each year at this time. Lots of inside baseball stuff about this episode, I’ll spare you most of it.
Except, it bears mentioning that Jack got a bit lazy in the 1960’s when he reprised Dragnet for its second incarnation. This episode, shot for shot, actor for actor in some cases, is the same as the one he did in the 1950’s. He just reshot it in color. Watch the two sequentially some time and you’ll marvel at the audacity of the man. But it does work.
The second item is that this was not the original “Christmas” episode. That episode, done in the 1950’s was so dark and tragic that it fell out of favor. It involved the death of a young boy at the hands of his friend who’d gotten a rifle for Christmas and opened it early. That episode caused a huge outcry and was quite controversial at the time. When this episode aired, it replaced the controversial episode in people’s hearts, as it had a message of hope and joy.
The third item is that Jack was fiercely loyal and sentimental. The writer of the original episode had passed away in the interim. Jack was unable to shoot the church scenes in the original church, as it was undergoing renovation at the time he needed to film. So he paid homage to his writer by filming it at the church where the man was buried in the church cemetery. I like that kind of loyalty in a man.
If you’d like to know more about Jack, there’s several really good books out there to peruse. Thanks, Jack.