austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Try a little tenderness

A couple days ago Turner Classic Movies showed Dragnet, as in the 1954 movie based on the radio and TV series. The plot was pretty much what you expect from Dragnet, with the usual level of staccato quipping, witnesses who will blather about everything except the actual question, and labored demonstrations of the use of fascinating technologies like tape recorders. Unusual in the plot are that it starts out with showing the actual crime -- some criminal-type criminals shooting another criminal-type criminal in the field -- so that the story is more one of waiting for Jack Webb to learn what everyone in the audience knew before the opening credits came up. Also this pretty normal-looking, really, mob killing is treated as the greatest, highest-pressure, most-urgent, solve-this-immediately case in the department; they even cancel all vacation time for the entire police force so Joe Friday can putter around a bit more. You don't want to let people get away with shooting one another, yes, but it's not like they were setting Light Brites around town.

My parents were out visiting friends most of the evening and came in when we were fairly close to the end. My father was somewhat interested, but just wanted to make sure he was actually watching Dragnet. He thought he kind of recognized Jack Webb, but pointed out, ``He looks like Mister Bean.'' And, good grief, but he does. This could have substantial effects on how I perceive his trying to get the woman who saw the car to stop explaining that she knew she saw the car because she had just left the department store because it closes early on Saturday, and isn't that odd, that they would close early on the Saturday when that's the only day she could take her husband down to the store, and it would be so much more convenient if they had the store open all afternoon too, but who knows why they closed at 1 pm instead. Oh, and she doesn't remember anything about the car except the one thing. The license plate.

Trivia: About two hundred books on mathematics were published in Italy during the first fifty years of European printing machines. Source: The Development of Mathematics, E T Bell.

Currently Reading: The Saga of the Pony Express, Joseph J Di Certo. I'd be more confident if it didn't keep referring to the New York Herald and Tribune. While the Herald and the Tribune did merge, it wasn't until 1924, and they were rather vicious rivals in the 19th century. And from context I can't tell whether they mean the Herald or the Tribune. While the Tribune had a much more famous weekly national edition thanks to Horace Greeley's relentless self-promotion (witness how many rectangular counties are named Tribune, Horace, or Greeley), James Gordon Bennet's Herald was no slouch either.


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