The story you are about to see is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
One of my favorite television shows is Dragnet. There was a revival series shot in the ’60s, but I prefer the original show that was airing while the radio program was still on the air in the early 1950s. All of them featured the fabulous Jack Webb. I discovered the old TV programs on one of those 100 TV Favorites DVD sets that are comprised of shows that have lapsed into the public domain and are sold cheaply in drug and dollar stores. There were six episodes of Dragnet on one of the disks including the episode that I have for today’s Sunday Matinee.
In this episode, Joe Friday and Frank Smith are hot on the trail of a ring of smut peddlers. Their investigation leads them to a 17-year-old high school senior played by an impossibly young Martin Milner who is selling Tijuana Bibles to the other kids. The cops brace the kid and he gives up his stock of joke books, and he tips them off to the party racket where young girls are invited to a party, get boozed up and then photographed in compromising positions. Friday and Smith talk to one of the victims played by Carolyn Jones. This is well before the Addams Family. She’s blonde, gorgeous and her eyes are enormous!
The investigation leads to an abandoned studio and a washed-up producer who was a giant in the industry before the talkies. This is where this episode gets weird. Friday and Smith talk to the suspect as he talks about the Hollywood of the old days. It seems that this slob has been reduced to peddling smut in order to scratch out an existence. The cops let him go on and on about the old days. It’s sad and interesting watching a show from Hollywood in a bygone era lament the loss of an even older Hollywood from a bygone era.
The great thing about this episode is that it’s complete with commercials. The television show along with the radio version of Dragnet were brought to you by Chesterfield!
The old perv ends up pulling a six month stretch in the hoosegow! Three hots and a cot!