Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jack Webb, 1920-1982

Jack Webb, the man best known for playing Sgt. Joe Friday on the TV series Dragnet, was born on this day in 1920. Webb was a movie actor before making the movie to play Joe Friday. Indeed, the genesis for Dragnet came from one of Webb's earliest movies, He Walked By Night. It's a police procedural in which Webb has a small role as a police lab technician, but from this movie, the idea was made to bring a series of police procedural dramatizations to radio, which is what became Dragnet. Dragnet, of course, became enormously popular, spawning the 1950s TV series; a revival in the late 1960s with Webb; two more TV versions, in 1989 and the early 2000s; and at least two movies, the first of which was made in 1954 and starred Webb himself.

Webb did do other work, however. Perhaps the most interesting place you can watch him is as the young assistant director friend of writer William Holden in Sunset Blvd.

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