The Big Badge & Jack's Split Personality

Mar 16, 2020

By Valerie Massie

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Sgt Joe Friday is about to take on a tour of his duties protecting the citizens of Los Angeles. The role is beautifully acted by Jack Webb who as well is the producer of the Dragnet series. Dragnet is perhaps the most famous and influential police procedural drama in media history. The series gave audience members a feel for the boredom and drudgery, as well as the danger and heroism, of police work.The program earned praise for improving the public opinion of police officers. Jack Webb’s aims in Dragnet were for realism and unpretentious acting. He achieved both goals, and Dragnet remains a key influence on subsequent police dramas in many media. The show’s cultural impact is such that after seven decades, elements of Dragnet are familiar to those who have never seen or heard the program. The ominous, four-note introduction to the brass and tympani theme music, composed by Walter Schumann, is instantly recognizable.

And stay tuned for the the old skin-flint himself, Jack Benny. Of course, as part of his acting mystic, he claimed to be 39 years old. He continued with this practice until he passed away at age 80 on December 26, 1974. The Jack Benny estate was worth $5,852,000 in 1974. That’s equal to $30 million in today’s inflation-adjusted dollars. Pretty good for a guy who began to study the violin at the age six, and his “ineptness” at it, would later become his trademark. Tonight we hear about Jack having a split personality.

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