Tag Archives: Dragnet

A ghostly princess: Old-time radio listening, 20 October

Quiet, Please: Pavane, the Girl with the Flaxen Hair (Mutual, 1947)

The Princess de Polignac, patron and muse of Ravel, inadvertent inspiration for a classic Quiet, Please . . . and an heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune. (Photo: Possibly public domain.)

Ravel composed Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess) in 1899, while studying at the Conservatoire de Paris, and dedicated it to the Princess de Polignac—known otherwise as Winnaretta Singer, a lesbian in a chaste but (in the context of her time) peculiarly loving marriage to the homosexual Prince Edmond de Polignac, who shared her passion for music . . . and an heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune, who used her portion of it to sponsor serious music, other arts, and sciences for the rest of her life, following her husband’s death in 1901.

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Twelve children and an iron will: Old-time radio listening, 19 October

The CBS Radio Workshop: The Legend of Annie Christmas (CBS, 1956)

Amanda Randolph brings the mythological Annie Christmas to staggering life . . . (Photo: CBS)

A New Orleans legend of a tall tale that once inspired generations of black children, and possibly no few white children, is given an unforgettable radio treatment tonight.

Picking up where the legendary Columbia Workshop left off several years earlier, The CBS Radio Workshop may be destined for a single season. If it may have arrived too late to rescue network radio from its irrevocable fadeaway, its transcendent bicoastal efforts—the series alternates weeks between East Coast and West Coast productions—produce numerous highlights including and especially “The Legend of Annie Christmas.”

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Making a composite: Old-time radio listening, 5 October

Dragnet: The Big 38 (NBC, 1950)

Jack Webb, at the height of Dragnet‘s radio life . . .

It’s taken Jack Webb a year to develop and get Dragnet on the air in the first place, but getting what he wants for the show is anything but easy.

The sober actor best known as the title waterfront detective in Pat Novak, leaving that show as it was hitting stride, Webb was impressed when working on a film, He Walked at Night, and getting to know Los Angeles police sergeant Martin Wynn, the film’s technical advisor. When Webb discovered Wynn shared through experience what he believed by instinct—that police life and investigative work was its own kind of drama, without the over-the-top embellishments typical of crime dramas on radio and in film—Dragnet was inseminated.

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The killing pitch: Old-time radio listening, 28 September

The Columbia Workshop: The Day Baseball Died (CBS, 1946)

Santos Ortega presides over a court hearing after a too-revolutionary pitch . . . (Photo: CBS)

I’m not entirely certain that only this series could have dreamed up an absurdist fantasy such as tonight’s offering—in which a World Series is decided on a pitch considered so revolutionary and dangerously unhittable that the Series ends with an umpire’s ruling that triggers a swarming fan riot that triggers a court inquiry and a Congressional investigation into whether the pitch should be allowed to kill the game once and for all.

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