Amoeblog

A look at Crime Correspondent

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 8, 2014 10:48am | Post a Comment
The overwhelming success of Dragnet -- surely the greatest police procedural on radio -- predictably led to the creation of several similar programs. Dragnet's network, NBC, offered several more twists on the genre. Perhaps the best was Tales of the Texas Rangers which sounds as if it might be a juvenile western but was actually an excellent Texas-set police (or Ranger) procedural. Confession, was a fascinating and too-short-lived criminal procedural that dramatized true crimes from the perspectives of the convicted. 


Crime Correspondent


NBC's network 
CBS somewhat successfully countered with The Line Up (a procedural set in New York City), 21st Precinct (another New York procedural), and the absolutely fascinating Night Watch -- one of the first unscripted "reality" shows in which a police recorder rode with Culver City PD to the scenes of actual crimes. Someone recently told me about another CBS crime drama of which I hadn't heard, Crime Correspondent. I was intrigued.

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Grand Tour of the Northeast and Quebec -- a snapshot of Albany

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 3, 2014 02:29pm | Post a Comment
I recently took a sort of Grand Tour of the Northeastern United States and Quebec with Una. Before the trip I'd only been in the region once before when I spent a few days in and around Princeton and New York City during Yuletide a few years ago. I returned for the occasion of my sister's graduation but used the opportunity to explore the surrounding region by train. One of the city's that we visited was Albany.

Albany, New York postcard


Most of the places we visited we spent a substantial amount of time exploring. Visiting Albany, on the other hand, was a last minute decision. Wanting to visit Vermont we purchased tickets for the Ethan Allen Express to Rutland, Vermont. When the Amtrak board at Penn Station failed to list any Vermont trains, I approached an Amtrak employee and said, "May I ask you a question?" She said nothing but her face grew red and she visibly clenched her jaw so I inquired about the train to Vermont. In an unpleasant tone accompanied by an eye roll she stated, without looking at me, "I don't know why they'd sell you a ticket to Vermont when no train goes there." We returned to the ticket counter where a more helpful employee issued us a partial refund and informed us that we could take the Adironack Line to Albany so to Albany we went.

Unrecognized South Asia: An introduction to the Tripuri people

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 25, 2014 11:47am | Post a Comment
India is home to over 1.21 billion people, roughly 18% of entire human population. Indians speak Austroasiatic, Dravidian, Indo-European, and Tibeto-Burman languages (as well as two language isolates) and there are over 2,000 ethnic groups in the vast country. India's considerable diversity, however, tends to be simplified or overlooked in the west, where Hindi language Bollywood cinema becomes metonymic for the entire Indian film industry and North Indian cooking (rather than being subdivided into Awadhi, Bihari, Bhojpuri, Kumauni, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Rajasthani, or Uttarpradeshi) becomes shorthand for the cuisine of an entire subcontinent.


*****


Tripuri kids

THE TRIPURI

One of the less-widely recognized or discussed ethnic groups in India are the Tripuri (also known as the Tipra or Tipperah). They are believed to have migrated from somewhere in Western China to the Brahmaputra Valley at least 2,000 years ago -- which may sound like a long time ago but is relatively recent in a subcontinent believed to have been first settled by humans at least 70,000 years ago and another hominid species, Homo heidelbergensis, perhaps as many as 800,000 years before them. 

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A look at the Lyon's Eye -- Jeff Regan, Investigator

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 18, 2014 04:12pm | Post a Comment

Jeff Regan, Investigator is a fine, hardboiled detective/radio noir series from the 1940s. Today it's perhaps best-remembered as Jack Webb's last role before Dragnet. After his departure, it continued with Frank Graham filling Webb's formidable (gum)shoes until his untimely death. 




*****

Jack WebbJeff Regan, Investigator debuted on CBS with the title Joe Canto, Private Eye on 10 July, 1948 with Barton Yarborough starring as Canto. The first episode, "Doctor, Lawyer and Indian Chief" was rerun a week after its initial airing with the new title of Jeff Regan, Private Eye. During its short run it would variously be referred to in print as Jeff Regan, Jeff Regan Det., and Jeff Regan Detective in addition to its proper title. Webb took over the role of Regan in the second episode, "The Prodigal Daughter" after which Yarborough continued to occasionally appear as Canto. 

Webb and his roommate/creative partner, Richard L. Breen, had made names for themselves on the west coast and within radio circles with Pat Novak...for Hire (1946) produced by San Francisco's KGO. After quitting that show and relocating to Los Angeles, the two created its near clone, Johnny Madero, Pier 23 (1947) which aired nationally, on the Mutual Network. However, Johnny Madero was a summer replacement series and did not continue after its short season. After freelancing for a spell, Webb was approached by CBS about creating a new series, which led to the creation of Jeff Regan.

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This one's about the Blues, Pete Kelly's Blues

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 12, 2014 01:40pm | Post a Comment

Today Jack Webb is best remembered for his portrayal of Detective Sergeant Joe Friday on the radio and television series Dragnet. Friday – a stiff, slouching, robotic cop who chain smokes as he rails against drug abuse – embodies for many folks the definition of a hypocrite and a square. However, the real Webb was also quite the hepcat, an amateur jazz musician with a massive collection of records. In addition to playing hard-boiled detectives, he also used radio to attack social injustices (on One out of Seven) and, with Pete Kelly's Blues, indulge his lifelong love of jazz and Chandler-esque noir.
 

Pete Kelly's Blues lobby card
Pete Kelly's Blues lobby card

Pete Kelly's Blues began as an unsponsored replacement series for The Halls of Ivy after a 13 February audition. It debuted on NBC on 4 July, 1951 and aired on Wednesday nights in most markets (Saturdays in others). It was created by Richard L. Breen, who'd previously worked with Webb on the wonderful and not-at-all dissimilar radio noir series, Pat Novak, for Hire, which Webb had left in 1947. Throughout the series' short run, Webb continued to star on both the radio version of Dragnet, which ran from 1949 until 1957, and the television version, which began a few months after Pete Kelly's Blues and continued to air until in its first run until 1959).

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