Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just the Facts

Today I finished Michael Hayde's My Name's Friday: The Unauthorized but True Story of Dragnet and the Films of Jack Webb. I can't honestly recommend the book as great reading; the book suffers both from colorless minutia and regrettable preponderance of cliché-ridden prose. Moreover, I came away with little more insight into the mind of Jack Webb than when I started. But, to be fair, Hayde did not attempt a true biography; his book simply offers a chronology of the rapid rise of the hard working radio and television visionary -- who, in his early years, was compared to Orson Wells -- concluding with the auteur's sad transformation into pop culture detritus. I can only imagine what it would have been like to amble into the Cock 'n' Bull restaurant on Sunset Strip, spotting Jack Webb holding court with any of his various hangers-on willing to match him scotch for scotch. And now I can hardly find a rerun of Dragnet even on Nick at Nite. But as I've written before, I have a soft spot for the man who wore Badge 714. For that reason, I worked through Hayde's well detailed description of Webb's radio, film, television, "music," and production career, even though the book really did provide "just the facts."

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