Black SplatDragnet (TV Series 1967-70)
   

"Now you listen to me, you gutter-mouth punk!"

Dragnet - Joe Friday lectures a child molester

Description: The stern voice of LAPD Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) putting a criminal in his place on an episode of the police drama DRAGNET/NBC/1967-69.

Normally, Joe Friday was interested in “Just the Facts” but occasionally, some low-life got his dandruff up and he laid into them with the fervor of preacher delivering a fire-and brimstone sermon on Sunday. On this occasion, Joe growls:

"Now you listen to me, you gutter-mouth punk! I’ve dealt with you before, and every time I did, it took me a month to wash off the filth. I’ll tell you what you did to that four-year old girl out in Westlake Park: you staked out a bench like you’ve always done. You bought a sack of penny candy; you waited until the right little girl came along...You got her in your car. She started to cry; you hit her across the mouth twice. You cut her lip with your ring. Knocked out three of her teeth. And then you know what you did to her... Now, I didn’t say that, Rockwell, you did. That’s exactly what you told those officers who arrested you. They advised you of your constitutional rights before you opened your mouth. Now you’re trying to tell us you didn’t understand. Well, you’re a liar... Like every hoodlum since Cain up through Capone, you’ve learned to hide behind some quirk in the law. And mister, you are a two-bit hoodlum. You’ve fallen twice for ADW Burglary, three times. Twice for forcible rape; I tagged you for those. And now you’ve graduated—you’ve moved to the sewer. You’re a child molester. And this isn't the first time. We've had you in here before. And mister, you were guilty then and you're guilty now!"

It wasn't always gutter-mough punks that got under Joe Friday's skin. Once, the actions of a fellow police officer got Joe going and he angrily said:

"We could've piled up a hundred years of great policemen and great detectives: men with honor and brains and guts. You tore down every best part of them. The people who read it in the papers, they're gonna overlook the fact that WE got you; that we washed our own laundry and we cleared this thing up. They're gonna overlook all the good. They'll overlook every last good cop in the country. But they'll remember YOU. Because you're a bad cop."

In the defense of "Good Cops" Friday delivered this explanation to a potential recruit to the LAPD police force.

"It's awkward having a policeman around the house. Friend drops in - a man with a badge answers the door. The temperature drops 20 degrees. You throw a party and that badge gets in the ways. All of the sudden there isn't a straignt man in the crowd. Everybody's a comedian. ‘Don't drink too much’. Some body says ‘or the man with the badge will run you in.’ Or ‘How's it going, Dick Tracy? How many jaywalkers did you pinch today.’ And then there always the one who wants to know how many apples you stole. All at once, you lost your first name. You’re a cop, a flatfoot, a bull, a dick, John Law, you're the fuzz, the heat, you're poison, you're trouble, you’re bad news. They call you everything…but never a policeman."

Note: The gutter-mouth punk" speech appeared on the World Premiere TV movie pilot Dragnet 1966 - filmed in 1966 but broadcast in 1969. The plot follows Sgt. Joe Friday who is called back from vacation to work with his partner, Off. Bill Gannon on a missing persons case concerning two female models and a young war widow who have vanished.

The DRAGNET series originated on NBC radio and ran from 1949 to 1957. The series came to TV and had three different versions. The 1951-57; 1967-70 version starrred Joe Friday as Sgt. Friday. The 1989-90 series revival THE NEW DRAGNET starred Jeff Osterhage as Det. Vic Daniels. The 2003-04 version L.A. DRAGNET featured Ed O'Neill as Lt. Joe Friday.

There was also a 1987 Dragnet movie starring Dan Aykroyd as Sgt. Joe Friday and Tom Hanks as his partner, Det. Pep Streebek.

The DRAGNET series was known for two famous opening lines:

"Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent."

"This is the city: Los Angeles, California. I work here. I'm a cop" (or "My name's Friday. I carry a badge.")

Sgt. Friday's famous catchphrase "Just the facts, ma'am" was never heard on the series in that format. The closest phrasology: "All we want are the facts, ma'am."

The phrase "Just the Facts" was used in Stan Freberg's short 1953 audio satire "St. George and the Dragonet" (a spoof of the DRAGNET series).


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