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4 More things to know about Jack Webb (Part Deux in a series)

After the color reincarnation of Dragnet had exhausted its run, TV genius Jack Webb decided there were plenty of stories to be mined from the day-to-day exploits of the average cop on patrol duty. Thus was the genesis for Adam-12, which premiered in 1968 and ran for seven seasons. (ed. note: if you haven't checked out Kara's terrific post on Jack Webb and Dragnet, be sure to read it here)

1. How Adam-12 got the name

The title of the show was inspired by the official LAPD designation for a two-man patrol car, "Adam." Each car was also assigned a numeral that described its patrol area. When it came time to name his new show, Webb simply recited a litany of consecutive numbers ("Adam 1, Adam 2, Adam 3" etc.) until he decided that "Adam-12" had just the right sound. The voice heard intoning that call sign on the radio in every episode was Shaaron Claridge, who was an actual police dispatcher at LAPD's Van Nuys division.

2. Keepin' it Real

Webb made sure that the equipment and procedures on Adam-12 were as true to life as possible. Reed and Malloy's patrol car switched from a Plymouth Belvedere to a Plymouth Satellite and finally to an AMC Matador as did the LAPD fleet.

Arrest procedures were changed to keep step with actual police protocol "“ from having suspects put their hands behind their backs, to putting them behind their heads, to having them lay face down, hands spread out to their sides. And in the earliest episodes, Malloy and Reed wore long sleeved-shirts no matter how hot and humid the weather. This, too, was based in reality: LAPD's Chief Parker was a stickler for professionalism (he despised tattoos) and believed that fully-covering long sleeves and neckties were the only proper uniform for a police officer.

3. Six Degrees of Nepotism

Picture 6.png There was no dearth of nepotism in the land of Jack Webb. Kent McCord played high school football with Ricky Nelson, which helped him earn a recurring role on Rick's TV series, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. When McCord later landed the role of Officer Jim Reed on Adam-12, the favor was repaid when Nelson's wife, Kristin Harmon, was cast as Reed's wife.

Hollingsworth Morse directed many episodes of Dragnet and Adam-12, and he convinced Jack Webb to audition his friend, Gary Crosby. Bing's son impressed Webb enough that he took on the recurring role of resident obnoxious smart-aleck Officer Ed Wells on Adam-12. And Jack Webb also graciously gave his ex-wife Julie London, along with her new husband Bobby Troup, starring roles on Emergency!

4. If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

The Adam-12 formula had proven so successful that Jack Webb didn't tinker with it when casting Emergency! Kevin Tighe was hired to play Roy DeSoto, the veteran firefighter/paramedic who took rookie Johnny Gage (Randolph Mantooth) under his wing at the beginning of the series. The dark-haired, handsome Mantooth bore a striking resemblance to Kent McCord's Jim Reed, but Tighe's naturally auburn hair had to be bleached strawberry blond in the early seasons so that his look was more reminiscent of Milner's Pete Malloy. By the final season, Tighe was allowed to let his locks return to their natural darker color.

>MORE TV TRIVIA YA' OUGHT TO KNOW:
Randy Mantooth had a brief run as a teenage pin-up until his attorneys sent cease-and-desist orders to 16 and Tiger Beat magazines; it seems Mantooth thought teen idol-dom would derail his career as a serious actor.

Gary Crosby wrote a tell-all "Daddy Dearest"-type book in 1983 detailing the physical and emotional abuse he and his brothers were subjected to by Der Bingle. It was titled Going My Own Way.

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John P. Johnson, HBO
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literature
Charles Dickens Wrote His Own Version of Westworld in the 1830s
John P. Johnson, HBO
John P. Johnson, HBO

Charles Dickens never fully devoted himself to science fiction, but if he had, his work might have looked something like the present-day HBO series Westworld. As The Conversation reports, the author explored a very similar premise to the show in The Mudfrog Papers, a collection of sketches that originally appeared in the magazine Bentley's Miscellany between 1837 and 1838.

In the story "Full Report of the Second Meeting of the Mudfog Association for the Advancement of Everything," a scientist describes his plan for a park where rich young men can take out their aggression on "automaton figures." In Dickens's story, the opportunity to pursue those cruel urges is the park's main appeal. The theme park in Westworld may have been founded with a slightly less cynical vision, but it has a similar outcome. Guests can live out their heroic fantasies, but if they have darker impulses, they can act on those as well.

Instead of sending guests back in time, Dickens's attraction presents visitors with a place very similar to their own home. According to the scientist's pitch, the idyllic, Victorian scene contains roads, bridges, and small villages in a walled-off space at least 10 miles wide. Each feature is designed for destruction, including cheap gas lamps made of real glass. It's populated with robot cops, cab drivers, and elderly women who, when beaten, produce “groans, mingled with entreaties for mercy, thus rendering the illusion complete, and the enjoyment perfect.”

There are no consequences for harming the hosts in Westworld, but the guests at Dickens's park are at least sent to a mock trial for their crimes. However, rather than paying for their misbehavior, the hooligans always earn the mercy of an automated judge—Dickens's allegory for how the law favors the rich and privileged in the real world.

As for the Victorian-era automatons gaining sentience and overthrowing their tormenters? Dickens never got that far. But who knows where he would have taken it given a two-season HBO deal.

[h/t The Conversation]

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LEGO Ideas
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This Fresh Prince of Bel-Air LEGO Set Could Become a Reality
LEGO Ideas
LEGO Ideas

One talented LEGO fan wants to make a The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air set, but the Banks family needs your votes to turn it into a reality.

LEGO Ideas user Bricky_Brick has designed a set consisting of the Banks' living room and seven minifigures: Will Smith; Uncle Phil; Aunt Vivian; cousins Carlton, Hilary, and Ashley Banks; and Geoffrey Butler. Appropriately enough, the Will figure is mid-laugh and equipped with a basketball. So far, the set has just 176 supporters. That's a long way to go before it reaches its goal of 10,000, at which point it will be judged by the LEGO Review Board. If selected, it could be turned into a real product. Fans have 409 days remaining to vote.

TV show-themed LEGO Ideas submissions have been successful in the past: Doctor Who and Adventure Time designs have become official sets after they blew up on the internet. Hitting 10,000 by no means guarantees LEGO will approve an idea, however. A set inspired by The Office reached the mark in 2017 but was rejected in the review stage.

See more of Bricky_Brick's Fresh Prince set below—and don't forget to vote.

Fresh Prince LEGOs
LEGO Ideas

Fresh Prince LEGOs
LEGO Ideas

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