Saturday, November 30, 2019

DRAGNET 1968 : THE STARLET

Season 2
Episode 20

Original Air Date Feb. 1 1968

"We've seen her stills"
"Not these kind...."



"It was Wed, May 9th. It was warm in Los Angeles"
"We were working the day watch out of Juvenile Division"
"The boss is Capt. Morris"


     By the second season of Webb's late 60's Dragnet revival it began to fall into a pattern of a light-hearted episode followed by a couple more serious minded which were usually dire warnings of succumbing to vice or the horrors inflicted on society by the counterculture. Running at 9:30PM EST on Thur it did well in ratings and NBC was probably pleased with the show as far as the low production cost with Webb's use of stock and/or previously used footage along with his quick no-nonsense approach to filming. 
    Proceeded by one of the series more comedic episodes THE BIG AMATEUR, it's follow-up THE STARLET remains one of the darker ones and one of the few times a dead body was actually shown in the series. Sharp-eyed viewers will also spot the same group of Sunset Blvd. footage that was used in The LSD Story and there's some great views of the LAPD's porn stash at Parker Center. 
   One again working out of Juvenile Division, Friday and Gannon are altered to the presence of a 16-year old runaway from Medford, OR. who came to L.A. to break into movies. The young girl named Patty Lee Bundy is reported missing by her aunt (played by character actress Amzie Strickland who passed away in 2006 with 268 (!!) acting credits to her name) and Friday and Gannon are told she's been seen in "one of those psychedelic places" (or psychopathic as the Aunt says) on Sunset. Heading over to The Flower Pot (a hippie espresso shop) they question Jo-Elle, a young hippie girl played by a cute as heck JoAnne Harris from THE BEGUILED and ACT OF VENGEANCE in one of her first speaking roles.



    Getting a tip from Jo-Elle that Patty Lee "has fallen into a thing... you know a movie thing.." the trail leads them to part-time actress Eva Graham (Susan Seaforth - who was on THE GUIDING LIGHT for about sixty years) which in turn leads them to the discovery that the Bundy girl has fallen into the porno movie racket. Along the way we visit Detective Shaidell & Dectective Sgt. Zabel (Webb regulars Leonard Stone & Robert Patten) of  the Vice Dept., who fill Friday and Gannon in on all the ins and outs of the smut racket ("You name it...We got it... Books, magazines, Tijuana bibles, films, stills, devices...") and meet up with a porn director played by 40's "B" leading man Lyle Talbot.
   Climaxing with Friday giving one of his patented in-your-face lectures to Talbot followed by the discovery of Patty's body at a seedy rooming house where they learn she OD'd on reds while listening to jazz music on a phonograph. As mentioned this is one of the more downbeat episodes of the color series and makes a nice companion to the shows 1954 B&W episode The Big Producer with future ADAM-12 star Martin Milner as a teenager pushing dirty books at his high school.



Porn evidence room !!


Lyle Talbot as shifty porn director. You can tell he's slimy by the sloppily knotted garish tie



Cool shot of a pre-restored Hollywood Sign


This establishing shot of Parker Center showed up in about every episode

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