Sunday, February 14, 2010

The 'Dragnet' / Cinemasparagus Convergence

From Jack Webb's Dragnet. Episode 42: "The Big Departure" [1968]. (Transcript via —

FRIDAY: "Yeah, well, [the Pilgrims] had a few things going for them that you don't. They knew how to hunt. How to use an axe. How to build a house. Start a fire without matches and bank it at night so it wouldn't go out. You know how to do all that, of course. And you're going to grow this."

[Friday holds up a packet of asparagus seeds, which the kid claims he bought.]

MOBLEY: "Oh, yeah, I really dig fresh asparagus."

FRIDAY: "When do you think you'll eat it?"

MOBLEY: "This summer."

FRIDAY: "Asparagus takes two years. The Pilgrims could raise their own food — which you can't. And even so, half of them died the first year. But you prepared for that too, didn't you?"

MOBLEY: "I don't know what you mean."

FRIDAY: "You've got shovels."

MOBLEY: "Alright. Big deal. We're not the frontiersmen of all time. But Dennis and Paul are very bright people — mature, intelligent — "

FRIDAY: "And high-principled."

MOBLEY: "That's right."

FRIDAY: "What was that one about materialism?"

MOBLEY: "We've rejected material values."

FRIDAY: "Oh, yeah. Well, what are you going to do when the batteries run down?"

MOBLEY: "We've got a generator."

FRIDAY: "And when there's no more gas?"

MOBLEY: "Okay. So we won't listen to the radios."

WAGNER: "That's not vital!"

GANNON: "But food is. And you'll run out of it sooner than you think. Then you figure you'll start eating wild goat. Well, it's not prime rib. But maybe you'll acquire a taste for it. You'd better — three times a day."



  1. "The Big Departure": I could not breathe for 3 minutes. I found this breathtaking. Formally.

  2. It's incredible.

    Without naming names, it makes the current 'hot' American directors look like dumb assholes.

  3. "Or Is dying in a car somehow moral?""

    Again, thank you for speaking the open-sesame to this, which has everything to do with why I posted it.

    Those blinds, and that telephone.

    Both Jack Webb and Harry Morgan (via Webb) are operating here at the pinnacle of performance. They make Pacino in The Godfather look like the last-legs animal. I, for one, have never seen Morgan so great.

    And this is the best editing I've seen since Straub's Le streghe.


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