i’ve been doing some reading on Jack Webb’s Dragnet. Webb was notoriously driven with regards to the series, and he controlled every part that he could. What I found surprising to learn, from an interview with Harry Morgan for the Archive of American Television, was that Jack Webb choreographed the exact pacing of the dialogue through the use of teleprompters. I would never have guessed it beforehand, but knowing that and watching the show is really remarkable. It makes so much sense and really illustrates the complexity of Webb’s vision. Also somewhat surprisingly, but kind of reassuring, Morgan described him as very professional and a pleasure to work with, showing that you can be totally obsessive and insane and still a good workmate.
The interview with Morgan drives me a little nuts because the interviewer just exhausts him and doesn’t really draw any information out gradually like i would expect him to, he just shotguns Morgan with questions. The man is 90-something years old in this interview, he’s not going to remember everything as though it were yesterday, and you have to ask him questions about things he’s interested in. Get the interviewee to reminisce!
When Jack Webb died at 62 his jazz record collection numbered over 6000.