Pat Novak: For hire. "Agnes Bolton" (4 June 1949). I keep saying this, but nobody listens: Jack Webb was a hell of a writer. For a while. In PN:FH he plays a private dick on the Frisco (as natives call it) waterfront who makes ends meet, some shows imply, by selling bait. Opening lines to this show:
Around here a set of morals won't cause any more stir than Mother's Day in an orphanage. Maybe that's not good, but that's the way it is. And it wouldn't do any good to build a church down here, because some guy would muscle in and start cutting the wine with wood alcohol . . .Pat's not a happy guy, 'cause 1) he gets the shit kicked out of him roughly twice an episode; and 2) nobody appreciates his hard-boiled similes.
Okay, one more quotidian: "She was at least fifty, because you can't get that ugly without years of practice. She was wearing a green woolen dress and her figure wasn't any worse than a bale of cotton somebody's cut the wire on. Her fat hung down from her arms and there was so much of it you knew even her bones were plump . . ."
Not exactly PC, huh? Hard to figure how Webb, so talented, became a humorless law-and-order robot on Dragnet (the TV series).