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23Apr/113

Broadway’s My Beat in the 21st Century

Many old time radio shows made their way to television. In the 21st Century, are we ready for one more?

Broadway's My Beat was one of the finest radio detective dramas and an underrated one at that. It aired from 1949-53, and again in the Summer of 1954. It was written by Mort Fine and David Friedkin. Friedkin and Fine went on to produce the 1960s TV hit, I Spy. Broadway's My Beat has remained little more than a forgotten gem in radio history.

Fast forward to 2010 and Gregory Friedkin (David's son) produced a pilot for a television adaptation of, Broadway's My Beat with the series transported from New York to Los Angeles, with references to "Broadway" rewritten as references to "The Boulevard," which is also the title of the new series, set in 1953. The episode was posted online, so I got a chance to take a peak.

The pilot episode that's been released has a very noirish feel to it as Danny Clover (played by Jon Jacobs) searches for the kidnapped wife of a bank teller before the case becomes a murder investigation.

The music helps to establish a fittingly haunting mood for the story and they manage to make most of the scenes look old enough to be in the 1950s. Jon Jacobs was far older than I imagined Clover to be. Larry Thor, who voiced Clover on the radio was 33-38 during the show's run. Jacobs appears to be in his 50s.

Jacobs, does however do a solid performance as Clover. His voice is perfect for the part. If anything, his age tends to add a bit of credibility to the world-weariness of Clover.

If the pilot has a weakness, it was the performance of some of the supporting actors. Michael Wayne James was too hammy in the role of the missing woman's husband. Give Friedkin and Jacobs a good cast and I think this could be a solid program.

Of course, whether it will make it remains an open question. If the writers keep to adapting Broadway's my Beat episodes, it will most likely end up a half hour TV-PG rated period cop show. They don't make them like that anymore. Still, over the years I've learned is that there's a demand for this type of program.

Of course, Friedkin may want to write new Danny Clover cases that could be stretched to an hour. It could be done with actual Broadway is My Beat episodes being mixed with originals. It could definitely work.

Whether Friedkin can a right network and get them to realize the potential for this show t is an open question. Either way, I wish him well.

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Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. This is very interesting–thanks for linking to this, Adam! It was a little startling to see an older Danny Clover, as I usually pictured him in his 30’s, but I liked the portrayal. I agree about the hamminess of the actor playing the woman’s husband, especially in the later incident (it probably would have fit better with the first incident. Sorry I’m being so vague but I’m afraid of spoiling the episode for anyone who reads the comments first.)

    If they do pick up the show I hope they do more with Sgt. Tartaglia, or maybe a different actor or interpretation. He seemed kind of stiff using them, though–there wasn’t the human, slightly comical touch that Charles Calvert had. I would hope they’d have him talking about his family more.

    I’d think they could add things to original episodes to make them fit the hour-long format, and write new episodes to fit with the 1950s.

    I wonder if a 1950’s L.A. police lieutenant would have looked as casual as Danny did in this–the guys in Dragnet always were all buttoned up with their ties fastened securely and hats on most of the time, and their hair neatly combed. But whether or not Jon Jacobs attire was authentic to the times, it really fits Danny Clover, who seemed like he probably slept at the office several nights a week.

    Anyway, it would be cool if this got picked up by a network.

    Love your Great Detectives and Dragnet podcasts and all the background information you’re providing on your blogs!!

  2. Thanks for the comment and for avoiding spoilers.

  3. I’m excited to hear about the new B.I.M.B. resurrection and would love to see it, but I don’t know how to access it…can you help me out? Thanks!


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