Dragnet: James Vickers (EP4250)

Today’s Mystery:

Friday and Romero have to find out why a man shot down a traffic cop.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: September 17, 1949

Originating from Hollywood

Starring: Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday; Barton Yarborough as Sergeant Ben Romero; Raymond Burr as Ed Backstrand, Chief of Detectives; Harry Morgan; Herb Vigrand

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  1 comment for “Dragnet: James Vickers (EP4250)”

    December 3, 2023 at 10:11 am

    In the Vickers Dragnet episode, Friday was nonchalantly teaching Romero how to play Canasta.
    The game was popular in the fifties and sixties. We spent many rainy afternoons down the Jersey Shore, stuck on the front porch of the bungalow, playing Canasta and wishing we were on the beach.

    It’s a 2-deck rummy game. Draw two, discard one. No sequences allowed, but the goal is to acquire seven of a kind, a “canasta”. More points if you don’t use twos or joker wild cards. If you want the top card from the discard pile, you have to take the entire pile. This can run to ten or twenty cards toward the end of the game.
    Place sets of, say, four Jacks on the Tableau before you. Add another three Jacks or wild cards to the set and it becomes a Canasta and is moved to the side with the red threes, to be counted later.

    Scoring comes in two phases, the Base, which give points for the number of Canastas, more if there are no wild cards used, for red threes, and bonuses for “going out” (either playing or discarding your last card).

    Then comes the Meld, where you gather all the cards on your tableau and score fours through sevens as 5 and eight through Kings count 10. Aces and deuces count 20 and as Friday explained, Jokers are worth 50.
    Cards left in your hand when someone else goes out are deducted from your total.

    The game requires a score pad keeping a running total between games. A major challenge for a child is holding fifteen, twenty, maybe thirty cards in their small hands. The gameplay is not too difficult for them and teaches sorting cards, finding matching sets, planning to collect Aces, deception of sibling and parent opponents.

    You’re all smiles when someone discards a Queen and you pick it up and lay down the six Queens you’ve been secretly holding in your hand, just waiting for this moment, racking them up and moving the stack to the side as a completed natural Canasta.

    The reckoning at the end of each hand is a fun exercise in Accountancy and Bookkeeping. Not too complicated and easier than computing 10% of your total worth as a penalty in Monopoly.

    It is a rite of passage when a child can finally riffle-shuffle two decks at once.
    Canasta is a pleasant pastime, a way of passing the time and distracting the kids while waiting for the rain to stop.

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