Friday, June 4, 2010


Over the years, June used to be the month in which puppets and cartoon characters were inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. I figured, hey, it's my birth month so let's have some fun. But I think from now on I may go for the theme of duos, pairs and couples to tie it all in with June's Zodiac sign of Gemini - the Twins. I'll leave the puppets and cartoon figures for March. Why not?

The original plan was to kick off this theme with the British detectives Charles Barlow and John Watt of 'Softly, Softly' and several other series. But instead I decided to stick closer to home with a different pair of detectives.


After all, thank God it's Friday, right?

Joe Friday had several partners before Bill Gannon. Back in the 1950's, he worked with Sgt. Ben Romero, Sgt. Ed Jacobs, and by an amazing bit of "coincidence", two officers named Frank Smith. Between 1959 and 1967, there may have been even more; we just never got to see them onscreen. (Maybe Joe Friday wasn't easy to work with; maybe a really bad relationship with a partner between '59 and '67 was the root cause for his demotion from lieutenant back down to sergeant.) But because of the reruns of the later color version of the show, it's Bill Gannon who's remembered best by the Trueniverse audience.

As a team, Friday and Gannon have the return of 'Dragnet' in the late 1960's, a 1969 TV movie, and through computer magic, an appearance in at least one TV commercial. Separately, they both have credits that also add to their qualifications for inclusion.


Joe Friday was the main character in the original run of the series back in the 1950's and had a theatrical film version as well, which brings that movie out of the "Cineverse" and into the realm of Toobworld. He also as a counterpart in the sketch comedy dimension of Skitlandia, thanks to a classic bit with Johnny Carson about a robbery at the Acme School Bell Company as seen on 'The Tonight Show'. But Joe Friday began "life" in the Radio Universe (really should come up with a name for that.....) where 'Dragnet' was a radio series.

As for Gannon, he also has a movie to his credit - the "Dragnet" of 1987 with Dan Aykroyd as the original Friday's nephew. (And Tom Hanks as his partner, with one of my favorite character names of all time - Pep Streebeck.) As with the 1954 "Dragnet" movie, this flick was nicked for the TV Universe. (Because of this movie, we know that Joe Friday was already dead in Toobworld, probably around the same time as the actor who played him. Jack Webb died in 1982.)

By this point in his career, Bill Gannon had been promoted to Captain. Over in the Tooniverse, Friday and Gannon were seen as FBI Agents in Springfield as seen on 'The Simpsons'. (And Harry Morgan was able to give voice to his avatar....)
And then there are the TV commercials.....

The controversy over inserting dead celebrities into blipverts to hawk a product isn't as big a deal anymore. That's why we have this commercial as part of the "official" resume for Friday and one of his earlier partners, the second Frank Smith (giving him another notch towards membership as well) ....

There was also another commercial in which they were digitally inserted into the scene. This was for Service Merchandise stores and ran during the 1996 Christmas season. Oddly, Sgt. Friday and Officer Gannon were seen in black & white with the world around them in color. That's not an odd occurrence in Toobworld - one of the characters in my Toobworld novel suffers from a colorization deficiency - but the 1960's 'Dragnet' was in color....

Those are just the facts, and as such the evidence is overwhelming: Sgt. Joe Friday and Officer Bill Gannon deserve to be in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. This time, gentlemen, the spotlight is on you!
Dun de dun dun. Dun de dun dun dunnnnn indeed.....


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