RARA-AVIS: Procedurals continued

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 02 Jan 2003

In a message dated 1/2/03 4:04:15 AM Eastern Standard Time, Jim writes:

<< One correction. The "dum-de-dum-dum" music was
 alleged to have been cribbed not from THE NAKED CITY,
 but from another Hellinger-produced crime film, THE
 KILLERS. Walter Schumann, the composer of the DRAGNET
 theme, was working at Universal at the time THE
 KILLERS was being shot, and it was alleged in a
 lawsuit that, Schumann, perhaps unconsciously, had
 copied that memorable four-note intro from THE
 KILLER's musical theme, "Danger Ahead." From that
 point on singles of the DRAGNET theme were sold under
 the title of "Danger Ahead," and the composers of THE
 KILLERS music got a cut.

I really need to let a post "cool" and then reread it for bonehead mistakes like the above. You are exactly right, Jim. I know that and can only imagine that my aging brain was tripped by the fact that Mark Hellinger produced both "The Killers" and "The Naked City." My apologies. It does provide me with the opportunity to say that Hellinger's contributions to film and our subset were powerful. Including the two above mentioned classics, the former newspaper columnist was associate producer on "The Roaring Twenties," "They Drive By Night," "High Sierra" and he also produced "Brute Force."

Certainly the movie Webb worked on and met the technical advisors was a greater influence. I've read the excellent book on "Dragnet" and talked to the writer at our old time radio club here in DC. Nothing influences the future like a big money hit. "He Walks By Night" was well received by critics but "The Naked City" was a mega-hit in 1948. In that same year, another major movie success was "Call Northside 777" starring Jimmy Stewart that featured a similar semi-documentary style. So granted the greater impact on Webb of "Night" I think the popularity of this style of story-telling as demonstrated by the big hits had to be an influence on the overall entertainment industry as well as to some extent on Webb.

My apologies for the music mistake and also for making the impact of "The Naked City" so specific to "Dragnet."

Richard Moore

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