“You could see somebody used her badly… like a dictionary in a stupid family.”… Pat Novak
Enjoying the long weekend… translated as being exceptionally lazy when I should be working, on my anthology book. Good news is the stuff is all plotted out, all 48 pages. Bad news is finding artists to do the work, has been a bit on the difficult side.
So it looks, very much, like I’m going to have to take on the art chores.
Joy, oh Joy.
So I’m procrastinating and generally lounging around, and catching up on a lot of great entertainment.
High on the list of what I’m enjoying today, is an audio drama from the late 1940s called PAT NOVAK and starring (mostly) the great Jack Webb and Raymond Burr.
“I slid down like an old sock on a bony leg”.. Pat Novak
Absolutely astonishing, astonishing programs. Here’s an overview, I threw together a while back, on this MUST HAVE series:
The great joy of Old Time Radio is discovering new, and brilliant shows(ironic huh?). This series is case in point. I thought I had heard the best of hard boiled radio noir with RICHARD DIAMOND; and then I heard this series starring, directed and (I think) written by Jack Webb and also starring the great Raymond Burr as the sometimes brutal Detective Hellman, and I knew that I had only heard the suburbs of cool, and now here I was in the big city (to paraphrase Alan Moore). This is a simply outstanding series that is immensely listenable. Crackerjack lines and metaphors, and rapid fire acting makes this a series I listen to constantly. This was a short lived series, only a little over two dozen episodes were made, Jack Webb thankfully starred in the pilot in 46 and all the shows in 49 when the show went national.
Another actor, Ben Morris voiced the role for the few episodes done in 47. With a more somber, worn voice, he does a good job, but cannot match the rapid fire delivery and punch Jack Webb brought to the role. Ben’s Pat Novak is more reminiscent of the strong arm and conventional Philip Marlowe, but for the best of the best; grab the Jack Webb/Raymond Burr episodes.
All that said, I can see why this series did not last on Radio. In many episodes it’s way too convoluted to make complete sense of, with just one listen, you need a rewind button handy. And a couple episodes, even listened to multiple times, such as THE GAMBLING RING; still don’t make that much sense.
But convoluted episodes aside, a must listen show. Here are a few reviews from yours truly:
PN_461124_Dixie_Gillian– The earliest Pat Novak episode, done by Jack Webb, I assume this was done as a pilot for the series. A great intro to the character, as Pat is hired by a beautiful woman to scare off a man called Dixie Gillian. And murder comes after. Sets the tone for later episodes. Remade in 49, and the remake is better, they change a few of the lines, Raymond Burr is in the 49 episode, and Pat by this time has grown into the role and gives a more violent passionate reading. The only portion of this episode noticeably better than the remake is the part when Hellman goes over the side. Both episodes are great though and recommended. A.
PN_490416- Dixie Gillian– Jack Webb is the bloody man. He delivers these hard boiled lines in rapid fire succession, simply amazing, hilarious, and hardboiled lines. A+.
PN_490306_Fleet_Lady– Great episode about a Jockey hiring Novak to find his missing horse! Goes from the ridiculous to the sublime and back again. Laugh out loud brilliant lines! A. ”Did the horse shoot back?”
Do a Scroogle search (www.scroogle.org), and you’ll find any number of sellers with collections of PAT NOVAK. About 23 episodes total. Also pick up JIM KELLEY’S BLUES a later sister show to this, starring the same actors (but throwing in Jack Webb’s well known love for Jazz), only six of those shows are known to have survived…. and they are absolutely worth the hunting down. Radio at its absolute best.