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Original One out of Seven header art

The One Out of Seven Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> One Out of Seven


Jack Webb's performance throughout One Out of Seven was a one-man tour de force
Jack Webb's performance throughout One Out of Seven was a one-man tour de force


The new NBC--KPO--KGO building on Taylor and O'Farrell Streets. Dubbed NBC Radio City upon its completion

The new NBC--KPO--KGO building onTaylor and O'Farrell Streets. Dubbed NBC Radio City upon its completion April 26 1942, it was home to all three stations for several years. The name Radio City was soon supplanted by NBC's Radio City in Hollywood. Most of NBC's productions of the 1940s and beyond were moved to Holly-wood's NBC Radio City and the spanking new NBC Radio City in San Francisco remain-ed mostly unused--and un-occupied--until 1967.


KGO became an ABC Key station after the break up of NBC's Blue and Red networks. KGO aired the entire seven-program run of One Out of Seven
KGO became an ABC Key station after the break up of NBC's Blue and Red networks. KGO aired the entire seven-program run of One Out of Seven






Disgraced Senator Theodor Bilbo reading from his book
Disgraced Senator Theodor Bilbo reading from his book



Episode No. 4 addressed National Brotherhood Week
Episode No. 4 addressed National Brotherhood Week



The deadly deliveries of the Enola Gay and Bockscar over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the backdrop to Episode No. 6
The deadly deliveries of the Enola Gay and Bockscar over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the backdrop to Episode No. 6



Recent memories of the bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki (above) fueled the then growing national debate about the possibility of a Third World War
Recent memories of the bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki (above) fueled the then growing national debate about the possibility of a Third World War

Background

Brilliant young San Francisco Bay area writer, actor, director and producer, Jack Webb, found himself casting about for Radio vehicles right, left and center during 1946. Working with others at KGO Radio, San Francisco, Webb had struck up a working partnership with writers Jim Moser and Dick Breen and producer Gil Doud. The four allies obviously found equal sparks of creativity between each other and Jack Webb, in particular was full of new ideas for potential Radio features for the Bay Area.

Webb and Breen had been roommates in San Francisco during the mid-1940s after both had returned home from World War II. Jack Webb had been a B-26 Marauder crewmember in the Army Air Forces and Breen had served his hitch in the Navy. Jack Webb had been born and raised in Depression-era Santa Monica, California; Breen was born and raised in Depression-era Chicago. Doud, Moser, Breen and Webb were all 20-somethings trying to make their break into Bay Area Radio--Webb as a performer and writer, Breen, Doud and Moser as writers and directors.

During 1946 alone, the four of them developed the following Radio features:

  • 1946 (February) One Out of Seven (Webb as Narrator and performer; written by Jim Moser; produced by Gil Doud)
  • 1946 (March) Great Caesar's Ghost [Audition] (Webb as Announcer)
  • 1946 (March) The Jack Webb Show (Starring Jack Webb; written and directed by Dick Breen)
  • 1946 (August) Pat Novak . . . for Hire for Gallenkamp Shoes (Jack Webb as Pat Novak)

Three of the Four Young Lions take a stab at a commentary

Jack Webb's first solo outing was in One Out of Seven, which premiered over ABC's KGO on February 6, 1946. Airing on Wednesday evenings at 9 p.m. throughout the Bay Area, the series was a commentary on one of the seven most interesting or compelling wire service stories to surface for that week.

As the opener for each episode portentously announced:

"24 hours make a day. Seven days make one week. And from these past seven days, the Editors here in our San Francisco newsroom have chosen the one story which they have judged "most worthy of retelling." This is 'One Out of Seven'! "

And indeed, Jack Webb both prefaced and closed each broadcast with the following disclaimer:

"The material and direct quotations included within the following program have been taken from authoritative files and from dispatches filed by the Associated Press and International News Service. We present these statements without editorial comment. We assume no responsibility for their content."

A prudent disclaimer indeed, given the potentially volatile premiere story: an exposé of the 'honorable' Senator Theodore Gilmore Bilbo, arguably one of the most blatantly racist members of the United States Senate of his era. In six brilliantly biting and caustic vignettes or 'pictures', narrator--and performer--Jack Webb paints a damningly accurate portrayal of the hypocritcal, racist Senator from Mississippi. Throughout the entire seven episodes of One Out of Seven, Jack Webb portrays every character himself.

As to the veracity of his first of seven exposés, we've done some fact checking of our own:

So, indeed, Jack Webb's portrait of the 'honorable' Senator Theodore Gilmore Bilbo was entirely accurate. And indeed, Jack Webb hadn't needed to editorialize. Senator Bilbo had been condemned out of his own mouth. Of the remaining circulating episodes of One Out of Seven we know that Webb performed an early equivalent of a '60 Minutes' type of exposé of three more topics: national observance of 'Brotherhood Week', contemplation of a Third World War, and the then current state of the 'Equality' - a most wonderful thing.

This was pretty heady, gritty, gutsy stuff in 1946 America. Our comparison with 60 Minutes is entirely intentional. These were important investigative exposés of explosive and divisive social dilemmas of post-World War II America. Webb was no Pollyanna. He'd served heroically as B-26 crewmember during World War II. He knew first-hand the devastation his own B-26 Marauder could deliver, let alone that meted out by the two B-29 Superfortresses, Enola Gay and Bockscar, over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively.

Jim Moser's scripts were bitingly realistic, incisive, and compelling. Each script framed Webb's topical newspiece of the evening, while adhering strictly to then current wire service dispatches of the era. The underscore for each circulating epsiode is perfectly suited to the material and a tribute to Otto Clair, the series' musical director.

If the series was mounted only to provide a showcase of Jack Webb's range and depth as a performer, it surely succeeded. But we're more inclined to believe that Jack Webb, Jim Moser and Gil Doud saw One Out of Seven as something even grander. And indeed it was far more than a 15-minute prime time filler. It was never pretentious or overbearing. One gets the impression that the series' collaborators were shooting for something quite the opposite. More along the lines of the subtlety of a sledge-hammer, but delivered in a thoughtful, concise, well developed manner.

It's a shame it was discontinued. The circulating exemplars are as compelling as any social commentary of the era--and beyond. And even more sadly, we don't seem to have progressed very far beyond the at least four examples of One Out of Seven's selected commentaries during the ensuing 64 years.

Jack Webb's range in portraying all of the series' characterizations was a tour de force. One can't help but wonder the natural 'what if' regarding this gem of a mini-documentary series. Now if the last three episodes would turn up. . . .

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Social Retrospectives
Network(s): ABC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 46-02-06 01 Senator Theodore Bilbo Is An Honorable Man
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 46-02-06 to 46-03-20; KGO [ABC]; Seven, 15-minute programs; Wednesday nights, 9 p.m.
Syndication: None
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s): Gil Doud [Producer]
Principal Actors: Jack Webb
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): None
Writer(s) James Edward Moser
Music Direction: Otto Clair [Composer/Conductor/Organist]; Joseph James [baritone]
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Mark Jordan, John Galbraith.
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
7
Episodes in Circulation: 4
Total Episodes in Collection: 4
Provenances:

RadioGOLDINdex; Hickerson Guide; Robert L. Fleegler, Spring 2006, The Journal of Mississippi History.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.


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[Date, title, and episode column annotations in
red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]







The One Out of Seven Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
46-02-06
1
Senator Bilbo Is An Honorable Man
Y
46-02-06 San Mateo Times
9 P.M. KGO--One Out of Seven
46-02-13
2
Title Unknown
N
46-02-13 San Mateo Times
9 P.M. KGO--One Out of Seven
46-02-20
3
Title Unknown
N
46-02-20 San Mateo Times
9 P.M. KGO--One Out of Seven
46-02-27
4
National Brotherhood Week
Y
46-02-27 San Mateo Times
9 P.M. KGO--One Out of Seven
46-03-06
5
Title Unknown
N
46-03-06 San Mateo Times
9 P.M. KGO--One Out of Seven

46-03-06 Hayward Review
9:00 P.M.—KGO— 1 Out of 7
46-03-13
6
The Coming Third World War
Y
46-03-13 San Mateo Times
9 P.M. KGO--One Out of Seven

46-03-13 Hayward Review
9:00 P.M.—KGO— 1 Out of 7
46-03-20
7
Equality - A Most Wonderful Thing
Y
46-03-20 San Mateo Times
9 P.M. KGO--One Out of Seven
46-03-27
--
--
--






The One Out of Seven Radio Program Biographies




John Randolph 'Jack' Webb
(Narrator/Performer)

Radio, Stage, Screen and Television Actor, Radio Disc Jockey, Recording Artist, Producer, Director, and Writer
(1920-1982)

Birthplace: Santa Monica, CA

Education: Belmont High School, Los Angeles, CA

Radiography:
1945 The Little Man Inside
1946 Spotlight Playhouse
1946 The Jack Webb Show
1946 Are These Our Children?
1946 One Out of Seven
1947 The New Adventures Of Michael Shayne
1947 Johnny Madero, Pier 23
1947 Suspense
1948 Murder and Mr Malone
1948 Escape
1948 The Whistler
1948 Ellery Queen
1948 Jeff Regan, Investigator
1948 Errand Of Mercy
1948 Guest Star
1948 The Anacin Hollywood Star Theatre
1949 Three For Adventure
1949 Pat Novak For Hire
1949 Dragnet
1949 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1950 Family Theatre
1950 Night Beat
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1951 Pete Kelly's Blues
1953 The Martin and Lewis Show
1953 The Bob Hope Show
1959 Hollywood Salutes the National Guard
1963 Weekend Sound Flights
1969 The Charlie Greer Show
1969 Special Delivery: Vietnam
Three For Adventure

Mark VII, Limited Productions:

Mark VII Logo, 1953

1951-1959 Dragnet
1956-1957 Noah's Ark
1959 The D.A.'s Man
1959 Pete Kelly's Blues
1962-1963 General Electric 'TRUE'
1967-1970 Dragnet
1968-1975 Adam-12
1971-1972 The D.A.
1971-1972 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury
1972-1979 Emergency!
1972-1974 Hec Ramsey
1973 Escape
1973-1974 Chase
1974 Sierra
1975 Mobile One
1978-1979 Project UFO


August 16, 1951 Article on Jack Webb's Work Ethic
August 16, 1951 Article on Jack Webb's Work Ethic


Jack Webb ca. 1955
Jack Webb ca. 1955

Jack Webb (lower right) at Belmont High School ca. 1938
Jack Webb (lower right) at Belmont High School ca. 1938

Jack Webb ca. 1948
Jack Webb ca. 1948

Jack Webb as Joe Friday, ca. 1951
Jack Webb as Joe Friday ca. 1951

Jack Webb, providing direction to Ella Fitzgerald, ca 1954
Jack Webb, providing direction to Ella Fitzgerald, ca 1954

Jack Webb and first wife famed Jazz songstress, Julie London ca 1955
Jack Webb and first wife famed Jazz songstress, Julie London ca 1955

Jack Webb at home with his first daughter, Stacey ca. 1953
Jack Webb at home with his first daughter, Stacey ca. 1953

Jack Webb, reading a script on set, ca 1953
Jack Webb, reading a script on set, ca. 1953

Webb, with Peggy Lee and George Jessel at 1953 Cerebral Palsy Fund Raiser
Webb, with Peggy Lee and George Jessel at 1953 Cerebral Palsy Fund Raiser

Ben Alexander and Jack Webb confer in the Radio studio for Dragnet, ca. 1953

Ben Alexander and Jack Webb confer in the Radio studio for Dragnet, ca. 1953

Jack Webb, resting on a lighting board for the production set of Pete Kelly's Blues, ca. 1955
Jack Webb, resting on a lighting board for the production set of Pete Kelly's Blues, ca. 1955

Jack Webb, ca. 1965
Jack Webb, ca. 1965
Born in Santa Monica, California, on April 2, 1920, Jack Webb's father had already left home before his birth and Jack Webb would never know him. John Randolph Webb was raised by his mother and maternal grandmother amidst the poverty immediately preceding the Great Depression.

To make matters worse, Webb suffered from acute asthma from the age of six until his death, despite a cigarette intake that often reached three packs a day throughout his adulthood. Even as a young man, Jack Webb's great passion was movies, and he dreamed of one day directing them. His other passion--Jazz, was the gift of an ex-jazz performer who lived in Webb's Bunker Hill, L.A. apartment building. He gave Webb an LP of the legendary Bix Beiderbecke, the first of over 6,000 jazz recordings Jack Webb would collect over his lifetime.

Jack Webb served in the U.S. Army Air Forces as a crewmember of a B-26 Marauder medium bomber during World War II. Upon receiving his discharge, he relocated to San Francisco, working first as a late night disc jockey, then starring in his own radio show, The Jack Webb Show (1946), a half-hour comedy that aired on the West Coast over ABC Radio.

His first acting roles in Radio were in San Francisco-based Monte Masters' Spotlight Playhouse (1946) performing with Masters' wife Natalie Park (later of Candy Matson fame), 1947's The New Adventures of Michael Shayne, and his own Johnny Madero, Pier 23. He would later spin off his Johnny Madero character into Pat Novak for Hire and Jeff Regan, Detective before he refined his crime drama sights to the more realistic and subdued Joe Friday character in Dragnet. Most notable--and personal--of his early projects was One Out of Seven (1946) in which Webb performed all the voices, attacking many social ills of the era, including race prejudice, corrupt politicians, and Red-baiting.

Jack Webb had an extraordinary ear for the 'throwaway line' most often associated with the work of Raymond Chandler. But it was Webb's genius for drolly and cynically delivering those Chandleresque lines, that made every radio program he recorded during that era some of the most often revisited recordings among Golden Age Radio collectors. Nevermind the fact that he was bouncing those memorable, hard-boiled retorts off of the likes of Raymond Burr, William Conrad, Wilms Herbert, Tudor Owen, Herb Butterfield--and yes, even the famous Carlisle Bibbers. Webb's influence continued throughout most of the radio noir genre detective and crime dramas that followed, even though Webb's own Joe Friday character never uttered a Chandleresque line himself during any of the iterations of Dragnet that followed.

Indeed it was a small role as a crime lab technician in the film noir classic He Walked by Night (1948) that led him to the creation of "Dragnet." Dragnet first aired over NBC radio on June 3, 1949, and moved to TV ("Dragnet" (1951)) on December 16, 1951, where it ran until September 1959. Webb also appeared in the famous Billy Wilder film, Sunset Boulevard (1950) as William Holden's energetic best friend. But it was the influence of the gritty, hyper-realistic He Walked By Night, that linked Webb to Detective Sergeant Marty Wynn of the Los Angeles Police Department. Wynn was a technical consultant for He Walked By Night, and with Wynn's assistance--and entre to legendary LAPD Chief William H. Parker--that Webb mapped out the pains-taking, hyper-realistic model for Dragnet.

Dragnet's ground-breaking influence was being felt in both Radio and Television. Webb's star continued rising fast, and the 1950s saw him become a film director, directing (and starring in) five features: Dragnet (1954), Pete Kelly's Blues (1955), The D.I. (1957), -30- (1959), and The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961). Webb's famous--or infamous--attention to the minutest details made him a natural behind the camera, but his last two directorial outings were box office flops.

Jack Webb's personal life was also arcing from the mid-1940s through the 1950s. He met and married beautiful Jazz songstress and actress Julie London, in 1947. The couple had two daughters, Stacey (1950) and Alisa (1952) and Webb was a doting father, albeit greatly compromised for quality time throughout what came to be the most active and demanding years of his professional life.

The compromises inevitably took their toll, and the couple divorced in 1953. Webb would marry three more times during his life; to Dorothy Towne (2 years), Jackie Loughery (6 years), and Opal Wright (2 years). After his divorce from Jackie Loughery in 1964, Webb would remain single until he married Opal Wright in 1980, just two years before his sudden heart attack just before Christmas of 1982.

Webb's return to Television in 1962 led to his appointment as Head of Production for Warner Bros. Television in February 1963. Webb had taken over from William T. Orr as executive producer of the hit ABC detective series 77 Sunset Strip (1958). Webb demanded wholesale changes in the program, retaining only Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., in the role of Stuart Bailey from the previous rotating ensemble cast of Zimbalist, Ed Byrnes, Roger Smith, Louis Quinn, Jaqueline Beer, and Richard Long. The result was a predictable disaster. Its ratings plummeted, and Warner Bros. canceled the Webb-helmed series midway into its sixth season. Apart from the poor box office showing of Webb's two previous films, Webb's reputation as one of Hollywood's wunderkind had continued to rise. The loss of his position with Warner Bros. was the first significant stumble of Webb's career

Following two years of unemployment--and reflection, Universal Studios invited Webb to do a new Dragnet as a TV movie. The result so pleased NBC and Universal that they offered Webb a new Dragnet series--Dragnet 1967. The new, updated series was an almost instant hit, and Dragnet 1967 ran for three seasons, followed by over ten years in syndication. Webb leveraged Dragnet 1967's success into a second hit, Adam-12 (1968), which gave both Jack Webb and his Mark VII, Limited production company a new lease on life. Webb's success developing new television programs with Mark VII continued through the 1970s, right up until the time of his unexpected passing in 1982. Webb's daughter Stacy tragically died in an automobile accident in 1996.

Jack Webb was a tireless champion of both social justice and the peace officers he so respected throughout his adult life. Jack Webb's mark in Radio influenced hundreds of other productions throughout the 1940s and 1950s. His influence on Television is felt to this day.

But for his Radio fans, his body of work--and its far-reaching influence--carries on, generation after generation through the magic of The Golden Age of Radio and the wonderful recordings we've managed to preserve from the era.

Rest In Peace, Detective Sergeant Friday




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