Pepsi Madness! The Puritanical Ghost of Jack Webb lives on at NBC

“Marijuana is the flame, heroin is the fuse, LSD is the bomb. So don’t you try to equate liquor with marijuana, mister, not with me.” — Jack Webb as Joe Friday in a memorable episode of Dragnet, set in Los Angeles of 1968.


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Oh how we rolled our eyes at some of Joe Friday’s more hectoring speeches on Dragnet. Even Webb and Harry Morgan referred to them as “The Jesus Speech;” they were even delivered, appropriately enough in these days of Obama on your shoulder, via Webb reading from an early teleprompter.

While almost everyone at today’s NBC would laugh at the rhetoric from the 1960s-incarnation of Dragnet, Webb should just NBC his old network now! At least Joe Friday was worried about legitimately dangerous substances such as smack and acid; but look how deeply the Nanny State has sunk its claws into every day life in recent years.

So let’s leave 1968, and flash-forward to 2010. Proposition 19 may make ditchweed legal in California, and even Newsweek is running articles attempting to make “The Conservative Case for Legalizing Pot.”

Meanwhile though, would-be 21st century Carry Nations have Mr. Pibb firmly in their sights, based on an exchange on Law & Order: SVU that, as with much of the rhetoric from the Puritanical Left will hopefully seem as camp in 40 years as much of Joe Friday’s dialogue these days:


Davy’s Mother: Davy was 12 when he took his life. I tried to make him stop with the cola.  But he was addicted to it.
Det. Benson [slowly, with furrowed brow]: Soda made him kill himself.
Davy’s Mother: I collected all the research. High-fructose corn syrup can make you obese. And obesity can make you depressed.
Det. Benson: And depression can lead to suicide.*

RC Cola is the flame, Mountain Dew is the fuse, Jolt Cola is the bomb. So don’t you try to equate marijuana with Coca-Cola, mister, not with me. And don’t even get me started on bottled water and air-conditioning, you capitalist Tea Party punk!

* I know how incredibly arch it reads, but I assume it’s transcribed accurately. It certainly matches the plot description and this clip from the episode on Hulu.


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