Jack Webb

  1. Juano Hernandez, The Breaking Point, 1949.    For the re-tread of  To Have and Have Not, John Garfield suggested his (literal) mate should be black – and beefed up. Like  Bogie in 1944, Garfield’s “boat jockey (it’s all I know)” was called Harry Morgan.. Sam Peckinpah once declared: “This may surprise you, but I admire Michael Curtiz. Especially The Breaking Point.”
  2. John Vernon, Animal House, 1978.    Loud-mouth director  John Landis first hoped for US TV’s (still) most famous cop,  Dragnet‘s Joe Friday,  and Kim Novak  as Dean and Mrs Wormer. On Jack’s death, Friday’s badge number, 714, was officially retired by the LAPD.
  3. Leslie Nielsen,  Airplane!, 1979.  “And don’t call me Shirley!”  Directors David and Jerry Zucker (with Jim Abrahams) sent up overly serious movies by dubbing their own improvised dialogue.  When they  caught Zero Hour! – a 1957 film about an ex-WWII pilot landing a stricken passenger flight – they thought: “Why don’t we recreate the whole thing?” Thus, Airplane’s conception. They wrote it as a comedy for non-comics, a concept so new that no one understood it. Except Paramount’s Michael Eisner. Various actors, including Vincent Price and Dragnet’s Jack Webb, refused Dr Rumack, which made a whole new star out of Nielsen, a longtime character man. “His  timing was impeccable. He was born to do comedy but was trapped in serious roles for years.” “We told the actors to pretend that they didn’t know they were in a comedy. Said co-star Robert Stack: “I get it – we’re the joke!”


 Birth year: 1920Death year: 1982Other name: Casting Calls:  3