"She sauntered in, moving slowly from side to side like a hundred and eighteen pounds of warm smoke."
In the journey from B-26 crewman and amateur Jazzman to Sgt Joe Friday, Pat Novak for Hire is an important milestone. Novak does not have the legitimacy that Dragnet would gain with its association with the Los Angeles Police Department. He isn’t a cop, not even a full time detective, but he is more “hard-boiled” that Friday with his “Just the facts” demeanor. Pat Novak is just a guy who runs a boat shop on Pier 19 on San Francisco’s rough and tumble waterfront.
The location is as much of a character in the program as Novak himself. It is a natural setting, Jack Webb and his writing partner, Richard Breen were establishing their credibility at KGO, the former Blue Network and now ABC West coast affiliate in San Francisco. The program typically opens with Novak’s footsteps echoing as he walks along the foggy pier (foghorns moaning in the background) and we hear Webb saying “Sure, I’m Pat Novak… For Hire”. In the best hard-boiled/pulp detective tradition, Novak narrates the story as well as plays in it. A mysterious stranger asks Novak to help solve a problem, usually a problem on the shady side of legitimacy. When Novak accepts the job, we will follow him as he meets a seductive dame or two (either a damsel in need of rescue or a femme-fatale, trouble either way), runs into a few underworld figures who do not have Pat’s best interest at heart, and eventually a body. Police Inspector Hellman, played by Raymond Burr, will show up and threaten to run Novak in for the murder, which Novak will use his threatened freedom to solving. Along the way, Novak turns to his friend and supposed mentor, Jocko Madigan, for help. Jocko, played by Tudor Owen, a doctor who has drank his way into retirement, offers a booze-addled form of wisdom and surprisingly reliable help. By the end of the episode, Novak will have tied up the loose ends and dispensed more than a few pithy observations before we hear him walking down the pier again, and telling us that “Hellman had only question…” Naturally, Novak provides the answer dripping with hard-boiled irony.
Pat Novak for Hire launched on KGO in August 1946 as “The Gallenkamp Shoe Show”, and Gallenkamp’s Good Shoes supported the program with press ads featuring the image of Miss America 1946, UCLA grad Marilyn Burferd. Whether Miss America actually heard the program before lending her praise is debatable, but Gallenkamp had problems of their own with a labor strike and a public relations nightmare. The shoe store dropped their sponsorship after their 52-week contract and Webb and Breen were hired by Mutual in Los Angeles to create Johnny Modero, Pier 23, a very direct rip-off of Pat Novak. KGO kept Novak as a sustained program for the 1947 season using another actor. Webb resumed the role in 1949 when ABC took the program nation-wide from their Hollywood Studios.
- Radio Shows
Please enjoy these 24 old time radio episodes:
+ ABC Pacific net, KGO, San Francisco origination. Sponsored by: Gallenkamp's Shoes. Beautiful Lee U...
|08.03.1947||john brown gambling ring||
+ ABC net, KGO, San Francisco origination. A weasel named John Brown hires Pat to be his bodyguard ...
+ ABC Pacific net, KGO, San Francisco origination. The neighbor of a man found dead in his apartmen...
|11.23.1947||the linda reynolds case||
+ ABC Pacific net, KGO, San Francisco origination. Lydia Reynolds, a wealthy but insane young lady,...
|11.30.1947||death in harold square||
+ ABC Pacific net, KGO, San Francisco aircheck. Pat becomes an apartment sitter, but senses a $10,0...
|02.20.1949||jack of clubs||
+ ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination. The second show of the second series with Jack Webb. $100...
+ ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination. Possibly a rehearsal recording or unedited tape, recorded...
+ Program #2. ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination, AFRS rebroadcast. A dead horse named "Fleet La...
|03.13.1949||rubin callaways pictures||
+ Program #5. ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination, AFRS rebroadcast. A dying man in the harbor na...
+ ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination. A double-fix in a prize fight with Rory malone, with all ...
|03.27.1949||joe candono blackmail pictures||
+ Program #1. ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination, AFRS rebroadcast. The story of a waterfront ch...
|04.02.1949||escape from prison||
+ Program #3. ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination, AFRS rebroadcast. A priest puts Pat on the tra...
+ Program #10. ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination, AFRS rebroadcast. The wrong shirt leads Novak...
|04.16.1949||go away dixie gillian||
+ Program #6. ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination, AFRS rebroadcast. Pat is hired to scare Dixie ...
+ Program #7. ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination, AFRS rebroadcast. A corpse in one of Novak's b...
|04.30.1949||watch wendy morris||
+ Program #9. ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination, AFRS rebroadcast. Pat tries to watch a beautif...
|05.07.1949||shirt mix up||
+ On his way down to the pool house Pat Novak stopped by the laundry to pick up a couple of shirts. ...
+ Pat Nokak was approached by a woman in a bar who gave him $50 to go to a flower stand tomorrow at ...
|05.21.1949||give envelope to john st john||
+ As Pat Novak leaves his office an old man is mowed down by a car on the corner of the street. Pat ...
|06.04.1949||agnes bolton case||
+ It's a rainy Wednesday afternoon. Pat closes the office early and goes to the barber's. Whilst ha...
+ Pat hadn’t seen Georgie for a year but when he got home that evening she was waiting for him. Sh...
+ ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination. Joe Dineen dies in Novak's apartment. What's in his safe ...
|06.19.1949||the only way to make friends is to die||
+ Program #15. ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination, AFRS rebroadcast. Who killed Joe Dineen, and ...
|06.26.1949||little jake siegel||
+ ABC net, KECA, Los Angeles origination, AFRS rebroadcast. A fast-paced underworld story. Jake Sega...
Other "Crime" Shows you may enjoy:
- Battle For Inspector West
- My Name Is Adam Kain
- Lord Weejie And Miss Duck
- Johnny Madero
- True adventures of junior g men