Rethinking the Songs of My Youth: "City of Crime" Edition

There are many reasons why there will always be a place in my heart for "Dragnet." First, I think it's a good movie, and I watch it just about every time it comes on TV. Of course, I've only recently stopped watching every episode of "Boy Meets World" on TV, so maybe that's not such an impressive accomplishment for the creators of "Dragnet." I imagine they'll take what they can get at this point, though.

Second, it's got my all-time favorite character name--Emil Muzz (portrayed winningly by Jack O' Halloran). If I ever become so famous that I have to check into hotels under an assumed name, you, the crafty and attractive Tinsel and Rot reader, will be able to find me by asking around for Emil Muzz.

Third, I like the TV show the movie pays tribute to (and lovingly mocks) almost as much as the movie. If you ever get the chance to see the "Blue Boy" episode of the TV show (actual episode title: "The LSD Story"), you will find what might be the greatest half-hour program ever on TV. I tried finding it on YouTube, but it was a rare instance where YouTube failed. You can buy it on iTunes, though. It'll only cost $1.99, which is a helluva bargain. I'm gonna buy it as soon as I get done writing this.

Fourth, "Dragnet" was the only movie my dad ever took me to, and it took a lot of pleading to make that happen. And it's not because my dad didn't like hanging out with me (I think); he just didn't like going to the movies. At all. I know of only three movies he saw in a movie theater after my birth ("Goodfellas" and "Titanic" were the other two). So, getting him to take me to the Saturday night showing of "Dragnet" at the Fairview Cinema in Hudson, New York, in the summer of 1987 is really one of my major life accomplishments. (Trivia Note: I saw another revered classic, "My Blue Heaven," in that same theater, which solidifies its status as one of the most important movie theaters ever.) I couldn't tell if he enjoyed the movie all that much, but I know he liked the TV show just fine. So I reckon he at least dug that Gannon (Harry Morgan, Colonel Potter from "M*A*S*H," one of my dad's all-time fave shows) was in the movie.

And, finally, "Dragnet" will always hold a place in my heart because of the big hit off the soundtrack, the Dan Aykroyd/Tom Hanks rap duet (with help from Deep Purple's Glenn Hughes) on "City of Crime." And that song was the reason I bought--I mean, made my dad buy me--the LP of the soundtrack (from the Strawberries three doors down from the Fairview Cinema) even though there was only one side of actual songs (Side B just had selections from the score, which fell well short of an Academy Award). The songs on Side A were no great shakes either, featuring Patti LaBelle's "Just the Facts" and New Edition's "Helplessly in Love," which weren't exactly career highlights for either artist.

But it didn't matter, so long as the soundtrack had "City of Crime." I loved that damn song. And I think I kinda still do. Which is why I'm glad YouTube (and mjsamps, whoever you are) didn't let me down when it came time to find the video for it. The dancing clearly makes the song even better. I bet Tom Hanks watches this every day.

I feel much better about this than the Jermaine Stewart thing. I don't know if I should, but I do.

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