Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, September 26, 2020


T.V. Picture Stories, a British comic book, mined popular television shows for its content.  Each issue presented an episode of a television show, sometimes American (Sheriff of Cochise, Highway Patrol) and sometimes British, such as this issue.

Dixon of Dock Green was a long-running BBC show that ran from July 9, 1955 to May 1, 1976.  Over 430 episodes were produced, the vast majority of which are missing.  The show featured Jack Warner as the sympathetic Constable George Dixon of the fictional Dock Green police station in London's East End.  It concentrated on the daily life of the station and usually involved petty offenses rather than violent crimes.  The show was created by playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Ted Willis (later Baron Willis), who based the program on the 1950 film The Blue Lamp, a police procedural in which PC Dixon is killed.  Willis, who did the original treatment for the film with Jan Reid, resurrected Dixon for the television show when the BBC, about to face competition from the newly formed the Independent Television network of commercial stations, wanted a program about "everyday stories of a London policeman."  Running for twenty-one years, Warner played George Dixon into his 80s.

"A Whiff of Garlic" aired on October 11, 1958.  The program no longer exists in the BBC Archives.

The weekend is beginning and it looks to be a busy time for the Dock Green station.  Dixon is concerned about his daughter, who is married to a policeman on duty that night; Dixon does not like the idea of her being alone.  She decides to visit a friend who is about a ten minute walk away.  Meanwhile, things are heating up at the station.  A drunk is arrested who claims it is all the policemen who are drunk, Dixon shoos off a couple of kids making out near the front of  jewelry store.  A lady reports seeing a naked man in the bushes.  A man in the drunk tank is repeatedly singing, "She's only a bird in a gilded cage."  And a young girl is attacked walking home from a dance; she managed to get away but is truly shaken.  Andy, Dixon's son-in-law, is now worried about his wife -- she would be walking in the same area as the attack on her way to see her friend.  A couple of phone calls show that she had left her friend's house and should be home by now, although no one is answering the phone there.  A female sergeant volunteers to walk though the area as bait for the attacker.  She gets jumped but the officers following her were not able to catch the man, who (the woman said) had a whiff of garlic about him.  Since Dixon knows his beat and its people so well he has a pretty good idea of who the attacker might be.  SPOILER!  He nabs the guy.  END OF SPOILER!

Okay.  Everything ends well.  Kinda.  But where in hell is Mary, Dixon's daughter.  Remember her?  The girl they couldn't find?  She evidently dropped off the plot line and was forgotten.  Although Dixon and Andy -- Mary's husband -- were very fretful at the beginning of the story, and even more so when they could not locate her, at the end of the story everybody seems happy and sanguine, especially avuncular old Dixon.  But the story ends Mary-less and nobody seems to give a damn.  Well.  Except me.  Grrr.


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