Bring Dragnet Home!

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 Dragnet (2 DVD + video iPod ready disc)

 Dragnet, Vol. 2

 Dragnet, Vol. 3

 Dragnet, Vol. 4

 Dragnet, Vol. 5

 Dragnet:Vol 6 Classic TV

 Dragnet - Volumes 1-6 (6-DVD)

 Dragnet 1967 - Season 1

 My Name's Friday : The Unauthorized but True Story of Dragnet and the Films of Jack Webb

 The Badge: True and Terrifying Crime Stories That Could Not Be Presented on TV, from the Creator and Star of Dragnet

 Dragnet (Old-Time Radio Blockbusters 1-Hour Collections)


Show Type: Police Drama

First Telecast: January 3, 1952

Last Telecast: September 10, 1970

Theme Music: "Dragnet" (also known as "Dragnet March and "Danger Ahead"), by Walter Schumann

Broadcast History:

January 1952 - December 1955, Thursday 9:00-9:30 on NBC

January 1956 - September 1958, Thursday 8:30-9:00 on NBC

September 1958 - June 1959, Tuesday 7:30-8:00 on NBC

July 1959 - September 1959, Sunday 8:30-9:00 on NBC

January 1967 - September 1970, Thursday 9:30-10:00 on NBC


Sergeant Joe Friday..... Jack Webb

Sergeant Ben Romero (1951)..... Barton Yarborough

Sergeant Ed Jacobs (1952)..... Barney Phillips

Officer Frank Smith (1952)..... Herb Ellis

Officer Frank Smith (1953-1959)..... Ben Alexander

Officer Bill Gannon (1967-1970)..... Harry Morgan


Dragnet was probably the most successful police series in the history of television. By providing the prototype of the realistic action show, it marked a major turning point for a medium that had, for its first few years, been dominated by comedy and vaudeville. Dragnet's hallmark was its appearance of realism, from the documentary-style narration by Joe Friday, to the cases drawn from the files of a real police department (Los Angeles, which provided the locale), to its careful attention to the details of police work (It was 3:55... We were working the day watch out of homicide"). Viewers were reminded of the unglamorous dead ends and the constant interruptions of their private lives that plague real policemen, and this made the final shoot-out and capture of the criminal all the more exciting. At the end of each episode, after the criminal was apprehended, an announcer would describe what happened at the subsequent trial and the severity of the sentence.

The concept, as created by laconic actor-director Jack Webb, caught on immediately, perhaps because it stood out so sharply against the police-private eye caricatures then on the air. Dragnet became an enormous hit. Its catchphrases and devices became national bywords and were widely satirized. There was Webb's terse "My name's Friday - I'm a cop," and "Just the facts, ma'am"; the jargon - the criminal's "M.O." "Book him on a 358" - and, of course, that arresting theme music, with possibly the most famous four-note introduction since Beethoven's Fifth Symphony ("Dum-de-dum-dum"). Music was an important part of Dragnet's success, even aside from the theme. It was laced throughout every episode, dark and tension-filled, then erupting in a loud, sudden "stinger" after an especially significant revelation or denouncement. In fact, Dragnet inspired two hit records in 1953: a recording of the theme music by Ray Anthony and His Orchestra, and the hilarious "St. George and the Dragonet" by Stan Freberg - probably the only parody of a current TV series ever to sell a million copies and reach number-one on the hit parade. (The record's opening intoned, "The legend you are about to hear is true; only the needle should be changed to protect the record...").

Dragnet began on radio in 1949 and, after a special TV preview on Chesterfield Sound Off Time in December 1951, opened its official TV  run on January 3, 1952. Friday's partner in the preview was played by Barton Yarborough, of the radio series. He died suddenly of a heart attack a few days after the telecast, and four actors subsequently portrayed Friday's sidekick: Barney Phillips in the spring of 1952; Herb Ellis in the fall; Ben Alexander for the remainder of the seven-and-a-half-year original run, and Harry Morgan for the revival in 1967-1970.

During most of its first 12 months on the air, Dragnet ran every other Thursday alternating with Gangbusters, another transplanted radio police show. From January of 1953 until 1959, it was a weekly series. In 1967, after a hiatus of more than seven years, it returned to the air under the slightly modified title Dragnet '67, to distinguish it from the reruns of the original series still being played on many stations. (Reruns were also known as Badge 714, after Friday's badge number). Jack Webb returned to the role of Friday but with a new partner, Officer Bill Gannon. The format was essentially the same as the original Dragnet but there was somewhat stronger emphasis on the non-crime aspects of police work, such as community involvement and helping individuals in trouble.