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Dragnet Radio and TV Series
Dragnet is a radio and television crime drama about the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners. The show takes its name from an actual police term, a "dragnet", meaning a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects.
Dragnet was perhaps one of the most famous and influential police dramas in media history. The series gave millions of radio and TV viewers a feel for the boredom and drudgery, as well as the danger and heroism, involved in real-life police work. Dragnet earned praise for improving the opinion of police officers.
Dragnet was created and produced by Jack Webb, who starred as Sergeant Joe Friday. Webb had starred in a few mostly short-lived radio programs, but Dragnet would make him one of the major media personalities of his era.
When television was interested in Dragnet, Jack Webb bucked the prevailing wisdom which argued that the radio staff could not adapt to the new medium. He insisted on hiring actors, writers, and production staff from the radio series to work on the television version.
The pilot for Dragnet, "The Human Bomb", which was adapted from the July 21, 1949 radio episode, aired on television on December 16, 1951 as a special presentation of the NBC program Chesterfield Sound-Off Time. It introduced the many close-ups that became Webb's famous trademark.
Television offered Webb the opportunity to increase the realism to a point unmatched by any other police program for years. Many early episodes involved cases which had been handled by the Robbery or Homicide Divisions, which was at that time located in the ground floor of the Los Angeles City Hall. Webb had his set designers precisely duplicate the office, including details such as the remnant of a notice which had been torn from the bulletin board, leaving only one corner.
He even insisted that Friday and his partner use badges in the then-unique shield shape used by LAPD. The only way to accomplish this was to have the city of Los Angeles loan actual LAPD badges, which were brought in every morning from the Office of the Chief of Police in the care of an officer who acted as technical advisor.
Here is a little trivia you may have not known, at the end of every Dragnet episode a sweaty, glistening left hand appeared, holding what would turn out to be a stamp for indenting metal; a heavy hammer struck the top of the handle of the stamp, twice, loudly; the stamp was removed to reveal the imprint "VII" over which the words "Mark" and "Limited" were superimposed on a title card, referring to Webb's production company, Mark VII Limited Productions. The hands were Webb's own, giving a signature and personal stamp to the end of the show.
If you are from the era of listening to Dragnet on the radio or remember watching it on television in the 1950's and 1960's then you probably tuned into the Red Skelton show.
When you get a chance go down memory lane by attending Brian Hoffman's Remembering Red - A Tribute to Red Skelton.
CLICK HERE or on the Show Schedule link up above to make your reservation to see the show. "Goodnight now and may God bless"
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