Produced 1952-59, 1967-71 by Mark VII Ltd., broadcast on NBC, each episode 30 mins.
Jack Webb in ad from Life 1955
Dragnet 1967




This noir police drama was produced by Jack Webb, derived from his 1949 radio show and the 1948 noir film He Walked By Night. it previewed on Chesterfield Sound Off Time in December 1951. Sgt. Friday's original sidekick was Barton Yarborough on radio and the preview, but he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1952, and was followed by four other actor/sidekicks. It was broadcast on NBC from January 3, 1952, to January 1953 alternating on Thursday nights with Gangbusters, then weekly on Thursday nights from January 1953 to September 1958, and on Tuesday night from September 1958 to June 1959, and on Sunday night July to September 1959, and on Thursday nights June 1967 to September 1970. It was known for its realism, based on cases from the files of the LA Police Department, shot on location in the streets of LA and on a reproduction of the interior of police headquarters. It used factual and unemotional dialogue: "All we want are the facts, ma'am" (not "just the facts, ma'ma") and "Book him on a 358." The episode "The Big Seventeen" in 1952 dealt with teenage drug use, a favorite topic of Jack Webb's series. The episode "The Big Little Jesus" was NBC's first half-hour color broadcast, on December 24,1953. Warner Bros. made the feature film Dragnet in 1954 starring Jack Webb and Ben Alexander. NBC made the telemovie Dragnet 1966 starring Jack Webb and Harry Morgan. The series was reborn on ABC in 2003 with Ed O'Neill as Joe Friday and Ethan Embry as his partner Frank Smith.


revised 4/12/03 by Schoenherr | Filmnotes