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Dragnet

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Dragnet tv seriesTentatively added to NBC's Thursday-night schedule on alternate weeks in December of 1951, the TV version of the long-running radio cop series Dragnet soon not only matched the popularity of its radio predecessor, but surpassed it in spectacular fashion.

Jack Webb, of course, starred in both the radio and TV adaptations as Los Angeles police sergeant Joe Friday, with Barton Yarborough likewise repeating his radio role as Friday's partner, Sgt. Ben Romero. The opening episode, "The Human Bomb," was like virtually every other TV installment to come adapted from a radio script, with Webb fleshing out the action with his trademarked tight close-ups and cryptic camerawork. Season one of Dragnet also establishes Webb's fondness for using several of his old radio colleagues in major roles, sustaining the spontaneity of their performances by rehearsing as little as possible, and having them read their lines from a teleprompter rather than memorizing their dialogue. Additionally, several up-and-coming actors make guest appearances, notably Lee Marvin in "The Big Cast."

Only two episodes had been filmed when co-star Barton Yarborough fell ill and died, a real-life tragedy which Webb poignantly dramatizes in the episode "The Big Death." In episode three, Ken Peters is introduced as Webb's temporary partner, Sgt. Bill Cummings; thereafter, for the balance of the season, Friday is partnered with Barney Phillips as Sgt. Ed Jacobs. By the time the first-season finale had aired on June 19, 1952, Dragnet had soared in the ratings, prompting NBC to renew the property for a second season -this time on a full weekly basis.

Dragnet - tv series

(1951 - 1959) - Jack Webb, Ben Alexander, Harry Morgan

Genre: Drama


CAST

Jack Webb
George Fenneman
Hal Gibney
Ben Alexander
Olan Soule
Vic Perrin
Ralph Moody
Walter Sande
Harry Bartell
Art Balinger
Jack Kruschen
Art Gilmore
Herb Vigran
Virginia Gregg
Bert Holland
Barney Phillips
Lillian Powell
Herbert Ellis
Natalie Masters
Victor Rodman
Frank Gerstle
Jonathan Hole
Mel Ford
George Sawaya
Sammy Ogg
Paul Richards
James Stone
William Boyett
Allene Roberts
Dorothy Abbott
Helen Kleeb
Robert Crosson
Martin Milner
Tony Barrett
Aaron Spelling
Sam Edwards
Joyce McCluskey
Celia Lovsky
Don C. Harvey
Herbert Butterfield
Willis Bouchey
Vivi Janiss
Henry Corden
Howard Wendell
Stacy Harris
Robert Knapp
Robert Clarke
Ben Morris
Irene Tedrow
Dennis Weaver
Helen Andrews
Lillian Buyeff
Howard Culver
Harlan Warde
Louise Lorimer
Dennis Moore
Barton Yarborough
Clarence Cassell
June Whitley Taylor
Carolyn Jones
Ken Peters
William Johnstone
James Anderson
Eddie Firestone
Virginia Christine
Michael Ann Barrett
Joe Cranston
Cliff Arquette
Peggy Webber
Dan Barton
Sarah Selby
Jean Dean
Dorothy Adams
Richard Garland
Tom McKee
Jimmy Ogg
Amzie Strickland
James Griffith
Kurt Martell
Jeanne Baird
George Brand
John Larch
Louis Nicolett
Jeanne Tatum
Monty Masters
Georgia Ellis
Bill Idelson
Sally Corner
Jean Howell
Thom Carney
Virginia Carroll
Harry Harvey
Don Warren
Joseph Forte
Marjie Millar
Brett King
John Truax
Walter Reed
Jack Carol
Alan Dexter
Renny McEvoy
Douglas Kennedy
Peter Leeds
John Alvin
Frances Bavier
Gil Stratton
Nesdon Booth
Simon Scott
Charlotte Lawrence
Ted Bliss
Billy Chapin
Russ Conway
Don Gibson
Dan Riss
Kenneth Patterson
Joseph Mell
Mitchell Lawrence
Frances Rafferty
Barbara Stewart
Paul Bryar
Michael Barrett
Malcolm Atterbury
Helen Van Tuyl
Tom Daly
Roy Darmour
Peggy Maley
Alan Reynolds
Barbara Eiler
Richard Benedict
Julie Bennett
Sidney Clute
Sam Gilman
John Patrick
Vance Skarstedt
Mack Williams
Marvin Bryan
Kip King
Ann Morrison
Joey Ray
Mark Scott
Bob Wehling
Martha Wentworth
Maxine Cooper
Joby Baker
Martin Dean
Coleman Francis
Paul Hahn
Monty Margetts
Sid Melton
Ed Prentiss
Joe Quinn
Carl von Schiller
Jack Wagner
John Nolan
Russ Whitney
Frank Evans
Roger Til
Michael Morgan
Gloria Saunders
Harper Goff
Myra Marsh
Adrienne Marden
Maurice Hill
Lee Marvin
Dee Pollock
Marian Richman
Lawrence Ryle
James Bush
Mary Shipp
Anthony Jochim
Alan Harris
Gretchen Kanne
Nan Boardman
Bill Brundige
Dee J. Thompson
Dick Paxton
Ron Hargrave
George Cisar
Leonard Nimoy
Russell Saunders
Jerry Zinnamon
Tol Avery
Jack Mulhall
John Dako
Whitfield Connor
Robert Boon
Ralph Votrian
Evelyn Scott
Pamela Duncan
Junius Matthews
Ellen Corby
John Gallaudet
William F. Leicester
Paul Picerni
Janet Warren
Virginia Brissac
John Qualen
Ramsey Williams
Dee Carroll
James Dobson
George Selk
Ramsay Williams
Claude Akins
James Bell
Neil Collins
Jeffrey Silver
Steven Terrell
Arlene Harris
Jay Lawrence
William Tracy
William Vaughn
Mary Dean
Don 'Red' Barry
Paul Burke
Jack Haddock
Sheridan F. Hall Jr.
David Holt
Frank Marlowe
Ralph Montgomery
Than Wyenn
Robert Christopher
Darlene Fields
Dennis McCarthy
Stafford Repp
Ralph Smiley
Mildred von Hollen
Rodney Bell
Robert Bice
Claudia Bryar
Hazel Franklyn
Parker Garvie
Robert Jordan
Les Mitchel
John Mitchum
Billy Nelson
Jacqueline Park
Robert Patten
Ernest Raboff
Gilman Rankin
Marjorie Stapp
Frank Sully
Elmore Vincent
Dick Whittinghill
Norman Bartold
William 'Billy' Benedict
Jesslyn Fax
Paul Frees
Shep Houghton
Jean Inness
Steve Masino
Lorna Thayer
Charles Watts
Mary Jane Croft
Richard Norris
Joe Conley
James Douglas
William Flaherty
Raymond Greenleaf
Helen Jay
Dudley Manlove
Syd Saylor
Dan Sturkie
Yvette Vickers
Marshall Bradford
Tiny Brauer
Jim Bridges
Robert Brubaker
Paul E. Burns
Sue George
Eddy Grove
Jess Kirkpatrick
Frank J. Scannell
Helen Spring
Ruth Swanson
Lyn Thomas
George Barrows
Eve Brent
John Close
Paula Hill
Taylor Holmes
Julian Burton
Anne Diamond
Craig Duncan
Suzanne Ellers
Stephen Ellsworth
Marshall Kent
Bob Kline
Anthony Lawrence
Ralph Manza
Alfred Shelly
Sally Todd
Michael Garrett
William E. Green
Buddy Lester
Peter Miles
Shirley Mitchell
John Sebastian
Tom Wade
David Alpert
Shirley Falls
Harry Hickox
Mary Patton
Nancy Valentine

Created by:
Jack Webb

Writing credits:
Jack Webb
Frank Burt
Michael Cramoy
James E. Moser
John Robinson
Kitty Buhler
William Spier
Gene L. Coon
Jack Laird
Wilton Schiller
Ben Alexander
Richard L. Breen
Michael Geiger
Jerry Gruskin
Chan Hadlock
Jack Jacobs
Ken Kolb
Earl Schley
William Weiner

Opening theme: Danger Ahead
Written by: Walter Schumann

Original music by:
Walter Schumann

Cinematography by:
Edward Colman
Frederick Gately

Language: English
Country: United States

Directed by:
Jack Webb

Produced by:
Michael Meshekoff
Stanley D. Meyer
Jack Webb
Herbert L. Strock
Homer Canfield

Original channel:
NBC
Syndication
ABC

Mark VII Ltd.

Awards:
1955 Won Emmy Best Mystery or Intrigue Series
1954 Won Emmy Best Mystery, Action and Adventure Program
1953 Won Emmy Best Mystery, Action and Adventure Program
2000 Won PGA Hall of Fame - Television Programs Jack Webb
2003 Won TV Land Award Favorite Crimestopper in a Drama
2003 Nominated TV Land Award Drama Theme Song You Can't Get Out of Your Head

Also Known As:
Badge 714
Coup de filet
Dragnet

Trivia

For a time, the TV series and radio program ran concurrently.

Among the many real-life police officers who submitted story ideas for this series was future "Star Trek" (1966) creator Gene Roddenberry.

Contrary to popular belief, Joe Friday never said "Just the facts, ma'am" in any episode. The actual phrase used was "All we want [or "know"] are the facts, ma'am".

The show's semi-documentary format was inspired by the Film-Noir He Walked by Night (1948) in which 'Jack Webb' played a forensic chemist.

Friday's partners changed early on for various reasons: Barton Yarborough died five days after shooting the second episode; Barney Phillips had a habit of wetting his lips (making reaction shots difficult); and 'Herbert Ellis', who was never intended to be permanent, was hurried out for looking too much like Friday. Ironically, Ben Alexander, who became Friday's permanent partner, originally wanted to do only one episode of the show (as a character actor).

The main reason that "Dragnet" was seen on alternate weeks in its second season was that Barton Yarborough, the original Frank Smith, had died during the initial season. This put a great strain on the filming schedule. There were several cast changes until Ben Alexander took over the role (1952-1957).

 

 

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