Dragnet, the brainchild of Jack Webb, may very well be the most well-remembered, and the best, radio police drama series. From September, 1949 through February 1957, Dragnet's 30 minute shows, broadcast on NBC, brought to radio true police stories in a low-key, documentary style.
The origins of Dragnet can be traced to a semi-documentary film, He Walked by Night from 1948, in which Mr. Webb had a small role. Both employed the same Los Angeles Police Department technical adviser, used actual police cases and presented the case in "just the facts" manner that became a hallmark of Dragnet. It is interesting to note that Mr. Webb employed that format in other radio series, some pre-dating the film mentioned above.
In the radio series, Mr. Webb starred as Sgt. Joe Friday and Barton Yarborough played his partner. The success of the radio show led to the production of a Dragnet television pilot, which aired as an episode of Chesterfield Sound Off Time in 1951 and ultimately the Dragnet television series on NBC in early 1952.
(Our thanks to Frank Passage for his permission to repeat his description above)
Dragnet broadcast a total of 382 episodes from June of 1949 through February of 1957. Although there were some rebroadcasts during the June 1949 through September 1955 period, all episodes broadcast from late September 1955 through the end of the series run, in February of 1957, were all rebroadcasts of earlier episodes. Altogether, there were 318 original episodes, and 11 scripts were used multiple times.
Dragnet: Introduction (current page)
Dragnet: Episodes 319 - 382 (September 27, 1955 - February 26, 1957) [All are Rebroadcasts]
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