DRAGNET (1951 – 1959)

Creator: Jack Webb;

Cast :  Jack WebbBen AlexanderOlan Soule

“The story you are about to see is true”, “Just the facts, ma’am”, “We were working the day watch” – phrases which became so popular as to inspire much parody – set the realistic tone of this early police drama. The show emphasized careful police work and the interweaving of policemen’s professional and personal lives.

I remember when I first got to the states someone introduced me to this series I thought this was unusual series never done before back then this was a break thought back then. and I loved it. Jack webb had a documentary approach to it totally Genius.Audiences really had little idea of how modern police departments worked. Webb made a fateful decision at that point– he got the collaboration of the Los Angeles Police Department to give the show a stamp of authenticity. There were real cases.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”. Barton Yarborough, who portrayed Friday’s first partner, was ill during production of the third episode and was expected to return (thus, in the opening of the show, Friday states, “My partner’s Ben Romero”). But on the day the third episode was complete, Yarborough died of a heart attack. The show’s semi-documentary format was inspired by the Film-Noir He Walked by Night in which ‘Jack Webb’ played a forensic chemist. 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). The badges and identification cards used in the series were genuine Los Angeles Police Department items. If you happen to see them again or this is the first time you are watching them you will not be disappointed.

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