Dragnet was perhaps the most famous and influential police procedural drama in media history. The series gave millions of audience members a feel for the boredom and drudgery, as well as the danger and heroism, of real-life police work.
Actor and producer Jack Webb's aims in Dragnet were for realism and unpretentious acting. He achieved both goals, and Dragnet remains a key influence on subsequent police dramas in many media. The show's cultural impact is such that even after five decades, elements of Dragnet are known to those who have never seen or heard the program - including the famous four-note introduction to the theme music and the opening narration, "Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent."
The original Dragnet starring Jack Webb as Sgt. Friday ran from from June 3, 1949, to February 26, 1957 on NBC radio. Webb insisted on realism in every aspect of the show. The dialogue was clipped, understated and sparse, influenced by the hardboiled school of crime fiction. Scripts were fast moving but didn’t seem rushed. Every aspect of police work was chronicled, step by step: From patrols and paperwork, to crime scene investigation, lab work and questioning witnesses or suspects. The detectives' personal lives were mentioned but rarely took center stage. "Underplaying is still acting", Webb told Time. "We try to make it as real as a guy pouring a cup of coffee."
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The entire experience of a radio show, combined with the culture of the 40s and 50s is absolutely fantastic (although there I times when I keep thinking how much faster cases could have been solved with DNA evidence and other modern forensics!).
Dragnet is the grandfather of ever cop show that has ever been on tv - to say it is a classic is an understatement.
I watched Dragnet on tv ages ago, and while the tv show was good fun, all the sound effects and 'atmosphere' of a radio show make the radio show superior.
I like the tribute at the end of each episode to a fallen police officer - officers that were killed in the line of duty 50+ years ago are memorialized again.
There is a fair amount of variability in sound/audio quality (which is why I only gave the performance 4 stars - the actual performance is great, but the occasional audio issues made me downgrade it), but it generally doesn't take away from the listening experience.
I enjoy the stories. I heard them for the first time as a child and later on XM Radio. Dragnet is a classic.
I enjoy the stories each time I listen.
Jack Webb's monologues are very entertaining.
The stories show the different culture in America during the 1940's and 1950's.
Hours of entertainment!
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
With all of the crime that is happening now, people should see that there was just as much crime 60 years. I'd recommend this to friends who are always complaining about "the good old days" and "these kids today". The mindset is the same among criminals - only the amount of firepower has changed. "Dragnet" is the father of all crime shows today, especially the in depth technical ones which involve forensics and DNA and also shows like "Law & Order" that used real crimes taken from newspaper reports or police files. Jack Webb was an innovator who created this genre of television.
That question is not applicable here.
This is a multi-performer audiobook with different actors playing each role. That gives the listening experience a rare layered effect.
IMPOSSIBLE! It's 16 Parts of 6 to 8 hours in each Part. But, say, I had nothing to do for a whole month, like I'm stuck in a hospital bed because I broke every bone in my body - I'd have to say that no one would WANT to listen to these episodes in one sitting or even one day. It's basically the same format over and over again - crotchety old landladies, snoopy neighbors, arrogant criminals, mouthy teens, precocious toddlers, each repeating the same dialogue from one story to the other. The "stage business" - walking, stirring coffee, typing, opening doors, balling up paper, etc. - gets irritating after a while. It worked 60 years ago because listeners wanted to get as much bang for their buck in the 30 minute show time. However, listening to Sgt. Friday "walking" on a hard floor for the first 100 episodes, it becomes a bit old to have to hear it for 260 more shows.
Overall I enjoyed this "book" which is actually recordings of old radio shows, even with the snaps, crackles and pops. That's what gives it the dated feeling. However, the original recording was poorly done with no levels adjusted from one season to another, much less episodes. I had to give up the ghost when "the needle got stuck", playing several parts over and over again. In the old days, we'd just lift up the record player arm or put a coin on it to hold it in the groove. Here it is apparent that the engineer wasn't paying attention during the production and that Audible did no quality control afterwards.
NOTE: A highlight of these old shows is the advertisements. To hear the manufacturers of Fatima ("The Long Cigarette") and Chesterfields ("The Mild Cigarette") insist that smoking is healthy for you and that THEIR product is the very best is both funny and sad. Fatima goes on and on about how smokers switching to Fatima has increased by 500% since its last "report". If you've lost a loved one to lung cancer, this will be hard for you to take. But that was the way it was back then. People lit up a cigarette for any reason, even in a hospital bed!
Nice to hear the radio shows from the early 1950's complete with commercials.
The radio shows at that time were quite simplistic.
The commercials really make you realize that people did not know the effects of smoking at that time.
No. 300 episodes of Dragnet are quite enough.
May try other old shows - probably comedy.
Jack Webb's narration is fine, very easy to understand.
The file did not transfer to my IPod well. About half of the episodes transferred.
The others were just a loud screeching sound.
There were 280 episodes in total (not 379) of which I could listen to about half.
Perhaps the limit of my IPod memory was reached and maybe that's why I could not get all of the episodes.
I am a retired Credit Union Examiner who loves baseball, sfi-fi stories & reading books about our history. I still believe in the future.
If you loved Dragnet you will love Dragnet on Audio. It's the same as what we used to watch and listen to on TV and on radio. I highly recommend them.
Each story is just like what we listen to years ago.
They have made various movies on and about Dragnet.
Tough, Gritty, Real
Duh Sargent Friday
Romero his first partner
Best bargain I've ever encountered ... only FIVE cents per show.
This show transformed the “cop story” in that it was the first to portray the daily workings of a Police department (Los Angeles) and both the boredom and danger of the work. It was the first to focus on forensic evidence to solve crimes. And it was very realistic ... no over the top drama ... just the grind of work.
Jack Webb who was the producer and star of the show as Sgt. Joe Friday (“Just the facts, Mam) went on patrols with the police and took courses at the LA police Academy. He wanted it to be as accurate as possible.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent."
One episode had Sgt. Friday and his partner Ben Romero waiting for a considerable amount of show time ... talking and waiting and waiting ... in a cheap hotel room to catch a brutal robber. Then the hotel room phone rings [They called HQ earlier to give them the number] ... the criminal was picked up by other cops! Just another day policing ... and another stakeout that didn't pay off.
Another had Sgt. Friday and other police personnel saving a mentally ill man from jumping off an office building ledge. Very well done and you weren’t sure he could be saved. At a risk to their own lives ... they were able to grab him and pull him in.
Spoiler Alert .. but only one for 379 shows ....
The show always had a follow-up on what happened ... trial, conviction, sentencing etc.
“He was found to be mentally ill by a panel of doctors and sent to (Name of Institution) for treatment). Two years later he killed himself by hanging.”
Wow ... what realism and big ending shock!
Note: I have not listened to all of the episodes yet.
I have always like radio dramas "Theater of the mind" so I enjoy this show. However, the audio has some issues. Sound effects and music are ear shatteringly shrill, while the dialogue is so quiet you quiet that I have trouble making it out at times.
"smorgle smuff mlugin... DUH DEE DUM DUM!!!!!!" (shatters ears)
A few episodes are so garbled that they are not worth trying to make out.
A few episodes are repeated without explanation.
Also note that this show touches adult themes (not graphically.)
It would be better if the audio quality was consistent from one episode to the next. One episode may sound fine, then the next one is muffled or contains static or crackles. There are very few of the episodes that are of listenable quality. I'm going to return this for a refund.
Retired high school English teacher. I liked and worked with the at-risk student. Interested in about everything, but I love a good story.
I'm old enough to remember listening to some of these stories on radio and it was like listening to an old friend. I'm not sure, but I think this was the beginning of the police procedural drama on radio.
My only problem with it was that the recording was somewhat mushy-sounding. I know we didn't have Dolby, but a clearer recording would have been delightful. On the other hand, maybe it was my aging ears.
The ups and downs of the volume.
I would have loved hearing these broadcasts that I remembered as entertaining from radio
Not a classic audiobook but a good opportunity to return to authentic old-fashioned radio broadcasts from the 1940s.
Sgt Friday is the main (fictional) character in real-life stories, which they achieved by putting him and his partner fictitiously into the LAPD department that that week's story featured.,
No narrators as such, but a dramatized production each time.
Quite a gritty view of police work in LA, but with a permanently upbeat pro-police attitude that sometimes grated.
Hours and hours and hours of 30-minute 'true-life' police procedural dramatization. Enough to last for months of occasional bite-sized listening. Sound quality is very good for the period.
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