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!
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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