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Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 379 Episodes

Length: 137 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (286 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

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."

©2013 BN Publishing (P)2013 BN Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • lizski
  • PARK CITY, UT, United States
  • 09-21-13

The Grandfather of Law and Order

What made the experience of listening to Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 380 Episodes the most enjoyable?

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!).

What did you like best about this story?

Dragnet is the grandfather of ever cop show that has ever been on tv - to say it is a classic is an understatement.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The volume and clarity varies greatly

What did you love best about Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 380 Episodes?

I enjoy the stories. I heard them for the first time as a child and later on XM Radio. Dragnet is a classic.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I enjoy the stories each time I listen.

What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

Jack Webb's monologues are very entertaining.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The stories show the different culture in America during the 1940's and 1950's.

Any additional comments?

Hours of entertainment!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Insane Deal for the amount

These were some of my favorite shows to listen to growing up. The quality is pretty good for the most part. There are a few that were recorded all those years ago and weren't done well or were damaged. Great detective and the episodes are short and will keep you in a fair amount of suspense.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • jgfox
  • Princeton Junction, NJ
  • 03-21-15

One of the Best Dramatic Radio Show of All Time

If you could sum up Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 379 Episodes in three words, what would they be?

Tough, Gritty, Real

Who was your favorite character and why?

Duh Sargent Friday

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Romero his first partner

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Best bargain I've ever encountered ... only FIVE cents per show.

Any additional comments?

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!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Give me the old time radio

I liked the fact that they combined the live versions, made you feel like you went back in time, listening to these old stories for the first time!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Awesome well worth the money

My. Very favorite book to go to sleep by. Stories are great Wish there were more

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Phil
  • Kalamazoo, MI
  • 03-09-15

Fairly entertaining

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.)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great show, so-so audio quality.

What did you like best about Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 379 Episodes? What did you like least?

I like the story and the original production. It's kinda innocent and sweet for a murder and crime book. The detectives are honorable and the criminals get their due.

What other book might you compare Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 379 Episodes to and why?

It's not like other Audible books I've listened to. It is like a True Detective magazine from the 60's. The show is a lot like the video game "LA Noire," but it is exactly like the Dragnet tv show. Friday's partner Ben Romero has a voice and personality like Butters on South Park.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Ben Romero. I imagine him as a 42 year old Butters Scotch. You gotta hear him!

Could you see Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 379 Episodes being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

...it's been done.

Any additional comments?

The audio quality is bad in parts. In some chapters, it "get's stuck" repeating the same few seconds for a minute or so like a broken record. It gets distracting.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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a real treat

I really enjoyed the stories it brought back memories of the first time I have ever listened to Dragnet I was somewhat disappointed about four episodes were repeats and about 16 of them I couldn't understand because of the quality of the recording but all and all it was a great investment

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Biggest Bang For Your Buck

If you could sum up Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 379 Episodes in three words, what would they be?

These are the stories from which the TV show sprang. Short, crisp and to the point. They had to have the whole show done in under 30 minutes. Dialogue snappy ala Jack Webb. Case introduced then to the solving of the crime. If you liked TV Dragnet give this a try. 379 complete episodes for the price of one credit.

What other book might you compare Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 379 Episodes to and why?

any old time detective show

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

All extremely well acted.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Impossible

Any additional comments?

Radios equivalent of film noir.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-03-13

Old-fashioned radio

Where does Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 380 Episodes rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Not a classic audiobook but a good opportunity to return to authentic old-fashioned radio broadcasts from the 1940s.

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.,

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

No narrators as such, but a dramatized production each time.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Quite a gritty view of police work in LA, but with a permanently upbeat pro-police attitude that sometimes grated.

Any additional comments?

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. B. Hayman
  • 08-18-16

enjoyable

loved it only slight niggle was some of voices on some chapters where difficult to understand as the quality was poor but that is understandable taking into account the age of the recordings.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • keith
  • 10-09-18

Love this series

Love programmes like this this is like the series sometimes quality fails but due to age of programme but a great listen

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  • Lee
  • 07-27-18

Old Time Radio at its best.

Husband enjoys OTR and Dragnet kept him entertained for hours ....and out from under my feet. Took him right back to his childhood..well worth the money.

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  • Simon
  • 11-12-17

Story good - ruined by endless ads

This is very entertaining but the endless cigarette advertising really spoils it.

It’s a shame they didn’t clip them off. They add no value to the story