Sunday, May 10, 2020

Vintage 1950s Television Dragnet

Vintage 1950s


          Dragnet Television Show  was a police procedural drama centered around a Los Angeles Police Detective. The show stared Sergeant Joe Friday, played by Jack Webb, and his partner Officer Bill Gannon played by Harry Morgan. The police term "dragnet", means a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects. The original show aired from 1951 to 1959 and was revived from 1967 to 1970.

          The series gave the public a feel for the danger and heroism of police work. Dragnet earned praise for improving the public opinion of police officers. Actor and producer Jack Webb's aims in Dragnet were for realism and unpretentious acting; he achieved both goals.
          1-The ominous, four-note introduction to the brass and timpani theme music (titled Danger Ahead) date to 1946, Miklós Rózsa's score in the film version of The Killers.

          2-Another Dragnet trademark is the show's opening narration: "Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent." This underwent minor revisions over time. The "only" and "ladies and gentlemen" were dropped at some point, and for the television version "hear" was changed to "see". Variations on this narration have been featured in subsequent crime dramas, and in parodies of the dramas (e.g. "Only the facts have been changed to protect the guilty").

          After Webb's death (December 23, 1983) Chief Daryl Gates of the LAPD announced that badge number 714 -Webb's number on the television show - was retired, and Los Angeles city offices lowered their flags to half staff. At Webb's funeral, the LAPD provided an honor guard, and the chief of police commented on Webb's connection with the LAPD. An LAPD auditorium was named in his honor. Jack Webb's LAPD sergeant's badge and ID card are on display at the Los Angeles Police Academy.

To hear the opening theme of Dragnet go to:

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