Dragnet is an American TV, radio and movie series that tells the story of the dedicated Los Angeles police Sergeant Joe Friday and his buddies. The show’s title, Dragnet, is a police system of coordinated measures that is used for arresting criminals. It was created by Jack Webb. It has a total of 16 seasons from 1951 to 2004 with 762 episodes. Dragnet was dubbed as the most popular and influential police drama in media history.
Even if Dragnet first aired 60 years ago, the show still captures fans all over the world so If you’re one of the show’s fans and you missed watching it, or if you want to know more about the series, here are some of the interesting facts about Dragnet.
- The show is well-known to be a 60’s television drama. But before it hit the TV screens, Dragnet was a radio show that had over 318 episodes which aired from 1949 to 1957.
- Dragnet aired on television from 1951 to 1959 with a total of 276 episodes.
- The television series became a success which led Jack Webb into creating a feature-length film with the same title in 1954.
- When the first Dragnet TV series went off the air on 1959, Jack Webb tried to reboot the series by releasing another Dragnet movie on 1966.
- There was a Dragnet comic strip which ran from 1952 to 1955.
- Dragnet the TV series was re-launched and had a total of 98 episodes from 1967 to 1970.
- And a 52 episode remake of the show was aired from 1989 to 1991.
- In 1987, another Dragnet movie was released which starred Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd.
- And finally, a 10 episode series starring Ed O’Neill aired from 2003 to 2004.
- Because the Los Angeles Police Department was so impressed with the show, the gave Jack Webb a detective badge that has Sgt. Joe Friday’s number on it. And they even named two of their buildings on their police academy “Jack Webb” and “Mark VII”.
- Aside from the comic strips, the TV series also managed to produce a children’s book in 1957.
- Dragnet became very popular to the point that it became heavily merchandised. There were several board games, puzzles, and toys that were made under its name.
- Jack Webb got the idea for Dragnet while he was working on his 1948 real-life murder case film “He Walked by Night” where he played as a crime lab technician. The documentary style of the film gave Webb the idea for a police drama series. With the help of Chief Parker of the LAPD, Webb created Dragnet.
- Have you ever noticed that almost every Dragnet actors delivered their lines a little faster than they should? This is because Jack Webb wanted to cut the cost of the production so he limited the rehearsal time. So instead of the actors memorizing their lines, they just read their lines off teleprompters.
- Before video teleprompters were widely used, they used an ancient technique where actors had to read their lines on handwritten paper scrolls.
- Dragnet’s “Blue Boy” episode ranked at number 85 on TV Guide’s list of “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time” in 1997.
- Jack Webb turned down the role of Dean Wormer in the 1978 film “Animal House” because he thought that it made fun of authority.
- Dragnet’s first color version was about LSD.
- Jack Webb never knew his own father because he abandoned them before he was born. The only male role model he had growing up was his uncle Frank Smith. This is why on the 50’s television series, Webb named Friday’s partner Officer Frank Smith.
- Jack Webb deliberately used police jargon that most people would not understand. This is because he wanted the show to appear more realistic.
- The number seven was Jack Webb’s favorite number. That is why Sgt. Joe Friday’s badge number was 714 which is 7 and 7+7.
- For continuity purposes, Friday and Gannon always wore suits, shirts, and ties with the same color in every episode of Dragnet.
- Webb was the first civilian who was buried with full police honors. And his badge number was officially retired by the Los Angeles Police Department.
These are the intriguing facts about Dragnet. Which one is your favorite?