Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 379 Episodes

  • by Frank Burt, James E. Moser, John Robinson
  • Narrated by Jack Webb, Barton Yarborough, Ben Alexander, Raymond Burr
  • 137 hrs and 54 mins
  • Radio/TV Program

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."

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.

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- Kindle Customer

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!

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- G S Hallifax

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-12-2013
  • Publisher: BN Publishing