Trivia / Dragnet

  • Actor-Shared Background: In the '60s revival series, Bill Gannon's wife was named Eileen; this was presumably an allusion to Harry Morgan's real-life wife, Eileen Detchon.
  • Ability over Appearance: When the series was first being brought to television, Jack Webb argued that his face was not suitable for television and suggested Lloyd Nolan be cast as Joe Friday in his place. Fortunately, neither NBC nor Liggett & Myers (owners of Chesterfield) would accept any substitute.
  • Backed by the Pentagon: Jack Webb's various incarnations of the show was heavily supported by the real LAPD because of his attention to detail and for showing the department (no stranger to controversy) in a good light, with bad/corrupt cops always facing the consequences of their actions. In fact, Friday's badge wasn't a prop but a genuine badge issued by the LAPD and was ferried to and from the set by an on-duty police officer. When Jack Webb passed away, he was given a police funeral with full honors and badge number 714 was permanently retired by the LAPD in his memory.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Joe Friday never actually said "Just the facts, ma'am." That came from Affectionate Parody comedy skits by Stan Freberg.
  • Directed by Cast Member: In possibly the über-example of this trope, Jack Webb directed every single episode of the radio series, the original TV series and the revival (as well as the 1954 movie).
  • Referenced by...:
    • The Beatles' song "She Came In Though the Bathroom Window" includes the line, "Sunday's on the phone to Monday/Tuesday's on the phone to me."
    • The Stan Freberg comedy recording "St. George and the Dragonet", which gave us the Beam Me Up, Scotty! phrase "Just the facts, ma'am".
    • In an episode of The Honeymooners',' Ed Norton sings "Dum da Dum Dum" from the Dragnet'' theme song.
    • An episode of It Takes a Thief (1968) titled "The Scorpio Drop", star Robert Wagner starts the Cold Open with "This is the city, Washington, D.C.. My name is Mundy...I'm a thief." Oddly enough, on May 5, 2012 this episode aired on Digital station Antenna TV directly after an actual episode of Dragnet, without even a commercial between the closing Universal logo and the start of the parody.
    • MAD once featured Dragged Net! (the radio/original tv version) and Dumbnet - A What IV Production (the '60s/70s version).
    • An episode of The Monkees has Peter say, "Hey, its time for Dragnet! Anyone got a TV?" This shot is currently (May 2012) being used in an Antenna TV ad, which shows both programs in their line-up.
    • Officer Joe Webber was a recurring character on The Bob Newhart Show.
    • Seinfeld featured a character called Mr Bookman, a library official who behaved like Joe Friday. Another episode had Kramer channel a Joe Fridayish Inspector in order to get a stolen statue back from a cleaning man.
    • An early episode of Sesame Street featured a segment with Sergeant Thursday and his partner Ben (a parody of Ben Romero) questioning a letter M to see if it had seen their suspect - a letter W.
    • In the episode of The Simpsons entitled "Mother Simpson", Friday and Gannon investigate the return of Homer's long lost Mother, forced underground after a sixties protest incident. Harry Morgan voices Gannon.
    • The PBS series Square One TV would end every episode with Mathnet a complete parody of the show.note 
    The story you are about to see is a fib. But it's short. The names are made up, but the problems are real.
    • A Looney Tunes Porky and Daffy cartoon called Rocket Squad is a straight-up parody, set IN SPACE! , where Daffy Duck plays "Sergeant Joe Monday". The twist is that the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue shows him and his partner being arrested for wrongful arrest.
    • One The Tonight Show clip features Jack Webb parodying himself as he and Johnny Carson talk in a Dragnet style tongue twister - The Case of the Copped Copper Clappers.
    • In L.A. Confidential, Jack Vincennes is the LAPD's advisor on the show "Badge Of Honour", which is clearly a Dragnet Expy - one of the cast uses "Just the facts", with the implication that it's a recurring phrase in the show.

Radio Show
  • The Character Died with Him: Ben Romero died in the same way as his actor, Barton Yarborough.
  • Contractual Immortality: Even if one didn't know the series would continue, one would expect Joe Friday to survive being shot (as he was in "The Big Ben".)
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Much of the radio series dropped into the public domain. As a consequence, several hundred episodes are available for download from miscellaneous sources — for example, at in both ZIP-archive and single-episode formats.
  • Recycled Script
    • Episode 57 ("The Big Bomb") is a remake of Episode 7 ("Attempted City Hall Bombing") with minor edits to accommodate a different police chief and make room for the sponsor's advertisement.
    • While the TV and radio series were airing concurrently, Webb would occasionally lift the audio track from a TV episode and use it as a radio one (for instance, the Christmas episode "The Big Little Jesus").
  • You Sound Familiar: There were many of these. Jack Webb maintained a cadre of actors that he liked working with, and cast them often as he needed them, provided they were available. Many of these actors got their start working with Webb on the radio series, and continued working with him to the end of the '60s revival series. Of particular note are:
    • Virginia Gregg, probably the most recognizable actress, a fixture on the radio series.
    • Peggy Webber, who many may remember from her appearances on the MST3k episodes "The Screaming Skull" and "The Space Children."
    • "Marty" Milner, who played a role in several radio episodes, including a short stint as Joe's partner.
    • Harry Morgan, who would later play Bill Gannon in the '60s series, voiced a number of witnesses.
TV Show
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Since just about all of the 1950's TV series has come into the public domain, entire episodes can be seen on YouTube. However, not every episode is available at this point. 47 complete episodes are available from the 1951-52 through 1954-55 seasons but only a total of 12 are available from the rest of the show's run (and seven of those are from the 1955-56 season).
  • Recycled Script
    • Many radio episode scripts were adapted for television, including the aforementioned City Hall bombing episode (Season 1 Episode 1: "The Human Bomb").
    • The Christmas episode with the "theft" of the Child Jesus statue aired during the original TV series (where it was the first-ever TV episode to be filmed in color) and then was redone for the '60s remake. Three of the actors from the original version (Father Rojas, Mr. Flavin, and the hotel desk clerk) reprised their roles for the remake.
  • What Could Have Been
    • Webb wanted Ben Alexander to return as Frank Smith in the revival series, but Alexander had already committed to Felony Squad on ABC, so Webb turned instead to his friend Harry Morgan and Bill Gannon was created.
    • Jack Webb was working on a second Dragnet revival in 1982 with five scripts completed. With Harry Morgan still committed to M*A*S*H and having signed up for AfterMASH, Webb would have changed partners once again, this time to a character played by Kent McCord (although it's unknown if it would have been his Adam-12 character or a new one).
  • One of the Lassie dogs appeared in the purse snatching dog episode - it clearly has the distinctive facial blaze absent in most collies but present in all the Lassies.
  • Easy on the costume changes. During the TV series, Jack Webb and Harry Morgan wore the exact same clothes every episode —- that is, for more than 5 years, they wore the same exact clothes!

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