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  • 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.
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  • 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).
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  • Referenced by...: Has its own page.
  • You Look Familiar: There were many of these, actually. 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:
    • Don Ross, who according to IMDB holds the record at 31 episodes.
    • Virginia Gregg, probably the most recognizable actress, a fixture on the radio series and appearing at least 13 times on the TV series.
    • Peggy Webber, who many may remember from her appearances on the MST3K episodes "The Screaming Skull" and "The Space Children", was in eight episodes of the '60s revival, four episodes of the fifties show, and a couple of the radio shows, plus several episodes of Adam-12 and Emergency!.
    • Kent McCord appeared as a desk clerk (uncredited) in the made-for-TV movie, then as a couple different patrolmen in early episodes before appearing as Officer Reed here and in Adam-12. (Oddly enough, he appeared in consecutive episodes in the 1968 season as different cops. One of his partners was an Officer Reed, according to the credits of the first of the two shows. He appears in the 1968 episodes "The Phony Police Racket" and "The Search" as an Officer Reed, but it's not certain if he's playing the Jim Reed or if the name of the character was just a coincidence.)
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    • Tim Donnelly qualifies both in terms of the Dragnet series itself (5 different roles), as well as the Dragnet/Adam-12/Emergency! shared universe (2 roles in Adam and his regular role as Firefighter Chet Kelly in Emergency!).
    • "Marty" Milner, later of Adam-12, played a role in one of the 1953-54 season TV episodes as well as several radio episodes, including a short stint as Joe's partner.
    • Harry Morgan also starred on Jack Webb's series D.A., and Webb appeared as Joe Friday in one episode of the series as well.

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 archive.org 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, add some narration, and use it as a radio episode (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. In fact, the only changes to the script were references to Gannon and his wife (rather than Frank Smith) and a couple of lines to explain why central LA detectives were investigating a crime in Foothill Division, which was a distinction that didn't exist when the episode was first filmed.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Mister Spock was on the run from San Francisco as Leonard Nimoy had his television debut in "The Big Boys".
  • 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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