Real Police Ride-along (1954-55)
Featuring the police officers of Culver City, California, Nightwatch was the first show featuring real-life police officers on the job. The show was created and hosted by Donn Reed, a long-time radio man.
Reed rode along with police officers as they performed their jobs. Radio listeners of Nightwatch heard everything from sanitarium escapees to burglars to attempted murder. It was a slice-of-life that most people never heard before and were only too happy to listen to on the radio as long as it stayed on the radio.
Reed billed himself as a Police Recorder, providing Nightwatch narration in a low voice. He came up with idea by chance when he met a fellow handball player who was also a police officer with the Culver City department. In the course of the conversation, the officer invited Reed on a "ride along". Reed wasted no time in accepting the invitation and Nightwatch was born. After gaining permission to record from Police Chief W.N. Hidebrande, the networkpicked up the show and it was off.
Some of Nightwatch had some humor to them like the drunk woman beating a man with her shoe but most were tragic. When you listen to the show about the escaped mental patient, you can hear the pain in the husband's voice when he has to send his wife back to the sanitarium.
Ride along with Culver City police officers in the 1950s with Nightwatch!
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For other law enforcement excitements see also Dragnet,
Mr. District Attorney,
This Is Your FBI,
Tales of the Texas Rangers,
and I Was a Communist
for the FBI.
(Please note many of
these Nightwatch recordings are of mixed audio