"The story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent…"
This iconic opening was used in both the radio and television versions of Dragnet, and it became synonymous with the show's commitment to realism and accuracy in its portrayal of police work. The use of the phrase "Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent" also helped to build suspense and intrigue for listeners and viewers, as they wondered what would happen next in the episode's story.
10 Fun Facts about Dragnet
1.) Dragnet debuted on June 3, 1949, on NBC Radio.
2.) The show was created and produced by Jack Webb, who also played the lead character, Sergeant Joe Friday.
3.) Webb insisted on accuracy in the show's police procedures, and he worked closely with the LAPD to ensure that the show was as realistic as possible.
4.) The show's famous opening theme music, known as "Danger Ahead," was composed by Walter Schumann.
5.) One of the show's catchphrases, "Just the facts, ma'am," is often misquoted. In fact, Joe Friday never actually said that exact phrase on the show.
6.) Dragnet was the first police procedural drama on radio, and it helped to popularize the genre.
7.) The show was so successful that it spawned a spinoff, "Dragnet TV," which debuted in 1951 and ran for eight seasons.
8.) The show's episodes were often inspired by real LAPD cases, and many of the show's guest stars were actual police officers.
9.) Webb was known for his meticulous attention to detail, and he would often rewrite scripts at the last minute to make them more accurate.
10.) In addition to its entertainment value, Dragnet also had a positive impact on public perception of the police, and it helped to promote a more realistic portrayal of law enforcement in popular media.
Do you have a favorite Dragnet episode?
Our hand picked favorites here:
For the complete Dragnet collection:
Dragnet Radio Show
The series covered crimes ranging from check fraud, petty theft, and bunko detail to more sensational topics like murder, drug abuse, and taboo topics such as sex crimes and child abduction and murder. With a semi-documentary style, realism would be the show's feature. Jack Webb began hanging out at police headquarters and riding with detective teams on house calls.
Jack Webb Collection
Best known for his no-nonsense role of Sgt Friday on Dragnet, Jack Webb also appeared in other old time radio shows such as Pat Novak for Hire, Jeff Regan, Johnny Modero, Pete Kelly's Blues, and his many guest appearances in Escape, Suspense, The Whistler and much more!