Dragnet 1967 - Season 1
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Get ready for all the real-life crime stories of the most influential police drama in the history of television: Dragnet 1967. Producer, creator and director Jack Webb stars as tough-as-nails Sergeant Joe Friday who, along with his partner, Officer Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan, M*A*S*H*), are on the beat tracking down clues, criminals and corporate corruption. Now all 17 episodes, plus a bonus CD featuring a recording from an original Dragnet radio show, are available in one DVD boxed set for the first time ever. Dragnet 1967: Season 1 is the Dragnet collection that crime fans have been waiting for!
"This is the city--Los Angeles, California." "I carry a badge." "My name's Friday." And who could forget "Just the facts, ma'am"? These lines, delivered in classic deadpan style by actor-director Jack Webb's Sgt. Joe Friday, are among the hallmarks of Dragnet, one of television's earliest and most influential police dramas. And the appearance on DVD of all 17 episodes from the show's first season (1967), covering two discs (plus a third with a radio broadcast from 1954) and running more than seven hours, is a treat. Decades after the fact, when vivid, often graphically violent cop shows like the C.S.I. and Law & Order franchises (all of them clearly owing a debt to Webb's show) dominate the airwaves, Dragnet seems tame, even quaint. Violence and gunplay are kept to a minimum. Special effects are non-existent, and many scenes are talky and static; "The Big Interrogation" takes place almost entirely in a single room in the police station, and includes a four-minute speech by Friday about the plight of a police officer ("You're a cop, a flatfoot, a bull, a dick, John Law they call you everything, but never a policeman"). The stories are uncomplicated, the criminals are usually dunderheads, and "square" barely begins to describe the overall tone (witness "The Big LSD," a risible depiction of a "hippie" on a psychedelic sojourn). Still, one gets the feeling that we're laughing not at but with Webb, the writers, and the rest of the cast (including Harry Morgan, later of M*A*S*H*, as sidekick Bill Gannon). By about halfway through the season, with episodes like "The Big Candy Story" and "The Big Fur Burglary" (an almost whimsical tale wherein Gannon pretends to be an expert furrier), it appears that Webb and company are enjoying themselves just as much as the viewers are; at the same time, the characters' personal lives are explored in a bit more detail, which adds some welcome texture.
Sure, it's dated--everybody smokes, everyone's white, and character descriptions like "strange-behaving juvenile" are more common than not. But in the end, the Dragnet approach, stilted though it may sometimes be, is a refreshing antidote to the oh-so-hip cop melodramas that have come along since. Best, and simplest, of all, Dragnet 1967 - Season 1 is downright entertaining. --Sam Graham
When the original show ("Dragnet" (1951)) ended, Joe Friday had been promoted to Lieutenant. However, Jack Webb decided to make Friday a sergeant again for the new series because "few people remember that Friday was promoted toward the end of our run. We think it's better to have Joe a sergeant again. Few detective-lieutenants get out into the field."
Jack Webb and Harry Morgan wore the same suits for the entire run of the television series.
Through all 100 episodes of the series, Friday is only seen wearing something other than his regular suit four times: three times for undercover work and once for a scene in his apartment.
Episodes from this series were used as training tools by the real-life LAPD.
When Jack Webb revived the show in 1966, it was in response to the growing tide of teen-age drug use, especially LSD.
Jack Webb would pay $25 to any officer who submitted a story that was used for an episode plot.
During the run of this version, the title would change to reflect the year that it was broadcast in (Dragnet 1967, Dragnet 1968 and so on).
Friday's badge number (seen at the beginning and end of each episode) is 714. Badge 714 belonged to Sgt. 'Dan Cooke' , the technical advisor. The badge has been retired and displayed at the LAPD Academy's Museum.
The pair of hands seen hammering the Mark VII logo at the end of every episode belong to Jack Webb.
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As for the headline? Jack Webb introduced my parents at a weekend party of his back in 1960, when times were even simpler, and Dragnet was still black & white. I'll never not watch it.
Clearly, this set has been remastered. I found the prints to be flawless.
All 17 programs were there in color. The first disk contains 7 programs on side A, 7 programs on side B, and the second disk contains 3 programs on side A and nothing on side B.
All of the problems appear to have been addressed, making this item a GOOD BUY if you love this series.
The series is great and is as I remember it. I will say this though, the 1950's DRAGNET is superior even if it was in black and white. Actually being in black and white enhanced the atmosphere of the show. You can find some of these episodes in DRAGNET THE BIG COLLECTION here at AMAZON.
There is a [surprise] third disc, a CD that is from the earlier 1950s Dragnet Radio show. I haven't played that yet so I can't comment. I'm only commenting on the 2 DVDs here;
Everything played fine. The DVD player I was using is only 3 years old [I bought in 2009] so I don't know if that made a difference [?] to what the the older [2005 & after] bad reviews said.
The only reason I gave this item "4 STARS" instead of "5" is that [like some other reviews said] they put several episodes on both sides of "disc 1" then only 3 episodes on the first side of "disc 2", leaving side 2 of disc 2 "blank". It would've made more "quality sense" [to my humble view anyway] to spread all the episodes out across all 4 sides.
The picture & sound quality is very nice [to my expectations], better than it was when certain cable TV channels used to show DRAGNET. I will not name this channel because they've gone downhill sadly like most cable channels over the passed 10 years -- but that's another topic NOT for this DVD review. [!] [:-)]
On the DVD itself [NOT the original film it was transferred from] there was also a "scratchy-static noise" that lasted a few seconds during the middle of the episode titled "The Big Kidnapping" [episode 3 on side 1 of disc 1] BUT THE DVD ITSELF DID NOT SKIP, IT DID NOT FREEZE & IT DID NOT JUMP TO THE NEXT CHAPTER.
EVERYTHING PLAYED FINE.
I noticed this set was originally released in 2005, but the packaging cover that Amazon shows IS NOT like the one I received. Mine shows Jack Webb [without Harry Morgan] collaged with L.A.'s city hall. Anyway, no big deal.
In my humble view [again] when people complain about quality, I personally wish they'd isolate EACH level of a product and NOT just say "oh, this whole thing stinks" just because of one tiny defect even though the rest is fine.
For example some of the scenes look "grainy" -- yeah -- THAT'S because they were stock footage of L.A. or Hollywood from either Universal's "second unit"[?] team or who knows what source. But all the acting shots, with the actors in or outdoors, the quality looked & sounded as good as it could be with these shows then "studio standard".
I've always liked this show because I grew-up near the areas it was filmed so it's fun to see how these locations looked years ago. Adam-12 is cool [my opinion] for the same reason. Some of these places or streets [etc.] haven't changed much either since those days.
On the other side, even if "the stories were true & the names were changed" there's that gritty under-belly that has not changed even to this day.
Anyway, my DVDs played fine.