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25 Episodes from 1952-1958, black and white starring Jack Webb
5 DVDs in a collectible tin box. Includes a booklet with a bio of Webb and history of the show. Bonus disc features include a trivia quiz and direct scene access
Episode titles from the back of the box:
The Big Cast
The Big hands
The Big War
The Big Trunk
the Big Break
The Big Phone call
The Big Frame
The Big Frank
The Big False Mate
The Big Little Jesus
The Big Betty
The Big Bar
The Big .22 Rifle for Christmas
The Big Boys
The Big Seventeen
The Big Crime
The Big Girls
The Big Thief
The Big Shoplift
The Big Show
The Big Bird
The Big Hit and Run Killer
The Big September Man
The Big Producer
These episodes are much more noir-ish than the later shows that most of us are familiar with. The show is less pessimistic than most film noir, but still gritty and deliberately realistic. Jack Webb is outstanding, showing the passion that was robbed from him after filming hundreds of episodes and seeing his career stagnate into one role. This is a brilliant taste of the original, archetypical cop show, that, as Webb observed, "was as real as a guy pouring a cup of coffee." If you like Dragnet from any era, want to see how it became the much copied and much parodied phenomenon, know how cop shows got started, or just enjoy an outstanding bit of 50s drama, then you should drink a big gulp of Joe Friday and buy this set.
1. The Big Show
2. The Big Shoplift
3. The Big Hit-Run Killer
4. The Big Crime
Dragnet focused on the methodical procedures used by the police to solve cases and employed a documentary film approach to tell its stories. The 1950s black & white version of Dragnet is generally recognized as being superior to the color version that appeared in the late 1960s and was largely based on the radio version of Dragnet that began in the late 1940s. Although Sgt. Joe Friday (Dragnet creator Jack Webb) had several different partners in the 1950s series, all episodes on this DVD feature Ben Alexander as Officer Frank Smith, arguably Friday's best known partner, and certainly the best known of the 1950s version.
All of the episodes included are in the public domain and so you will find them on other Dragnet DVDs. However, the episode "The Big Crime" is tougher to find than the others and deals with the crime of child molestation, which is somewhat surprising to see in a 1950s television series.
The video images and audio from this Alpha Video release are generally good, though the episode "The Big Show" has some print damage in the early goings. Expect to see some film speckles and the occasional scratches on each of the episodes. That said, this is a decent release for fans of the original Dragnet television series.
This set comes in a colorful, embossed tin box. Inside is a well-made, fold-out holder with five DVDs. Each DVD contains five Dragnet episodes from the 1950's for a total of 25 episodes. The picture and sound quality of each episode is above average. Keep in mind that these public domain Dragnet episodes are not TCM quality, so you will see some scratches and imperfections on each film. But, for the most part, these classic episodes are easy to watch.
Unlike most bargain bin collections of Dragnet's early public domain episodes, this set is certainly a cut above the rest, and it is evident that Madacy put some time and effort into this affordable collection.
Also, included is a booklet that contains some great pictures of Jack Webb and the original Dragnet cast from the 1951-59 series. Also, a brief history of Dragnet is presented from it's inception with the 1946 noir cult film "He Walks By Night" in which Webb played the part of a police forensic scientist, to Dragnet on radio in 1949, and then to its transition to early television in 1951.
Other reviewers have listed all 25 episodes, so I won't do that here. If you are looking for a nice selection of Dragnet's 1951-59 shows, chances are that you will not be disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ok i love this dvd set but there was one odd thing i noticed while watching the 1st dvd ; episodes 1 and 5 were switched (meaning when i pressed for episode 1 it would play... Read morePublished 3 months ago by tiff
Like this 24 episodes,and video you can put on your ipod, it was an easy transfer.Published 6 months ago by penam
Love the original Dragnet series over the 1967-1970 version.
My only issue with this dvd set is the first episode. Read more
LOVE DRAGNET AND THE DVDS DISKS PLAY WELL-NO PROBLEMS ALSO LIKE THE METAL BOX THEY COME IN!!!Published 11 months ago by David Mills
I don't think I ever saw these shows as reruns back when I was a kid, but enjoy the heck out of them now. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Arnold H.
" This is the city, Los Angeles California." I always liked Jack Webb's opening narration to Dragnet and this collection is a sort of "best of" of the fifties... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Mr. CA SMITH
These shows are based on the format established by Webb on his Radio Show Dragnet. The show , legend has it, that this show was based on what Webb learned when he appeared as a... Read morePublished 13 months ago by stephen rosenberg