World Wide Webb

a box full of junk

Wednesday is the day we at The Nest shuffle up the cards and deal from the middle of the deck to try and find our post idea.  It’s another wild and wacky edition of Random Image Inspiration!  Let’s jump start the Randomator and see if it spits out something other than engine lubricant this time…

9, 54, 64, 64

The 9th post in my Reader was this one by Pam

The 54th word in that post is “badges”

The 64th word in that post is “early”

Putting “badges early” into Google Images brought this up as the 64th result…

Upon seeing today’s randomly chosen image, did this immediately pop into your head?


It sure did mine.  Dragnet was one of my favorite shows on TV as a kid…. and like most of the programs I liked as a kid, it was a rerun that took place in a decade when I wasn’t even a gleam in anyone’s eye yet.

You know, Joe, you can’t smoke on TV anymore.

Dragnet was the brainchild of Jack Webb, who played the straight laced police sergeant Joe Friday in all iterations of the series until his death in 1982.  And when I say straight laced, I mean he was uncompromisingly rigid and monotone.  Unlike the many later police procedurals Dragnet would help inspire, Sgt. Friday was everything as black and white in the eyes of the law, and there would be no deals or looking the other way.  As he told many a dope addict he hauled off to jail as they cried in their bong, if you don’t like the laws, then get them changed!

Sounds groovy, man. Like, let me text my congressman.

The best known Dragnet series, and the one I’ll always consider to be THE Dragnet, is the late 60’s revival that ran for four seasons from 1967-71.  That series brought Harry Morgan aboard as Friday’s partner Bill Gannon… whose slightly more laid back attitude and irreverent conversation served as a great foil to the no nonsense sergeant.  Since it also took place at the height of the hippie counterculture movement, illegal drugs were often at the center of its episodes… as well as all the anti-drug propaganda you could tolerate in a half hour drama!

Don’t listen to those old guys. I gotchur good stuff right here!

Dragnet’s introduction is famous for a multitude of reasons.  There’s that unmistakable theme….


The theme is titled “Danger Ahead,” and is referenced all the time in pop culture when someone is about to be busted for something.

There’s also the plain, red background upon which only a Los Angeles Police Department badge can be seen… Joe Friday’s badge.  Jack Webb chose the number 714 for his badge as an homage to baseball slugger Babe Ruth, who at the time was the all time leader in homeruns with 714.

And of course, there’s the infamous disclaimer…

The story you are about to see is true.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I didn’t do it, man! And you can’t prove nothin’!

Dragnet’s stories were in fact inspired by true cases from the LAPD… although nothing as fancy, gruesome or exotic as you’ll find on most police shows these days.  A typical case for Friday and Gannon might involve rounding up an embezzler, trying to track down a missing person, or seeking out the fake Timothy Leary to give him a half hour lecture on the dangers of LSD…

Hey! Hands off my bong, pig!

And amazingly, despite the ho-hum plots and mostly low key acting, the episodes were nonetheless riveting and usually delivered up a satisfying colclusion that often resulted in the perp being sentenced to the gas chamber in San Quentin.

That’ll teach me to double park in front of a donut shop.

Oh, there were some more exciting murder and robbery cases.  Probably my two favorite episodes of the 98 from the color Dragnet run involved a trouble kid who stole a hand grenade from his father’s war collection and used it to hijack a backyard party all of the cool kids were throwing that he didn’t like.  That episode probably featured Dragnet’s most tense and impossible ending…

It took Bill about six minutes to get the pin back in the “live” grenade while Joe held onto it. I’d say that grenade was probably a dud.

And the episode, which was so bizarre it was practically a comedy, involving one Mr. Daniel Loomis… one of the most flamboyantly narcissistic villains you’ll ever see in anything that was based on reality.  And yes, one of the gags in that episode was that Daniel insisted that everyone, including the handful of girlfriends and fiances he was scamming, call him “mister.”  He was sent to San Quentin as well, where he will be the one calling everyone else mister…

Thank you sir, may I please have another?

Would you like one last fact on Dragnet?

Despite it being considered Sgt. Friday’s catchphrase, Jack Webb never uttered “Just the facts, ma’am” at any point in any version of Dragnet.  Put it up there with “Beam me up, Scotty” as another ubiquitous TV catchphrase that was never actually said on the show it’s associated with…

Looks like they know exactly where to find Mr. Snuggle Bear…


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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19 Responses to World Wide Webb

  1. Oh my GAWD! The rush of ‘way back’ machine and throw-back memories flooding my brain pan is ….. does Fuzzywig have some of that good stuff left over that he’d donate? I’s po’. I loved Dragnet (even though I’d been born shortly before it aired) and my teenage years were filled with watching those re-runs over and over. I fully agree that Dragnet might be the best ‘reality cop show’ ever made. That messed up film (circa 1980s sometime) with Dan Ackroyd and Tom Hanks (who probably still denies he had anything to do with it) was a poor second and did NOT honor the tradition of what Dragnet meant to scores of us from the 60s and 70s. But you did explain (inadvertently) how that movie got made…it was after Jack Webb exited the world stage permanently. I doubt he’d have put his seal of approval on that. That film was good for wasting a couple of hours though, possibly lit on whatever substance one used for getting high. Irony? Perhaps.

    • The movie was pretty stupid (though my early teenage self didn’t seem to care), and you’re right, Jack Webb would have never greenlighted that atrocity. What’s funny is I found a page with the poster from that movie, and while Tom Hanks mug is there with Dan’s in front of the badge, he isn’t actually listed as one of the stars! Boy was his career in the dumpster before Philadelphia and Forrest Gump…

  2. Yes it did conjure images of the tv show, as well as the film remake by Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks. Which wasn’t bad, but wasn’t good, lol.

  3. Oh gosh I really do remember watching that – it SEEMED exciting at the time. HAHA Oh Sunday nights my husband and I listen to the radio when they have Old Time Radio shows from 7PM until whenever. They always do “Dragnet” among others like “Gunsmoke”, “Johnny Dollar” and a host of others. It’s a whole lot of fun listening to the shows and remembering. Not nearly as exciting (or colorful) as the Shelf does them of course!


    • I don’t know if the Shelf critters could do a radio program or not… but I had an idea for a silent movie go through my head once. Mitzi would be crushed that she couldn’t show off her sex appeal through the radio…

  4. Ally Bean says:

    I know I’ve seen a few episodes of Dragnet, but didn’t know it was based on true cases. It seems campy by today’s standards, but that makes if fun to watch?

    • I’ll take the no frills style of drama Dragnet used to some of the outrageous things that happen on shows like Law & Order and CSI. I remember thinking when I was a kid that those episodes really happened exactly like they occurred on the show…. but I know better now. Even in the 60’s, reality TV had plenty of room for creative license…

  5. Aww, Joe Friday…we could use his no-nonsense police approach these days.

  6. ghostmmnc says:

    I used to watch this show all the time, and that music – can’t forget it. So they never said those phrases? Interesting… I thought for sure they did on both shows. 🙂

    • I have a distinct memory of Friday saying “Just the facts” without the ma’am part in one of the color episodes… but apparently he didn’t even say exactly that at any time. I’ve never seen an episode of the original Star Trek series… but I’d heard that fact about Kirk never saying that years ago. It’s common for that to happen for some reason… Sherlock Holmes never said “Elementary, my Dear Watson” in any of Doyle’s stories!

  7. Trisha says:

    Wow, I had totally forgotten about Dragnet! I don’t think I ever watched it that much but I do vaguely remember it. It might have been on a channel that our antenna only picked up once in awhile. A shelf critter theatre episode of that would be hilarious!

    • It’s been floating around somewhere on reruns almost constantly for the past 40 or so years. One of those digital channels that shows only reruns usually has it in their lineup.

      The SCT episode got so close to getting made last year…. but it would have had to be a two parter since it was so long. Of course, I had Chip cast as Sgt. Friday, and Fuzzywig as his partner… which would have led to all kinds of hilarity since Friday was so anti-Good Stuff. Fleabag was going to join them as a K-9 officer. Rainy’s precious rain gauge getting stolen was going to be the crime… but I could never settle on the story behind it.

  8. The 1984 movie with Dan Ackroyd and Tom Hanks was a favorite of ours. It was so dry, it was hilarious. I watched the original too. I think it was still in its first run when I saw it as a kid, but I was really young. As in child. But the movie was a howl.

  9. draliman says:

    Sometimes one of these types of programmes seeing everything in “black and white” is like a breath of fresh air. A lot of stuff these days gets so complicated.

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