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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
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Top Customer Reviews
I think though that Universal could've given us some more on this release, though - it's formatted on two double-sided DVDs, with one side of the second DVD having only three episodes and the other side blank! (The first DVD has seven episodes per side). There's no commentary, no essays or explanation on how and what Jack Webb's approach was in formulating the series and having to deal with things in re-launching the series for the 1960s (you'll notice, for instance, that Friday and Gannon now inform the perps their rights under the Miranda decision). Spacing out the DVDs better as single-sided ones with graphics would've been nice, and what would've been even cooler would have been to include the "Dragnet 1966" TV movie (that was never aired until a few years ago on a cable network in the US) that wound up being the thing that green-lighted the new series - among other things, it tied up some stuff from the 1950s series, and introduced Harry Morgan's Gannon properly.
The CD from Radio Spirits was a nice surprise, but "The Big Cut" wasn't one of the better episodes from the radio series. I would've picked something like Webb's personal favourite, "The Big Trio", or the chilling "Claude Jimmerson" (which actually came with a parental warning!) or "The Werewolf" or "The Big Break".Read more ›
DVD Features Include:
* Bonus CD
* Radio Spirits presents "The Big Cut," based on actual case files of the Los Angeles Police Department (originally aired Septmeber 14, 1954)
DVD Episodes Include :
[Disc One Side One]
The Big LSD
The Big Explosion
The Big Kidnapping
The Big Interrogation
The Big Masked Bandits
The Big Bank Examiners
The Big Hammer
[Disc One Side Two]
The Big Candy Store
The Big Fur Burglary
The Big Jade
The Big Shooting
The Big Accident
The Big Bookie
The Big Subscription Racket
[Disc 2 Side A]
The Big Gun
The Big Kids
The Big Bullet
Disc 2, Side B (No Programming)
Disc 3 (Bonus Radio Episode) CD Audio
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
With all this available space, where are the extras? The television movie, the network promos....maybe even the Dragnet routine with Jack Webb from "The Tonight Show" or some full episodes from the 50's series? As for the audio disk, the "I Love Lucy" sets contain a full program on EACH of the DVD disks!
Add to that the programming of the disks themselves....the user is required to skip over promos each time the disk starts. At the beginning of each episode, the viewer must watch the new "[...]" logo. It cannot be skipped over, as there is no chapter stop at the end of it. And the end of each episode, while including the "Mark VII" sequence, has had the Universal Television sequence removed.
But, of course, none of this matters if the DVD's don't play all the way through without skipping. And, in usual Universal Studio form, these skip like crazy.
Univeral is KNOWN for putting out junk DVD's and these are no exception. (If you don't believe me, read all the reviews about the Abbott and Costello collections, the Dracula collection, the Frankenstein collection, Kojak, The Munsters, the Airport collection....etc., etc.
I love Dragnet....but this set is, without a doubt, a huge ripoff!!!!
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.
If you like Dragnet this set is a must have. My question is are they going to release the remaining seasons? It is a true
kick in the teeth to fans when a company releases a DVD set and does not follow up with the entire series. I believe that if they are going to realease a DVD set, they should commit to realeasing the entire collection! (The same thing is going on with Adam-12!) Thankfully, Universal saw it fit to release Emergency Season 2.
Universal, you baited us with Dragnet and Adam-12 Season One.
Maybe sales were not up to your standards, however, the die hard fans bought them. Please don't let us down.
Oh man, this is THE classic Dragnet that we baby boomers grew to and know love. Jack Webb teamed this go around with Harry Morgan as Officer Bill Gannon. From Blue Boy to Officer Gidion C. Dengle, Friday, Gannon and a host of repetitive actors, many back from the 1950's run, provide a gritty and sometime humorous look from the police officers view. Sometimes very stiff with corny acting, (intentional by director Webb) this entire series provides entertainment for all with many episodes done extremely well and on point. Kudos to Universal Home Video for finally bringing the '70's' Dragnet to DVD. Please don't make us wait too long for Seasons 2, 3 & 4.
Update - 06/08/05
I take my kudos to Universal Home Video back. It is great to see these classic episodes again, but do you think they could have cleaned the prints up just a bit? They look as if they mastered them off of TV Land! Disc 1 is cluttered with Side A having playable issues; my original purchase went back to the vendor 3 times for a playable replacement. Disc 2 is sparse with only 3 episodes and a blank Side B. I DO have an older player but I don't have any problem playing any of the other 'modern' DVD purchases lately as another reviewer suggested. It seems that this is a "UNIVERSAL" Studios problem as I have no problems with Image Entertainment and Paramount Studios TV series sets. And I agree; they should have included the 1966 movie as they kindly did with EMERGENCY!.
I'm starting to think that "Thieves, bums, & winos" and even Don Negler himself mastered this mess. I subtract 2 stars for this dismal atrocity from Universal!
It appears??? that Universal Studios has resolved the DVD manufacturing defects with the Season 2 release of EMERGENCY! I say to Universal bring on the rest of Webb TV; as in the rest of Dragnet, EMERGENCY!, and Adam-12.
It appears that Universal Studios and others are farming out distribution of TV season sets on DVD. Shout! Factory will be releasing season 2 of Adam-12 in September. Could the rest of Dragnet, Adam-12, Emergency and even other WEBB TV projects be making their way to our DVD players? Cross your fingers!!!
Hey, crossing my fingers worked; at least for Dragnet! Way to go SHOUT! Factory. Woo Hoo!!!!!!
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