As a younger viewer of this show, it is very interesting for me to come to it for the first time at this stage of my life. I say this because Dragnet ‘67 - Season One is a very serious, straitlaced and hard biting TV show. Contrast this with the movie version of Dragnet released twenty years later and you can certainly understand why I am confused. The movie version, starring Tom Hanks and Dan Akroyd is done in the exact same way that this show is. Yet, it is pretty apparent the situations we are watching are comedic. With this being the only benchmark I had when I watched Dragnet ‘67 - Season One, I watched similar situations, not sure if I should laugh or take them seriously. It only took further viewing for me to realize that my mindset is too “2005” for me to realize that this show from 1967 is as serious as a heart attack. I think it’s funny, simply because all these years I have only seen Hanks and Akroyd in these roles.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching Dragnet ‘67 - Season One. It is very hard not to “get into” Jack Webb’s portrayal of Sergeant Joe Friday. He plays it with such a firm demeanor, yet I felt that there really is a dignity to his portrayal. I know that looking at him now, he would be seen as a “square” or perhaps a “buffoon” or perhaps even worse. Webb really works for me in this role and he acts in such a way that you hope a policemen would act. Harry Morgan does well as Officer Bill Gannon. These two are the stars of the show but I find it interesting that they never assert themselves the way we assume stars might. In fact, it seems more like the subject matter and the plots are what are really the stars, and that Webb and Morgan are simply the conduits into those stories.
Whatever the case, it is clear to see that many of today's shows owe a debt of gratitude to Dragnet ‘67 - Season One. I feel this way because of how this show broached the subject matter. In the late 1960s, it seems that America was only starting to realize that it had a major drug problem on it’s hands. Show’s like Dragnet ‘67 - Season One, seem to illuminate that these problems weren’t in far off places but oftentimes much closer to home. Many of today's current crime shows seem to deal with problems people have in this regard, and I truly think that it’s shows like Dragnet ‘67 - Season One that really got this discussion going.
This was kind of difficult for me. As I am a child of TV, I can take it in almost all the different developments that the medium offers. However, growing up, I rarely listened to the radio. This even includes music because I would rather watch MTV. So, while I do appreciate the datedness of this original Dragnet radio show (titled “The Big Cut”), it is almost hard to listen to because I am so used to seeing it on my TV. I mean, this basically sounds like a Dragnet TV show in which they lifted the sound and then put it on a CD. What really surprised me is the amount of cigarette ads that are layered throughout this show. Just another example to underscore how times change, right?
Full Frame 1.33:1. What really stands out about this show to me are the colors. The way that when we intercut between actors talking and the different backgrounds really accentuate this. They also add a lot to the characterizations, especially those of the main characters. For example, behind Sgt. Friday and Officer Gannon, the backgrounds are usually very stolid and staid. This isn’t to say that Friday and Gannon are 100% this way, but for the most part we are dealing with policemen who are very by the book, and follow their leads and work on their cases to the letter of the law. When they question certain subjects, I find that the colors shift to being neutral. We as viewers are thus forced to ask ourselves questions like, ”Are these people telling the truth?” or “Why would this have happened to this person?”. I know for a lot of people the seriousness of this show probably gets to them. It is shot very plainly, with simple camera setups and even simpler set designs. However, I think all of this really plays hand and hand with how the nuts and bolts of detective work is most likely conducted.
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. A majority of these shows are narrated by Jack Webb. This, mixed with “orchestra-like” music, only serve to underscore the ”Just the facts, ma’am.” seriousness of this show. In fact, this for me was the most confusing part when I initially screened these DVDs. I didn’t know how to take what I was watching. The Dragnet from 1987 was so funny, did such an accurate send up of this show that I was almost startled at how similar these two things were. My sensibilities wanted to laugh whenever Sgt. Friday said something, especially when it was underscored by an image on the screen. I guess the main difference was that Dragnet ‘67 - Season One didn’t have the comic relief that the movie from 1987 has. For example, in this show, Officer Bill Gannon is just as serious as Sgt. Friday. However, in the 1987 movie, Akroyd is the straight man to Hanks comedy strewn portrayal of Pep Streebeck. Still, I would like to screen this show with some other people from my generation because I think that many of them, with today's sensibilities ingrained, would find Dragnet ‘67 - Season One pretty funny. Even though, it certainly wasn’t meant to be.
The packaging on this is done well but not anything too special. It precisely captures the “by the book” aspect of both Friday and Gannon. They are in the forefront , while behind them is a row of police vehicles. On the back are some select pictures from the show, a tiny description, a listing about the “Bonus CD” which is a radio version of the show from 1954. The two disks of actual shows are double sided and housed in their own plastic cases. On both of them is a picture of Jack Webb with the Los Angeles Police Station behind him. The back features episode listings and descriptions of the episodes themselves. If nothing else, the creators of these DVDs are making these sets highly economical. There is a hardness to these covers that really plays into the whole Police-theme of the show.
I am very happy to have Dragnet ‘67 - Season One on DVD. I am such a fan of police stories and especially older crime shows like Perry Mason, that to own these shows is a real treat. As they are based on actual cases that the LAPD had to deal with, this really adds a level of hyper realism to these shows. Sure, they are put across as slick, clean pieces of TV, but at the same time there is a grittiness to these officers. They have been on the job for awhile. They have seen things so they know certain things that we as regular civilians could never put together. They know when people are lying, they know what motivates certain folks to commit crimes, they are the best at their jobs and they are always, always professional.
Dragnet ‘67 - Season One is very well done TV show and something that fans are going to be happy to own.
Dragnet was released .