Were DRAGNET Episodes Really Based On True Stories?

I’m pretty sure they weren’t…but then how did Jack get away with saying they were?

Please don’t cite the episode about the King assassination–I wanna know if a doped-up couple really did let their baby drown in a bathtub!

It’s my understanding that they were, indeed, based on true stories. In fact, I remember seeing some shows that I recognized. That’s not to say that every fact was totally accurate or that everything about the crime was condensed into 1/2 hour.

Welcome to sdmb SadTomato. We are planning to have a So. Cal dopefest on March 8, 2003.

LaDope - here’s the info

I’ll be looking for your rsvp and hope to meet you :smiley:

Kathy :

Much thanks for the welcome and the invite!

Unfortunately, when it comes to social gatherings, I’m downright phobic.

Hope it’s a big success though!

The original radio and TV series were all based on true stories. I have no idea about the current, no-Jack-Webb version.

I didn’t know whether to start a new thread, but I’ll start here.

In the opening scene, the “evidence gatherer” cut a finger off the body, ostensibly to get a finger print.

Is this standard procedure? I’ve never seen it before.

What I’ve read meshes with Bricker about the Jack Webb era Dragnet. Webb was something of a police groupie, especially the LAPD. Between his friendships with members of the police force and his cop friendly storytelling, it shouldn’t have been hard to get the LAPD’s cooperation or even it’s endorsement. Especially since his shows emphasized day to day investigating and legwork over gunfights and sensational plots and action (well, except for those 60s episodes about hippies and drugs).

IIRC, LAPD police records were considered public records and anyone could look at them. Webb got the idea of turning them into TV.

In fact, when they did the series “N.Y.P.D.” in the 60s, TV Guide commented on how they couldn’t used New York police records like they could in LA because NY records were confidential.

They will, occasionally, in the case of badly damaged/decomposed bodies, remove the fingertips in order to better analyse the prints. It’s a lot easier to work with a fingertip than a whole, decomposing corpse.

I can’t find anything at Snopes saying so, but I believe Snopes & wife are very skeptical that they were all based on true stories - I think they’ve said (on their message board?) that some of them weren’t. Maybe I’m misremembering though.

Anyway, even if there were some non-true ones, they probably were the result of urban legends in the LAPD that were passed to Webb and believed as true, both by passer and passee.

The only evidence (weak) I can find for that is a sidelong reference to LSD making kids go blind: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/drugs/lsdsun.htm

I have a hunch some of them were so changed you wouldn’t recognize the story they were based on.

And I recall the episode where the ‘baby’ (who looked about 4) drowned because his parents were so stoned.

Well, I stumbled across this :


The impression seems to be that the writers took much “poetic license”–

“A drunk forgot to feed his dog and it died? Tell ya what, let’s make it a stoned husband and wife let their baby daughter drown in a bathtub.”