This Was Television On August 23

1959: The original Dragnet concludes

The based-on-true-stories exploits of the LAPD’s stiff-collared Sgt. Joe Friday began on radio in 1949 and spun off a TV version in 1951. Created by and starring Jack Webb, the show helped establish the tone and grammar that future television policiers would follow for decades. One of those future policiers? Dragnet again, resuscitated by Webb and NBC in 1967 for three additional seasons (this time in color, unlike the black-and-white original). Dragnet went through two more incarnations—a syndicated version from 1989-91, and one brief season on ABC in 2003—though both lacked the central figure of Webb, who passed away in 1982.

The by-the-book tales of the Los Angeles Police Department will always be Webb’s most famous legacy. Less well known is that he also created one of pop culture’s first supercuts, a video compilation of all the cursing from the original Battlestar Galactica released under the title “Just the Fraks.”  -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Scott Caan, latter-day Danno (36); Barbara Eden, lamp-dweller (78); Shelley Long, barmaid (63); Jay Mohr, Action antihero (42).

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