The granddaddy of the police procedural, Dragnet had been a radio hit since 1949 before getting a TV tryout in December 1951, as an episode of the anthology series Chesterfield Sound-Off Time. The success of that pilot led NBC to launch a regular series premiering on this date. Created by and starring Jack Webb as the LAPD’s unflappable Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet based its episodes on true stories and focused on the meat and potatoes of police detective work, all guided by Webb’s laconic narration. It ran eight seasons until 1959, before being resuscitated for a further four seasons from 1967–1970 -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: Dabney Coleman, commodore (81); Dan Harmon, Communitarian (40); Robert Loggia, cat burglar (83); Jason Marsden, voice actor (38); Danica McKellar, childhood crush (38); Earl William “Madman” Muntz, salesman (d. 1987); Victoria Principal, Ewing kin (63); Matt Ross, polygamist (43).