Of all the memorable television characters that defined the Baby Boomer era, few rose to the iconic level of Dragnet and Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday.
Webb delivered his staccato lines at supersonic speed with the precision of a diamond cutter. More often than not, his speeches to wrongdoers started with “Listen mister…”.
Originally, Dragnet aired on NBC from 1951 to 1959 and was syndicated as “Badge 714.” Due to the increase in drug overdoses among teens, Webb revived the show in 1967 and continued until 1970 as Sgt. Friday and Officer Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan) drove their 1967 Ford Fairlane through the streets of Los Angeles. Webb and Morgan wore the exact same clothing on every episode.
The famous line “Just the facts, ma’am” were never spoken on the show, rather, the phrase was coined by Stan Freeburg in a parody of Dragnet.
Those who remember Dragnet recall the hammering of the Mark VII logo at the end of every episode. What you may not know is that the hands were those of Jack Webb.
Just the facts:
Created by Jack Webb
Jack Webb, Sgt. Joe Friday
Harry Morgan, Officer Bill Gannon
Opening theme: Excerpt from Miklós Rózsa’s score for The Killers
Composer: Walter Schumann (1951-1958)
No. of seasons 8 (1951–1959)
2 (1989–1991 & 2003–2004)
No. of episodes 314 (radio 1949-1957)
276 (TV 1951–1959)
98 (TV 1967–1970)
52 (TV 1989–1991)
22 (TV 2003–2004)
— Source: Wikipedia