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From the Archives: 'Dragnet' based on the LAPD

From the Archives: 'Dragnet' based on the LAPD
Feb. 24, 1967: On the set of "Dragnet," actor Jack Webb, left, who plays Sgt. Joe Friday, Los Angeles police Sgt. Dan Cook and associated producer Bob Cinader take a break. (Harry Chase / Los Angeles Times)

The LAPD worked closely with the television series, which some called a public relations machine for the department.

Staff writer Don Page wrote in the March 10, 1967 Los Angeles Times:

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"Just getting the facts, ma'am," have become a punctuation for every parody of television's Dragnet–and they have been interminable.

People are more familiar with Jack Webb's relentless, monotoned investigations than they are with actual police procedure. And Webb's Sgt. Joe Friday is better known in communities everywhere that his real life counterparts.

But the LAPD doesn't mind a bit.

The department considers Dragnet as an accurate reflection of its methods and morals, ideals and goals. It recognizes Webb's production as completely honest in concept and about 99% truthful in execution.

Unmistakable, few TV producers are Jack Webb's peers at gathering evidence, getting the facts ma'am.

Webb is such a maniac on authenticity, it is doubtful if he'd film the Civil War unless he could get the original cast. These days, however Jack delegates most of the details to R. A. (Bob) Cinader, his associate producer and story editor.

Cinader, a bright young man, is in charge of everything from files to phone calls, public relations and sponsor liaison, pre-production planning and in-production headaches. Also, he's the head scout–he gets the facts. …

The original "Dragnet" television series appeared from 1951-1959. In 1967, the series was relaunched with Harry Morgan replacing actor Ben Alexander.

This photo by staff photographer Harry Chase was published in the March 10, 1967 Los Angeles Times.

This post was originally published in 2010.

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