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RERUNS TO RE-WATCH

Nick Books 'Dragnet'

December 30, 1990|SUSAN KING | Times Staff Writer

Dum-de-dum-dum. Dum-de-dum-dum. Dum-de-dum-dum-DUMMMM."

"My name's Friday. I'm a cop."

Even a casual coach potato will be quick to recognize the theme song and catch phrase from the detective series Dragnet, which joins the Nick at Nite lineup Friday with four hours of the series, which starred stoic Jack Webb as LAPD Detective Joe Friday.

One of the most successful police series ever produced, "Dragnet" made its mark by utilizing the documentary-style narration by Friday and dramatizing actual cases from the Los Angeles police files.

"Dragnet" was created by the laconic Webb, who also directed the series. It began as a radio series in 1949.

TV audiences caught a preview of the series on the "Chesterfield Sound Off Time" in December, 1951. The series began its first 7 1/2-year run on NBC on Jan. 3, 1952. Barton Yarborough, who played Friday's partner Sgt. Ben Romero on the radio and on the TV preview, died of a heart attack shortly after that broadcast.

Barney Phillips took over as Sgt. Ed Jacobs in the spring of 1952 and Herb Ellis played Officer Frank Smith in the fall of 1952. Veteran character actor Ben Alexander took over as Frank Smith from 1952 to '59.

Ray Anthony and His Orchestra turned Walter Schumann's "Dragnet" theme song into a million-seller in 1953. Satirist Stan Freberg also scored a hit with his spoof of the music, "St. George and the Dragonet."

"Dragnet" returned to the NBC lineup in 1967. The series, now in color, featured Harry Morgan as Friday's new partner, Bill Gannon. The new "Dragnet" left the airwaves in 1970. Nick at Nite will be repeating these episodes.

In 1987, Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd starred in the feature film version of "Dragnet," and last year a new syndicated version of "Dragnet" hit the small screen with John Wayne's son, Ethan. This series was not a success.

"Friday's Friday" airs 8 p.m.-midnight Friday on Nickelodeon. "Dragnet" airs nightly at 9:30 beginning Saturday on Nickelodeon.

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