Jack Webb was the driving force behind each of these series, as he was with their extensions, which included Adam 12 and Emergency among others.
Down through the years, I have listened to the radio shows while I have walked, exercised, and/or travelled, and viewed the TV episodes as I have had time. Ironically, the catchphrase for which Dragnet is best known, “Just the facts, ma’am”, was never technically uttered on the show by Sgt. Joe Friday. The closest lines were "All we want are the facts, ma'am" and "All we know are the facts, ma'am".
In any event, one of my favorite Episodes is #197, which first aired on March 3, 1953 and was rebroadcast on April 3, 1956 as Episode #346. It is titled “The Big Dream”. (After the first few episodes, all other episodes were titled “the big… something”.)After the ominous, yet instantly recognizable four-note brass and tympani musical introduction ("Dum, de dum, dum!" and technically titled "Danger Ahead"), the episode begins with these words:
"You're a detective sergeant. You're assigned to Robbery Detail. You get a call that a large market has been held up. You have a good description of the thief. Your job... get 'em." The Plot Extension reads: “An old man, poorly dressed, robs a liquor store and is very apologetic about it.”
As expected, after an extensive investigation, Sgt. Friday and his partner dutifully track down the old man who is the culprit behind the robbery. Later, the interrogation reveals his motive. When arrested, he confesses that he stole the money so he could take seventeen other old retired men he had met in the park on a chartered plane trip to San Francisco for an unforgettable three day weekend, all expenses paid. He adds, "There was nothing we didn’t do; there was nothing we didn’t see."
He confesses that he has never done anything of significance with his life. He knew he would be caught and he would wind up in jail for this crime. Nonetheless, he was willing to pay the price because he wanted to go out with a bang, which he did by spending the entire $5200. He concludes the interrogation with this statement: "72 years and nothing to show for it… Only one thing I can say I did with my life… I wasted 72 years!"
Wow! All I can say is that I hope I do not come to the end of my own life and have to say that I have wasted all the precious time God gave to me while I was in this world. Perhaps you share this very sentiment. I certainly hope you do. If so, then most assuredly, now is the time for each of us to do something about it, not then.
Matthew records Jesus’ classic story known as the "Parable of the Talents" (chapter 25, verses 14-30), wherein Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God…
14...will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,a each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ 23“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28“ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
I love this story because it reminds us that we have all been endowed with some level of talent by our Creator. Some may have more talents than others; but none has no talent at all. Thus, the universal question remains, “What will we do with what has been entrusted to us?”
Believe me, whether or not we make it to age 72, beyond that, or nowhere near that, we will each eventually come to the end of our lives. When we do, we will invariably have to face the facts regarding what we did with our time on earth. And when that time comes, the question each of will have to answer is: “Did I waste it all?” Let’s hope the honest answer that can be given is a resounding “No!” … Both for you or for me!
ENTIRE DRAGNET RADIO SERIES IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: https://archive.org/details/Dragnet_OTR. “The Big Dream” itself can be found in the right hand column on this page as episode #179, dated 53-03-29.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/niv/matthew/25.htm.
SEE ALSO: http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/dragnet.asp.