Webb originally created the character of Sergeant Joe Friday of the Los Angeles Police Department for the DRAGNET radio show, a police procedural drama which ran for a total of 382 episodes (298 without reruns) on NBC radio from 1949 to 1957.
The huge success of the radio series led to the creation of a television series of the same name, also starring Jack Webb, along with a company of actors he had assembled for his new “Mark VII Limited” productions. This black and white series ran for 276 episodes over eight seasons from 1951-1959. The DRAGNET media franchise was now operating under full steam.
Three years later, in 1954, the tireless and ever enterprising Jack Webb produced a feature length movie also bearing the title of DRAGNET. A remake of this film was later shot in 1966. This latter version was made for TV and used to help that kick off the second DRAGNET television series - this time filmed in color. This latter incarnation of DRAGNET co-starred Harry Morgan (of later M*A*S*H fame) as Officer Bill Gannon. It ran for 98 episodes from 1967-1970.
But Jack Webb was just getting warmed up. The 1967 DRAGNET television series spun off another very popular police television program titled ADAM-12. This series featured uniformed officers as opposed to detectives (as had been the case with DRAGNET). Officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed starred in 174 episodes over 7 seasons, from 1968-1975.
ADAM-12 in turned spun off another Jack Webb production in 1972 titled EMERGENCY. This time, the lead characters were John Gage and Roy DeSoto, two specially trained firefighters, who formed “Squad 51”, part of what was then the innovative field of paramedics. Emergency ran for 129 episodes over six seasons, from 1972-1977 inclusive. Along the way, six EMERGENCY movies were also made for television.
Jack Webb was preparing a third incarnation of DRAGNET in 1982 when he died suddenly of a heart attack. One can only wonder what all the future may have held for television had he lived.
And yet, as successful as Webb was, having created, produced, directed, written and starred in eleven different radio shows, ten different television shows, and seventeen separate films for over fifty years, not everything he undertook succeeded.
For instance, DRAGNET spawned ADAM-12, which in turn spawned EMERGENCY; and all three shows were undeniably successful. But along the way, Webb also attempted to use these programs to spawn additional shows which did not succeed. Among these was an ADAM-12 episode about Los Angeles County assistant district attorneys starring Frank Sinatra Jr. and Sharon Gless. Another was an episode of EMERGENCY about Los Angeles animal control officers starring Albert Popwell and Mark Harmon.
Both of these episodes were obviously shot with the intention of spawning whole new series. Neither succeeded, although the various guest stars went on to fame via other avenues.
In fact, Webb had a number of what might be termed "flops". These include: NOAH'S ARK, 1956-1957, THE D.A.'S MAN, 1959, PETE KELLY’S BLUES, 1959, GE TRUE (1962-1963), THE D.A., 1971-1972, O'HARA, U.S. TREASURY, 1971-1972, HEC RAMSEY, 1972-1974, ESCAPE, 1973, CHASE, 1973-1974, SIERRA, 1974, MOBILE ONE, 1975, LITTLE MO, 1978, PROJECT U.F.O., 1978-1979, and SAM, 1978.
Thus, despite his having earned just about every award the industry has to offer, and even becoming a household name, Jack Webb saw fourteen of his Mark VII Limited productions cancelled after two years or less on the air, with several of these being after only a portion of a season. And yet, ironically, perhaps herein is to found the secret to his success.
You see, time and again, Webb may have offered up a production that was rejected. Despite this, the man simply would not accept defeat. He just kept on offering up new ideas until one eventually succeeded.
And even when one of his ideas for a show succeeded beyond his wildest expectations, as several did, he did not quit as a result and then rest on his laurels. Rather, he still kept on looking to the future. He kept on trying new things. He kept on offering up new ideas for shows. And because of this, he kept on succeeding in life!
Curly Stooge, of the famous Three Stooges comedy team, once offered a keen insight into personal success: “If at first you don’t succeed, keep on suckin’ till you do succeed! Nyuck! Nyuck! Nyuck!” Jack Webb instinctively understood this principle. Most all successful people do! The question, of course, is: “Do you?”
Do you have a dream? Do you have a vision? If so, how willing are you to stick with it until you actually succeed in seeing it come to pass?
In an 1890 interview with Harper’s Magazine, Thomas Edison once stated: "I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed three thousand different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of them reasonable and apparently to be true. Yet only in two cases did my experiments prove the truth of my theory. My chief difficulty, as perhaps you know, was in constructing the carbon filament, the incandescence of which is the source of the light."
How many filaments are you willing to try before you successfully construct your light bulb? Apparently, Mr. Edison averaged 1500 failures for every success. But he finally succeeded. And it is highly likely that so will you and I if we just keep on trying!
Don't believe it? Just ask Thomas Edison. He will help you to see the light. Or else switch on either the radio or the television and ask Jack Webb. He will surely get you all the facts!
EDISON QUOTE: https://www.quora.com/How-many-times-did-Thomas-Alva-Edison-fail-exactly.
DRAGNET (“JUST THE”) FACTS courtesy of www.wikipedia.com. All DRAGNET Radio Shows and a few of the television shows are available online in their entirety. As are many of the Mark VII Limited shows that did not succeed. Of course, those shows that did succeed are also available; only they must be purchased via reputable distributors worldwide.