The show started raw but it was Webb's tenacity to keep it as real as possible that sold NBC on the show. Eventually the famous theme music was added and the opening line...Ladies and Gentlemen...the story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent... DUM-DE-DUM-DUM!
It was Jack Webb's classic delivery of Joe Friday's lines that made the realness come to life. He was a cop's cop no thrills manner of speaking and by the book Detective. He had 2 partners on the series, first was Ben Romero played by Barton Yarborough who died during the series run and he was eventually replaced with a new character of Frank Smith played by Ben Alexander. Both characters added a bit of humor to the show but were true officers and helped Friday solve the crimes. The show many times proved that crime did not pay and handled many topics that had never been touched on radio, like sex crimes, pornography, drug abuse and crimes against children.
Like Gunsmoke which started around the same time Dragnet was known for it's amazing sound effects and employed five soundmen to work on the series. Realism was important and steps the Detective's took to the background noises of a real police station, Dragnet wanted to put the audience in the shoes of a real policeman's world.
The show would eventually start naming all the show "The Big..." for example... The Big Dare, The Big Mother, The Big Death...The first show to use this system The Big Man was 2 part show but here is the first show to became the rule...The Big Girl from Feb. 9th 1950...