The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio The great ones are back in action.


EP1484: Dragnet: The Big Escape

Jack Webb
A friend of Joe's is arrested for a robbery in which Ben was shot.

Original Air Date: January 5, 1950

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EP1478: Dragnet: The Roseland Roof Murders

Jack Webb

Friday and Romero investigate a series of robberies and killings.

Original Air Date: December 29, 1949

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EP1472: Dragnet: A .22 Rifle for Christmas

Jack Webb

Sergeant Friday leads a search for a missing boy whose Christmas President (a .22 rifle) is missing

Original Air Date: December 22, 1949

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EP1466: Dragnet: The Garbage Chute Murders

Jack Webb
Friday investigates the murder of a professional organist who was killed by a man who entered the garbage chute.

Original Air Date: December 15, 1949

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All I Needed to Know I Learned from Dragnet Excerpt: Do Hard Things; Expect Others to Follow

The following is an excerpt of my newest ebook All I Needed to Know I Learned from Dragnet  which examines the careers and histories of seven great detectives of literature, radio and film. This is the first of five lessons learned from the immortal  Joe Friday:

Do Hard Things; Expect Others to Follow

A pop culture stereotype of a recruiter for dangerous jobs is someone who slyly makes you promises about great benefits and retirement packages and never mentions the risks of the job: including the risk you may not live to enjoy the retirement benefits.

This isn’t true of the vast majority of recruiters, and it wasn’t true of Joe Friday. In the episode, “The Interrogation,” Friday and Gannon were worked out of Internal Affairs. They brought in an undercover rookie cop named Culver who’d been identified as a man who committed an armed robbery.

Culver protested his innocence, felt being pulled into internal affairs was the last straw, and threatened to quit the force. He’d already had enough grief after his fiancée left him over his decision to become a police office. After Friday found out Culver was indeed innocent, he hesitated to tell him because Culver would most likely quit.

Instead Friday decided to address Culver’s inclination to leave. Friday correctly guessed that Culver’s fiancée was disappointed because he was a college graduate and she hoped he’d get better job. This was back when a degree actually held that promise.

To address the despondent cop, Friday could have explained that the department had good job security. There will always be a need for someone to ensure public safety. He could have talked about all the opportunities to be promoted within the department to Lieutenant, Captain, or even the Chief’s office. He could have explained there were plenty of women who would respect Culver’s life choices and be supportive of him.

Instead, Friday said that perhaps the fiancée’s fears were justified and explained what it meant to be a cop. It meant having a schedule constantly subject to change, being disrespected at social functions, and being the butt of jokes. “You’re a cop, a flatfoot, a bull, a dick, John Law. You’re the fuzz, the heat; you’re poison, you’re trouble, you’re bad news. They call you everything, but never a policeman.” He also said the job required sacrifice and frugality. “If you count pennies, you can put your kid through college, but you better plan on seeing Europe on your television set.”

Of the hazards of the job, Friday was said, “When you try to arrest a drunken prostitute in a Main St. bar, and she rips your new uniform to shreds, you’ll buy another one out of your own pocket.”

Friday also didn’t promise a job that was great for your emotional well-being and told Culver he would encounter “…underfed kids, beaten kids, molested kids, lost kids, crying kids, homeless kids, hit-and-run kids, broken-arm kids, broken-leg kids, broken-head kids, sick kids, dying kids, dead kids. The old people nobody wants—the reliefers, the pensioners, the ones who walk the street cold, and those who tried to keep warm and died in a $3 room with an unventilated gas heater. You’ll walk your beat and try to pick up the pieces.”

He warns of boredom and promises more of the same if Culver decides to move up to detective. “You’ll do leg work until you’re sure you’ve talked to everybody in the state of California.”

In addition, Friday promised him that the job would include filling out constant paperwork and that it would mean working with difficult decisions and people he didn’t like in prosecuting crimes. “You’ll learn to live with the District Attorney, testifying in court, defense attorneys, prosecuting attorneys, judges, juries, witnesses. And sometimes you’re not going to be happy with the outcome.”

Why would anyone stay on the police force under those conditions?
Friday explained, “There are over five thousand men in this city who know that being a policeman is an endless, glamourless, thankless job that’s gotta be done. I know it, too, and I’m damn glad to be one of them.”

And that was enough for Culver, who said he’d call his fiancée. It’s also enough for tens of thousands of cops across America who find fulfillment in doing something that’s not always fun but is necessary and vital to the security of civilization.

Friday’s honesty about the challenges he faced was not uncommon in that time. Earlier in that decade, President John F. Kennedy, in challenging America to go to the moon declared, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

In addressing Officer Culver, Friday also avoided a key pitfall that many leaders make today. Authors Chip and Dan Heath in their book Made to Stick said that many of those trying to motivate others were “stuck in Maslow’s basement,” a reference to the famous psychologist’s hierarchy of needs, which suggested people’s basic needs—such as food, clothing, shelter, and safety—had to be first be met before they’d care about any higher level needs such as belonging or serving their fellow men. However, we make a mistake if we only seek to motivate everyone by lower-level needs.

According to the Heath brothers, most of the people they interviewed for their book were motivated by higher-level needs but assumed others were motivated only by money and related concerns. Thus many leaders fail to motivate people because they don’t understand what motivated them. Friday believed Culver had been motivated to join the police force by a desire to serve and make a difference in his community. Friday also may have reasoned that, if Culver was only interested in money, ease,and status, he didn’t belong on the police force anyway.

Not all of us are cut out to join the police force, but instead of seeking money or easy work, we can find fulfillment in helping others in whatever our work is or however we volunteer outside of work. If we do find something that motivates us because it tugs at our heart or it’ll make peoples lives better, we should also seek to motivate others to share that vision rather than hoping they’ll see some material benefit.

All I Needed to Know I Learned from Dragnet examines the history and career of seven great fictional detectives and twenty life lessons that can be learned from them. The previous ebook All I Needed to Know I Learned from Columbo is still 

For all other e-readers, All I Needed to Know I Learned from Dragnet and   All I Needed to Know from Columbo are available at


EP1460: Dragnet: Jade Thumb Rings

Jack Webb

Friday and Romero investigate the beating and robbery of a man who just bought two valuable jade thumb rings.

Original Air Date: December 8, 1949

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EP1459: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Charmona Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny is hired to look into the disappearance of a man on a boat which was insured for three times the man's life insurance.

Original Air Date: September 8, 1957

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All I Needed to Know I Learned from Dragnet Released

After the success of All I Needed to Know I Learned from ColumboI'm pleased to announce the release of my latest e-book, All I Needed to Know I Learned from Dragnet  for the Kindle. (The book is available at Smashwords (use coupon code ZV36M to purchase the book for the introductory price of $2.99)  The description of the book follows below:

Detective stories have been entertaining people for decades. The best fictional detectives are old friends who take us on amazing adventures. Along the way, they teach us a lot of life lessons.

Join podcaster and author Adam Graham on this fun journey through the annals of detective fiction. He examines the history and career of seven more of the greatest detectives and police officers from literature, radio, and television in this sequel to All I Needed to Know I Learned from Columbo. Among the way, he’ll examine some key insights from these beloved detectives, including:

-The importance of listening to others from Hercules Poirot
-How to avoid cynicism from insurance-investigator Johnny Dollar
-How to properly motivate others from Sergeant Joe Friday
-The importance of personal integrity from Officer Pete Malloy
-Being understanding of the frailties of others from Frank Cannon

In addition to twenty thought-provoking life lessons, the book also contains several appendices, including Graham’s list of the best Dragnet stories ever and a brief history of two-fisted, weight-challenged detectives. All I Needed to Know I Learned from Dragnet is a great resource for fans of detective fiction.

I've spent most of 2014 working on it and the result is longer than its predecessor with twelve life lessons instead of twenty. The Detectives profiled in this book are:

  • Hercules Poirot
  • Frank Race
  • Johnny Dollar
  • Sergeant Joe Friday
  • Officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed
  • Lieutenant John Weston (Lock Up)
  • Frank Cannon

Through January 11th, All I Needed to Know I Learned from Dragnet is being offered on the Kindle at an introductory price of $2.99 (before it goes to the normal price of $3.99) and All I Needed to Know I Learned from Columbo is on sale for 99 cents in the Kindle store.

For all other e-readers, the books can be purchased through Smashwords and discount obtained through coupon codes.  For All I Needed to Know I Learned from Dragnet,  use coupon code ZV36M, For All I Needed to Know I Learned from Columbo  use coupon code MD72G.

All sales end on January 10th, 2015.


EP1454: Dragnet: The Spring Street Gang

Jack Webb

Friday and Romero investigate a large gang of criminal teenagers.

Original Air Date: December 1, 1949

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EP1448: Dragnet: The Big Little Jesus

Jack Webb
Joe Friday and Frank Smith investigate the theft of a statue of the child Jesus from a local church.

Original Air Date: December 22, 1953

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