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

4Jul/150

EP1616: Dragnet: The Big Mink

Jack WebbFriday and Romero investigate the robbery of a furrier.

Original Air Date: June 22, 1950

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27Jun/150

EP1610: Dragnet: The Big Press

Jack Webb
Joe Friday and Ben Romero investigate a purse-snatching spree.

Original Air Date: June 15, 1950

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20Jun/150

EP1604: Dragnet: The Big Smart Guy

Jack Webb
A woman is murdered in her apartment and Joe Friday and Ben Romero suspect her husband was involved.

Original Air Date: June 8, 1950

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13Jun/150

EP1598: Dragnet: The Big Fake

Jack Webb

Friday and Romero investigate an allegation of robbery by a police officer.

Original Air Date: June 1, 1950

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6Jun/150

EP1592: Dragnet: The Big Key

Jack Webb
Friday and Romero investigate a brutal Christmas eve murder where the only clue is a single.

Original Air Date: May 25, 1950

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30May/150

EP1586: Dragnet: The Big Pug

Jack Webb
Friday and Romero look for a duo who robbed a grocery store and assaulted its elderly owner.

Original Air Date: May 18, 1950

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23May/150

EP1580: Dragnet: The Big Knife

Jack Webb
Twenty-one girls have been knifed at a local high school. Joe Friday and Ben Romero must catch the perpetrator before he kills one of his victims.

Original Air Date: May 11, 1950

16May/150

EP1574: Dragnet: The Big Badge

Jack Webb

Joe Friday and Ben Romero hunt a man who holds up parked cars while pretending to be a police officer.

Original Air Date: May 4, 1950

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16May/150

Book Review: The Case of the Courteous Killer

In 1958, Dragnet had been with America for nearly a decade, with 318 Radio performances coupled with more than 200 TV episodes, and a movie. It’s in this atmosphere that Richard Deming wrote his tie-in Dragnet novel, the Case of the Courteous Killer.

It begins with an unassuming man holding up couples in lover’s lane, eventually killing a man who thought the unassuming robber would be easy to handle in the first of a series of murders. Joe Friday and Frank Smith are called in to locate and apprehend the suspect.

Adapting television shows to novels is tricky business, but the late Mr. Deming does a superb job capturing the spirit of the 1950s TV show while producing a story that was more gripping and involved than half hour television would allow.

Deming nails the voices of Joe Friday and Frank Smith. Friday was particularly important as the story is told in typical Dragnet first person. There were a couple moments I didn't quite buy, though. For example, I found the idea Joe Friday watched the Boston Blackie TV show to be a little unbelievable. There are also funny moments with Frank Smith providing comic relief as he talks about his brother-in-law and various goings on. Truly, I could imagine this on TV as I read it.

The mystery was far beyond typical Dragnet cases, which were resolved in half an hour, but it was in that same matter of fact style. There are many twists as this criminal changes methods, the police stumble upon an almost unbelievable coincidence that's too strange for Dragnet's genre, and the courteous killer twice attempts to exact some not-so-courteous revenge on Joe Friday.

The story lost a bit of momentum and dragged in the last little bit with some repetitive moments before finishing up strong at the end.

Still, if you love 1950s Dragnet, or are a fan of clean early police procedural, this is a really good and engaging read.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

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9May/150

EP1568: Dragnet: The Big Job

Jack Webb
Joe Friday and Ben Romero searches for a fugitive who has killed a police officer.

Original Air Date: April 27, 1950

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Take the listener survey .

Give us a call 208-991-4783

Follow us on Twitter @radiodetectives

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