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Jack Webb
John Randolph "Jack" Webb born April 2, 1920 to December 23, 1982 actor, television producer, director,  and
writer who is most famous for his role as Detective Joe Friday in the radio and television series Dragnet. Born in
Santa Monica, California, Jack Webb grew up poor in the Bunker Hill slum section of Los Angeles.
He was a sickly child and studied art as a young man. One of the tenants in the rooming house run by his mother
was an ex-jazzman who started Jack Webb with a lifelong interest in jazz when he gave him a recording of Bix
Beiderbecke's "At the Jazz Band Ball." After serving as a crew member of a B-26 Marauder in World War II
he starred in a radio show about a private detective, Pat Novak for Hire. Other radio shows include Johnny
Modero Pier 23, Jeff Regan Investigator, Murder and Mr. Malone, and One Out of Seven. Jack Webb had a
role in the 1948 film He Walked by Night about the murder of a California Highway Patrolman. The film was
made in docudrama style with technical advisors Capt. Harry Didion and Detective Marty Wynn of the Los
Angeles Police Department. It was this film that gave Jack Webb the idea for Dragnet. After getting assistance
from, and riding along with, Los Angeles police personnel, Jack Webb produced Dragnet which premiered in
1949 on the NBC radio network. Sponsored by Fatima cigarettes, Dragnet starred Jack Webb as Joe Friday
and Barton Yarborough as Ben Romero. Walter Schumann composed the theme music for the show. Jack
Webb narrated the
show in first person as the character Joe Friday and maintained almost fanatical attention to
detail. He often mentioned in interviews that
he was angry about the "ridiculous" amount of abuse that police were
often subjected to. He said that he wanted to perform a service for by showing them as heroes and
"make their life a little easier".

During the run of the Dragnet on
radio, Sergeant Joe Friday had a variety of partners. His first partner was Ben
Romero played by Barton Yarborough. After Yarborough's death in 1951, Friday's received a new partner, Ed
Jacobs, played by Barney Phillips. After Jacobs, Friday's was partnered with Officer Frank Smith who was
played by a string of actors including Harry Bartell, Herb Ellis, Vic Perrin and Ben Alexander. Alexander took
over the role of Frank Smith in 1952, and retained this role for the remainder to the radio run of the show.
Alexander also played Officer Frank Smith on the Dragnet Television series. At the end of each show, the results
of the trial of the suspect and severity of sentence were announced by Hal Gibney.

Jack  Webb's personal life was better defined by his love of jazz than his interest in police work. His life-long
interest in the cornet and racially tolerant attitude allowed him to move easily in the jazz culture, where Webb
met singer and actress Julie London. They married in 1947 and raised two children. They later divorced and
Webb married three more times. Jack Webb died of a heart attack in 1982 at the age of 62. He was interred
in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. Jack Webb was given a funeral with full police
honors (including the chief of police announcing that the badge number 714 that Webb used in Dragnet would
be retired) although
he had never actually served on the force. Not only did the LAPD use Dragnet episodes as
training films for a time, they also named a police academy auditorium after him.
William Barton Yarborough
and Jack Webb
List Of Shows
Barney Phillips
Welcome to
Jack Webb's Dragnet
49-06-10 Nickel Plated Gun
49-06-17 The Werewolf
49-06-24 Quick-Trigger Gun Men
49-07-07 Helen Corday Murder
49-07-14 The Impostor
49-07-21 Attempted City Hall Bombing
49-07-28 Missing Person: Juanita Lasky
49-08-04 Narcotics: Benny Trounsel
49-08-11 Maniac Murderer
49-08-18 Master Jewel Thief
49-08-25 Police Academy Blitz Bandits
49-09-01 Auto Burglaries
49-09-03 Missing Women
49-09-10 The Sullivan Kidnapping
49-09-17 James Vickers Cop Killing
49-09-24 Brick Bat Slayer
49-10-01 Truck Hijackers
49-11-24 Mother-In-Law Murder
49-12-01 Spring Street Gang
49-12-08 George Quan: The Jade Thumb Rings
49-12-15 The Garbage Chute Murder
49-12-22 22 Rifle for Christmas
49-12-29 The Roseland Roof Murder
50-01-05 The Big Escape
50-01-12 The Big Man Part 1
50-01-19 The Big Man Part 2
50-02-02 Claude Jimmerson, Child Killer
50-02-09 The Big Girl
50-02-23 The Big Grifter
50-03-02 The Big Kill
50-03-09 The Big Thank You
50-03-16 The Big Boys
50-03-23 The Big Gangster Part 1
50-03-30 The Big Gangster Part 2
50-04-06 The Big Book
50-04-13 The Big Watch
50-04-27 The Big Job
50-05-04 The Big Badge
50-05-11 The Big Knife
50-05-18 The Big Pug
50-05-25 The Big Key
50-06-01 The Big Fake
50-06-08 The Big Smart Guy
50-06-15 The Big Press
50-06-22 The Big Mink
50-06-29 The Big Grab
50-07-06 The Big Frame
50-07-13 The Big Bomb
50-07-20 The Big Gent Part 1
50-07-27 The Big Gent Part 2
50-08-03 The Big Dare
50-08-10 The Big Actor
50-08-17 The Big Youngster
50-08-24 The Big Chance
50-08-31 The Big Check
50-09-07 The Big Poison
50-09-14 The Big Make
50-09-21 The Big Pair
50-09-28 The Big Death
50-10-05 The Big 38 Caliber
50-10-12 The Big Quack
50-10-19 The Big Grandma
50-10-26 The Big Meet
50-11-02 The Big Church
50-11-09 The Big Mother
50-11-16 The Big Parrot
50-11-23 The Big Betty
50-11-30 The Big Car
50-12-07 The Big Picture
50-12-14 The Big Break
50-12-21 22 Rifle for Christmas
50-12-28 The Big Family
51-01-04 The Big Holdup
51-01-11 The Big Jump
51-01-18 The Big Dance
51-01-25 The Big Tomato
51-02-01 The Big Children
51-02-08 Big Cast
51-02-15 The Big Crime
51-02-22 The Big Couple
51-03-01 The Big Partner
51-03-08 Big New Years