Original broadcast run on NBC: 1951 – 1959, 1967 – 1970. The crime drama
starred Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday.
The pilot for Dragnet, "The Human Bomb" (adapted from the July 21, 1949
episode), aired as a special presentation of the NBC program Chesterfield
Sound-Off Time. It introduced to viewers the many close-ups that became
Webb’s trademark. After the pilot’s success, the series debuted in January
Friday’s original partner in the TV episodes (as on the radio) was Sgt. Ben
Romero, played by Barton Yarborough, who died of a heart attack after just
three episodes were filmed. He was replaced first by Detective Sergeant Ed
Jacobs (Barney Phillips), and then by Officer Frank Smith. Smith was first
played by Herb Ellis. After four episodes, Ben Alexander took the role on
television and radio.
Barton Yarborough (left) and Jack Webb
Barney Phillips as Detective Sergeant Ed Jacobs
Herb Ellis as officer Smith
Ben Alexander (left) and Jack Web
On the Dragnet set, filming a close-up of Officer Smith, played
by Ben Alexander. Jack Web (left) looks on.