Monday, October 23, 2006

Mystery TV Themes: DRAGNET

Spotlighting the great themes from mystery/crime TV shows ...

The "Dragnet March" ("Danger Ahead") by composer Walter Schumann (1913-1958) is one of the most recognizable themes in history. During World War 2, Schumann was musical director of the Armed Forces Radio Service; after the war, he returned to L.A., where he was a conductor and arranger for the motion picture and television studios. (He wrote stock music for several Abbott & Costello films.) Schumann also recorded several albums of choral music. His 1954 theme for Dragnet won him a 1955 Emmy Award.

Dragnet started as a radio drama (1949-1957), which Jack Webb created after he had a small role in the semi-documentary film noir He Walked by Night (1948). Like the film, the radio series kept the low-key, documentary style, made use of actual police cases, and even had the same L.A.P.D. technical advisor. The success of the radio show led to the first Dragnet TV series (1952-1959, 263 episodes), starring Webb and several partners. A top 10 hit during its first run, the show was also a feature film in 1954. The show was brought back for another 100 episodes (and a TV movie) in 1967-1970, again starring Webb, with partner Harry Morgan. Webb died in 1982, but the show was revived twice more -- as a syndicated TV series (1989-90) and as the short-lived 2003-2004 ABC series starring Ed O'Neill (also called L.A. Dragnet). This most recent version had a spiffy new theme by Mike Post that riffed off Schumann's original march.

Three versions of the theme at Mark Little's MyThemes.TV

More about composer Walter Schumann:
Space Age Pop Music

More about Dragnet:
Badge 714

50s opening

2003 opening

Related links:
Mystery TV Themes: MONK
Mystery TV Themes: IT TAKES A THIEF
Mystery TV Themes: SWAT

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget PBS's "Square One", which had the 5-minute mini-drama "Mathnet" with Kate Monday and George Frankly (though season 2 featured Pat Tuesday).


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