I am always amazed at how “adult” OTR is compared to the sanitized candycorn of TV from the same era. Or even compared to many commercial television programs slopping their sugar water today. One such example is Dragnet. The old radio programs are very brutal and violent, very different from the watered down television programs of the same name. Though, to be fair, the tight, spare dialog, which was always the hallmark of Dragnet, remains in force.
All too often I thought the TV Dragnet was preachy and more interested in pushing a flag-waving erection bursting meme of “USA and LAW ENFORCEMENT HELL YEAH!” than delivering solid writing that examines the deep fractures in a human soul. Well, that’s TV for you. But if there’s any meme being preached in the OTR series it’s that violence is an ineluctable part of human nature and the world is a ceaseless shithole of blood, degradation, and grisly murder. That’s what the OTR Dragnet is about.
If your only familiarity with Dragnet and Joe Friday is the TV series then you are gonna be surprised at these old radio programs, I think.
Theater 13 Radio is currently running a Dragnet marathon. Click on the banner below and it will take you directly to the main website where you can find the .pls or download a media player of your choice. Theater 13 is also on StreamFinder, TuneIn and other radio sites. Google is your friend!
If you haven’t listened to these tightly written and uncompromising programs you might do well as a writer, or just a crime/mystery/suspense fan, to give ’em a try. Enjoy!
2 Replies to “Dragnet – Old Time Radio that delivers stark violence and murder for adults”
Dragnet was one of my all time favorite weekly TV series growing up. Joe Friday, stone-faced, was just the BEST police detective! While I know violence and mayhem have always been a part of the human experience (and I deal with it all time in NW Alabama vis-a-vis the hate groups), I choose not to celebrate this dark side of human nature, rather to shed a bright light on it for purposes of amelioration. Your thinking and writing goals remind me of McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses, etc.). I DO agree very much with your advice to writers.
Thank you very much for your kind words. I also like McCarthy a lot.
I agree with you vis a vis Dragnet. I am really impressed with the adult subject matter in the radio series and the level of violence they portray. It was kind of surprising, even coming from someone like me who listens to OTR all the time, haha. Thanks again. 🙂