Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


From December 18, 1952, this Christmas episode of Dragnet.  Think anti-Ralphie and anti-Jean Shephard's A Christmas Story.

Just the facts, ma'ma?  Okay.

Jack Webb's classic Dragnet debuted on radio in 1949; the television show two years later.  The staccato scripting that worked so well in radio easily segued in Webb's vision for the small screen.  Many of the television show's scripts (including this one by Webb and James Moser) were adapted from old radio scripts.  Two of the featured actors in this episode were also a part of radio history:  William Johnstone (as "John Martin") was the actor who replaced Orson Welles on The Shadow, and June Whitley Taylor (as "Mrs. Johnstone") was the first person to voice Margaret Anderson on Father Knows Best.

Among others in the episode were Sammy Ogg (as "Stanley Johnstone"), a familiar face in 50s television with roles in (among many others) Spin and Marty, Annie Oakley, The Gene Autry Show, Buffalo Bill, Jr., Lassie, Prince Valiant, Our Miss Brooks, and I Love Lucy, and Virginia Christine, the "Folger Coffee Woman".  (According to IMDB, Christine's home town reconfigured its water tower to resemble a coffee pot in honor of their most famous citizen.)

And, of course, Webb as Joe Friday and Herb Ellis as Frank Smith.  (On the radio show, Ellis had already been replaced in September by Ben Alexander).

Directed by Webb.

(BTW, the uncredited annoucer at the beginning was George Fenneman, Groucho's announcer.)

"The story you are about to see is true.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent."


  1. That show always scared me. I was sure they would turn up at my door any time.

    1. Since you were innocent, Patti, I'm sure they would have changed your name to protect you before airing your story.