An upbeat version of the Dragnet theme song became a hit record

It was the first TV theme to become a Top 10 hit.

Everett Collection

If you were to remember a classic television theme song that made the top ten on the Billboard charts, the Dragnet theme probably wouldn’t come to mind first. Or second. Or even third. Nevertheless, it’s true!

In 1953, a version of the song recorded by Ray Anthony and his orchestra peaked at No. 3 on the charts. It was the first television theme song in history to make the Top 10.

It was an upbeat, jazzy interpretation of the dramatic melody. Listeners loved the new rendition. It was available in 45 and 78 RPM records and sold over half a million copies in the United States.

Walter Schumann wrote the original tune for the radio version of Dragnet. When the show moved to television, it brought the iconic music with it. The theme was also used in the 1967 Dragnet TV show and remixed by Art of Noise for the 1987 Dragnet movie.

The success of Ray Anthony’s pop cover created controversy. Part of the score for the 1946 film The Killers, composed by Miklós Rózsa, sounded remarkably similar to the famous “dum-de-dum-dum” that Schumann came up with. Both composers and the music publishers involved reached a settlement to split royalties generated from the "main title" portion of the Dragnet theme.

Listen to Ray Anthony's Dragnet below. 

Watch Dragnet on MeTV!

Weekdays at 5:30 AM & 6 AM
Saturdays at 5:30 AM

*available in most MeTV markets
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jaelinsmith40652 42 months ago
I watched Dragnet sometimes last night while I was up in the middle of the night. That I can't help it staying up with metv addiction.
Diz 52 months ago
Later in the 50's, Ray Anthony also had a hit with the Peter Gunn theme, though you should definitely check out the Duane Eddy version.
Diz 52 months ago
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RobCertSDSCascap Diz 52 months ago
I have it, so here's one for you.
Diz RobCertSDSCascap 52 months ago
Great track. Thanks.
RobCertSDSCascap Diz 52 months ago
You're welcome. Glad you like it too.
RobCertSDSCascap 52 months ago
Hot track from the guy who gave us cartoon fans Powerhouse!
daDoctah RobCertSDSCascap 52 months ago
Uh, I believe "Powerhouse" was by Raymond Scott.
RobCertSDSCascap daDoctah 52 months ago
You are right- thanks.
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