Jack Webb planned a 1980s Dragnet reboot right before he died

Kent McCord from Adam-12 was supposed to co-star

Although he directed feature films and was a jazz connoisseur, Jack Webb will always be inextricably linked to one thing: Dragnet. His innovative police drama was incredibly realistic for its time. It debuted on television in 1951. Webb wanted authentic police stories to be told and worked closely with the LAPD to make the show as true to life as possible.

In fact, the inspiration for the series came from a police consultant Webb met while doing the film He Walked by Night in 1948. The consultant shared real police stories with the 28-year-old actor — who was looking to do more in the entertainment industry.

The original Dragnet ran for eight seasons, ending in 1959. Webb parlayed his television success into a filmmaking career. While initially popular, his films never found the audience that Dragnet had. Universal and NBC offered him the chance to revive the show in the late 1960s and he took it.

The new version of Dragnet started in 1967 and aired four seasons. Webb returned as Sgt. Joe Friday. His new partner was Bill Gannon, played by Harry Morgan. In 1968, Webb created Adam-12, a show that focused on beat cops instead of detectives. Officers Malloy and Reed from Adam-12 (played by Martin Milner and Kent McCord, respectively) even appeared alongside Friday and Gannon in an episode of Dragnet. McCord was in multiple episodes but not always as Officer Jim Reed.

Throughout the 1970s, Jack Webb oversaw the production of Adam-12 and its paramedic spin-off show Emergency! Both were incredibly popular. Emergency! ran for seven successful seasons from 1972-1979.

At the beginning of the next decade, Webb was considering bringing back the show he was most known for.

He wrote five scripts for a new version of Dragnet that would air in 1983. Harry Morgan was busy playing Colonel Potter on M*A*S*H so Sgt. Friday needed a new partner. Webb enlisted Kent McCord to fill the role. Whether McCord was meant play an older version of his character from Adam-12 or a totally new role is unclear.

Tragically, Jack Webb passed away before the series got off the ground. He suffered a fatal heart attack in December 1982. The city of Los Angeles flew flags at half-mast in his honor and the LAPD retired Sgt. Friday’s badge number – 714.

Watch Adam-12 on MeTV!

One Full Hour

Weekdays at 5 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

21 Comments

Post a comment
JoeSHill 6 months ago
Back in the late 1980s, MCA/Universal Television aired these ridiculous syndicated remakes called "THE NEW DRAGNET and ADAM 12" that was co-produced by The Arthur Company, that schlockmeister Arthur Annacharicio, who later made that cheap Canadian version of "AIRWOLF" for The USA Network in 1987 was responsible for. the cheap and forgotten versions of the Jack Webb shows ran until the early 90s, but they were horribly pathetic, showing how desperate that MCA (before the Comcast years) was in trying to exploit these things for a new market. Jack Webb's last TV series before he died was NBC's "PROJECT: UFO" (1978-1979) which he did in association with Worldvision Enterprises, the syndication company that was formerly known as ABC Films, which was later an Aaron Spelling entity that was acquired in 2000 by Viacom.
JoeSHill 6 months ago
This comment has been removed.
MarkSpeck JoeSHill 4 months ago
The version of Airwolf you mentioned is from the '86-'87 season, BEFORE New Dragnet and New Adam-12. The Arthur Company was also responsible for the equally abominable The Munsters Today, as well as FBI: The Untold Stories, which ran on ABC for a couple of years in the early '90's.
HerbF 6 months ago
The funny thing is, these supposed scripts have never turned up...which is rather odd since they were known about - wonder what happened to Webb's papers when he died? There has to be more information about this revival someplace.

and if McCord wasn't playing Jim Reed, it was a missed opportunity to see a character 10 years later (more or less) from being 7 years on the Beat to having his Gold Shield.
DavidHoward 6 months ago
"....My partner is Jim Reed. My name is Friday." That would've been so awesome to watch!! I watched "Adam-12" and "Emergency!" as a kid! I became a fan of the 60's episodes of "Dragnet" in re-runs!
Sad that he passed away before it could be done, and very cool that the LAPD flew their flags at half-mast and retired his badge number out of respect.
I find it kind of interesting that "Chicago Fire", "Chicago PD", and "Chicago Med" sort of reflect the TV continuity that Webb created with "Dragnet", "Adam-12", and "Emergency!"; or am I the only one that sees it?
Tammy DavidHoward 6 months ago
That would have been so cool
AgingDisgracefully 6 months ago
Wouldn't this have been RE-reboot?
Genuinely asking.
Not being a wide-mouthed punk.
Mooz AgingDisgracefully 6 months ago
ha well that's cute, but a reboot is a reboot no matter how many times. Like when you turn on your computer for the day, install something that needs a reboot, and then later have to reboot again for whatever reason, you didn't re-reboot, you just rebooted again. lol
Edward 6 months ago
The "D.I." was one of my favorite movies that he starred in. It was a nice touch to have all those actual Marines in the film as well.
AlanRamsey 6 months ago
I've also read that Webb was going to cast Scatman Crothers as the chief, or next man up from Friday and his partner in the reboot, based on his performance on a 60's Dragnet. Crothers told Webb that he was getting out of jazz, as no one was interested in his style. Webb encouraged him to act, but still work in music, as he said, "Scatting will come back!"
cperrynaples AlanRamsey 6 months ago
Hong Kong Phooey as Friday's boss? That's quite a step up from police janitor...LOL!!
Or the head chef at hotel hell.
djw1120 cperrynaples 6 months ago
Where do you get Hong Kong Phooey out of all this?
Craigg djw1120 6 months ago
Scatman Crothers was the voice of Hong Kong Phooey.
Runeshaper 6 months ago
Would've liked to have seen the 80s episodes. Was super cool that Los Angeles flew flags at half-mast in his honor and the LAPD retired Sgt. Friday’s badge number – 714.
Wiseguy Runeshaper 6 months ago
There was a 1980s Dragnet. "The New Dragnet" premiered in 1989 and apparently showed two years' worth of episodes (52 in syndication) in the 1989-90 season. It was never shown in my area so I've never seen it. It was the only version of Dragnet (4 series, 3 movies) that didn't have a Joe Friday character.
http://epguides.com/Dragnet_1989/
daDoctah Wiseguy 6 months ago
Was that the Dragnet that starred Ed "Al Bundy" O'Neill?
Runeshaper Wiseguy 6 months ago
That sounds great!
AlanRamsey daDoctah 6 months ago
No, the Ed O'Neill Dragnet reboot was produced by Dick Wolf for ABC. In the first season, the emphasis was on Joe Friday and his partner Frank, who was played by his "Dutch" co-star Ethan Embry. The second season was retitled "L.A. Dragnet" and had more actors added to the cast, Eva Longoria among them.
Wiseguy daDoctah 5 months ago
That would have been difficult since Married with Children was in production from the 1986-87 season through 1996-97.
Wiseguy AlanRamsey 5 months ago
I had heard that Wolf's plan was to have a franchise of Dragnets in different cities (which was the reason for the renaming of the series). But the ratings weren't high enough.
MarkSpeck AlanRamsey 4 months ago
Embry wasn't in the cast when it came back for the second season. He complained that the revamp wasn't what he signed on for, so both he and Wolf/Universal mutually parted.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?