Movies Based on TV Shows Featuring Their Original Casts, In Honor of ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’
Movie #6 – Dragnet
Year – 1954
Man, Dragnet didn’t mess around. It began as a radio show in 1949. It moved to television in 1951 but still maintained a radio show through 1957. The TV show ran through 1959 (and was revived again in 1967 for another four seasons). But in the middle of its initial run they still managed to crank out a movie. And it has the distinction of being the very first feature film based on a TV show.
Other than the fact the film was in color, I can’t for the life of me figure out exactly why the felt a film was necessary. Although based on the amount of shots of people punching directly into the camera, perhaps it was intended to also be in 3D. But being as this was 1954 it’s not like they could have added much in the way of sex or violence to differentiate from the show. And the movie features almost laughable amounts of product placement. Every public place prominently features a Chesterfield vending machine and almost every character is seen smoking them.
The biggest change seems to be in overall tone. Dragnet (the show) was a mystery where the viewer would attempt to solve the crime along with the detectives. However, the film’s opening scene shows the murder and (more importantly) the murderer. Instead the film focuses on Friday and his partner harassing the murderer while they try to gather enough evidence to arrest him. And the film (60-Year Old SPOILER ALERT) doesn’t end with a big shoot out. No, before they can apprehend the villain he dies…of cancer. It must have been all those Chesterfields.