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DispL.A. Case #38: Dragnet Badge
The history of Los Angeles as told through 232 objects.
Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781. Between now and the 232nd anniversary, we are gathering the stories behind iconic objects that help explain our city. Los Angeles is older than Chicago, Atlanta or Washington, D.C. In fact, when L.A.’s founders were gathering at El Pueblo, New York City was still occupied by the British army. We have a long story to tell, let’s take a look back and see where the city came from. Feel free to add to this exhibition. Email your ideas to [email protected]
Santa Monica native Jack Webb created hardboiled police sergeant Joe Friday in 1949. The noir-era Dragnet radio show launched feature films and TV series, with Ed O’Neill last playing the part in 2004. The unimpeachable Friday, with his trademark lines (“just the facts, ma’am”) and everyman appeal, supercharged the morale and reputation of the growing LAPD to a worldwide audience. At the conclusion of Webb’s last series, he turned in his gun and badge, which were later donated to the Los Angeles Police Museum in Highland Park.