Last week I wrote about the realism of Dragnet, the pioneering police procedural of the fifties and sixties. This week I would like to highlight its famous Christmas show where Sgt. Joe Friday and partner Frank Smith try to recover a statue of the Baby Jesus taken from the crèche of a church on Christmas Eve.
The You Tube video is of good quality and takes just a little more than 25 minutes to view since the commercials have been omitted. The acting is superb, with especially good performances by two young boys. The camerawork and music are also first rate. To my mind it ranks right up there with the best Christmas shows of all time.
The credits indicate that the show was filmed in the Old Mission Plaza Church in Los Angeles, the dedication of which coincided with the founding of Los Angeles on September 4, 1781.
The episode was produced in 1953 when I was only 14 years old. I must have watched it then, and have never forgotten it. Today, it calls to mind a time and place long gone by. Looking back I’d like to think that it had a profound effect in my own life. If you watch the episode, stay tuned for the surprising and moving ending. Here is the link to Dragnet: The Big Little Jesus, or just click on the box below. ###