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"Dragnet 1967" The Christmas Story (1967)

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The Christmas Story is perhaps the most touching episode of "Dragnet 1967"

Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, LA
5 December 2008

Having just seen "The Big Little Jesus" episode of the original "Dragnet", I just went on Hulu to watch the remake for "Dragnet 1967" called here "The Christmas Story". It's basically word for word and scene for scene with some additions like Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan) bringing a little pine tree in the office and Friday narrating about giving suspect Claude Stroup (Bobby Troup) his rights since this episode was made after the Miranda rights were established. Once again the priest whose baby Jesus statue was stolen was played by Harry Bartell. Other reprise of original supporting actors were Herb Vigran as a hotel desk clerk and Ralph Moody as Mr. Flavin, a pawn shop owner. In fact, I chuckled when he questioned how Friday knew his name and declared they never met before! (The answer was his name being on the store window.) I should note here that altar boy John (not Joe as in the original) Hefferman was played by Barry Williams two years before he became Greg Brady on "The Brady Bunch" and that Bobby Troup was married to singer Julie London who earlier was once wed to Jack Webb. Also, Byron Morrow, who plays Captain Mack here, was born in my birthtown of Chicago, Illinois. As with before, this version of the "Dragnet" Christmas story was one of the most touching in the entire series history. Well worth seeking out. By the way, this originally aired on December 21, 1967.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Episode

Author: Ares-10
23 June 2008

This episode is very touching and sweet. It centers around a part of a Nativity Scene in a church that has gone missing. Detectives Friday and Gannon take the case even though the item is not considered very valuable, except to the church and its members. Our detectives take the case very seriously even though others think they are wasting their time. The story takes place at Christmas time and would be excellent to watch during that wonderful time of the year. I completely recommend this episode because you will need a handkerchief after it is over. I won't say anything else, since I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but please view this if possible. Currently, this show is being shown on the television channel Sleuth.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Jack Webb, the sentimentalist.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
18 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode was originally done for the first "Dragnet" series--back in the 1950s. It's very similar to this one, but in black & white and several of the original actors have returned to reprise their roles.

It's funny, but Director/Executive Producer and actor Jack Webb was at heart a very sentimental man. While on one hand he played the perennially square 'Joe Friday' and had serious problems in his own personal life with emotional intimacy according to the biography I read, on the other he at heart was a very sentimental man--though you don't always see it in the show. This is clearly the most sentimental episode he made and it is a sharp contrast to the usual tough-guy image Webb projected.

Another way that Webb was secretly a sentimental guy was his featuring Bobby Troup in the story. In fact, Troup was featured in several episodes of the show and played a major role in Webb's show "Emergency". What makes this so unusual is that Troup married Webb's ex-wife (Julie London) and was step-father to some of Webb's own children. Most guys might have been angry or resentful. According to the biography, Webb did what he could to help Troup and admired that Troup could show his kids the emotions that were so bottled up within Webb. Pretty sad, huh? The story is an odd one. A poor local church has reported the theft of Jesus...well, at least the baby Jesus figure from their manger scene. It's inexplicable why anyone would steal such an item--it's not like it was worth that much money.

Joe and Bill investigate and first check with pawn shops and stores selling religious items. I love the guy they show them interviewing--what a crusty old character! Next, they interview a very young Barry Williams--who later gained fame as Greg Brady on "The Brady Bunch". He's pretty cute here--a few years younger and with a little kid's voice. He helps the police, but his lead turns out to be a dud. So what in the heck happened to the figure?! In the end, it turns out that the figure was not exactly stolen but went for a ride. See the show for yourself to find out what I mean.

Overall, it's an episode that you'll either love or hate. It is pretty schmaltzy and sentimental (perhaps too much so), but on the other hand it is a very sweet Christmas show and might just choke you up. See it for yourself and see perhaps the most unusual episode they ever aired....twice.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

My favorite episode of Dragnet

Author: sbutler0727 from United States
30 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Call me a sentimental fool if you like, but this is my all time favorite episode of Dragnet. The moment when the little boy comes in with the statue gets to me every time. I had seen this 60's version of the story many times. I did not know the original version existed until recently. It is interesting to note that Harry Bartell (the priest), Ralph Moody (the pawn shop dealer), and Herb Vigran (the desk clerk) played the same part in both the 50's and 60's version of this story. For me however, Bobby Troup was much more believable as Claude Stroup (the "down and outer") than was James Griffith. In any case this remains my favorite episode of Dragnet. The "miracle" at the end gets to me every time. I know that is corny but I can't help it.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Warms the Cockles of Your Heart.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
29 September 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Christmas in the San Fernando Valley and someone has taken the baby Jesus from the creche near the altar. Who could do such a wretched thing? Friday and Gannon are out of their jurisdiction but they do their best to track down the missing statue.

Every lead turns into a dead end. The most engaging of the red herring is Bobby Troup as a bum, unshaven, his hair mussed up, brought in because he was seen leaving after mass with a statue under his arm. But -- Lo! -- it wasn't the statue, just his pair of extra pants he'd just had mended. I don't care what role they give Bobby Troup. He was a popular musician and simply has a kind and believable face.

I don't think I'll give away the ending, which is rather drawn out and carried along on the crest of a heavenly choir backed by an organ. Exceptional point: part of the program was shot in the original Mission San Fernando, founded in 1797, an impressive structure. All churches are peaceful but the California missions are rather more.

The episode reminded me of my student days at a tiny college in a rural town in Utah. The LDS temple had a creche too. And I -- a recently arrived Gentile -- was asked politely not to mess with the figures.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Dragnet 1968: The Christmas Story

Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
18 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Touching, sweet episode of Dragnet 1968 may be a bit too Christian for some tastes but seems appropriate for this time of year, a Christmas case where the statue of Baby Jesus is "stole" from a nativity scene in a Catholic Church right before an important Mass. A Dragnet regular, Bobby Troop, has a small part as a down-on-his-luck fellow who toils from job to job, a possible suspect in the statue theft. Troop, to his credit, is a sad, sympathetic figure, the melancholy reeks from him. The conclusion is satisfying and quite spiritual if you are pro-Christian. This isn't a real crackerjack case full of investigative twists and turns, though. Barry Williams, of The Brady Bunch fame, is a little kid who works as an altar boy in the Catholic Church with possible testimony that could lead to an arrest.I swear that the apartment complex that housed the downtrodden and less fortunate is the same set used in the first season episode, "The Hammer".

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"The Christmas Story" is a touching episode

Author: richmond-4 from Texas
4 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The Christmas Story" (1967) is a remake of an earlier TV episode of Dragnet titled "Big Little Jesus" (1953). "Big Little Jesus" was also an episode of Dragnet on the *radio*! Mr. Flavin, the pawn shop owner, in *all* three episodes was played by Ralph Moody. The hotel clerk in all three episodes was played by Herb Vigran. Father Xavier Rojas, the Catholic priest, was played by Harry Bartell, again in *all* three episodes. In the radio and TV "Big Little Jesus" episodes, James Griffith played Claude Stroup. In "The Christmas Story" episode, this role was filled by Bobby Troup. These two actors resemble each other both in looks and mannerisms.

Jack Webb was very loyal to his actors and his production people. Many of them followed Webb from the radio Dragnet to his first and second TV adaptations of the show. When you compare the three versions of this episode, you will find very little change in the dialog. Of necessity, the radio version had more descriptive narration which was done by Jack Webb himself.

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