Dragnet (1951–1959)
4 user 2 critic

The Big .22 Rifle for Christmas 

Friday and Smith search for a missing boy. The first sign that the case is serious is when blood is found. Further probing reveals the boy's parents had purchased him a .22-caliber rifle ... See full summary »



(based on a radio play by) (as James Moser), (based on a radio play by)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Herbert Ellis ...
William Johnstone ...
John Martin (as Wm. Johnstone)
June Whitley Taylor ...
Mrs. Johnstone (as June Whitley)
Sammy Ogg ...
Stanley Johnstone
Mrs. Martin
Officer Doherty (as Rennie McEvoy)
Ray Pinker (as Olan Soulé)


Friday and Smith search for a missing boy. The first sign that the case is serious is when blood is found. Further probing reveals the boy's parents had purchased him a .22-caliber rifle for Christmas -- and the weapon is missing, removed from its wrapped package. Written by Bill Koenig

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Crime | Drama | Mystery




Release Date:

18 December 1952 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)


(shot in color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Episode is also known as A Gun For Christmas. See more »


[first lines]
Sgt. Joe Friday: This is the city. All year around it wears work clothes; on holidays it dresses up. To most people, Christmas brings happiness and prayer; to some it brings heartbreak - then my job gets tougher. I'm a cop.
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User Reviews

What do you buy a 9 year-old kid for Christmas? A .22 caliber rifle! Now if he was 10, perhaps an AK-47!, would be nice!
20 November 2013 | by See all my reviews

I am not a gun-control advocate, however, in some cases you really have to wonder and I have a hard time defending gun rights in cases like this. After all, the "Dragnet" stories are based on real cases and some freaking moron apparently bought their 9 year-old a rifle for Christmas--and they allowed the kid unrestricted access to it!!! What's next, will they buy the kid a hooker and some cyanide?!

This show begins shortly before Christmas. A parent calls the police because their 9 year-old is missing. When the detectives come to the home to look around, they find blood in the grass and an empty .22 casing. In talking with the kid's mother, they learn that the parents bought the boy a rifle for Christmas and he apparently found it--because the box is empty. Then they learn that a neighbor kid, aged 8, is also missing. Friday and Smith suspect the worst but say nothing--after all, they haven't got all the facts. However, the audience know that something tragic and very avoidable has happened.

All in all, a very powerful, realistic and non-preachy show about irresponsible gun ownership and what can happen if the buyers have tomatoes instead of brains. What a sad and important episode--and one that hopefully did more than just entertained. A very strong episode--and a particularly memorable episode due to the amazingly good acting by the child (Sammy Ogg). Just make sure to have some Kleenex handy when you watch.

By the way, Mrs. Martin might look familiar. She is played by Virginia Christine--the same lady who played Mrs. Olsen in the Folgers commercials for 21 years.

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