Spin Again Sunday: The Game of Dragnet

dragnet boxI’ve been a big fan of Dragnet since I discovered the late 1960s episodes when I was about 10. When I started listening to old-time radio, Dragnet quickly became one of my favorites in that medium, too. So this Christmas, when my husband presented me with The Game of Dragnet, I was delighted. (By the way, it’s really hard to explain gifts like this to “normal” friends who get jewelry and cookware as presents.)

This Week’s Game: The Game of Dragnet, 1955, Transogram.

The Box: Sergeant Joe Friday, in black and white, gives us a rueful smile, while uniformed officers (in color) pursue a criminal nearby. Shouldn’t Friday be helping them? The box, board, and instructions all include the label “Badge 714” as a kind of subtitle. Remember when syndicated versions of shows that were still airing in prime time ran under alternate titles? Badge 714 was Dragnet’s syndication title.

The Promotional Blurb on the Box: “Do you have the instincts of a detective? Are you adept at interrogation, clever at deduction? You are! Then you must play this drama packed game! Here it is!—a realistic and exciting game of skill, deduction, and luck for teenagers and adults, based on DRAGNET, famous on radio, TV, and in the movies.”

This is actually only about one-fourth of the copy—it is the War and Peace of promotional blurbs.

dragnet board

The Board: The box copy also refers to this a “fascinating and absolutely unique game.” The board, however, is quite generic. Transogram and other companies often produced boards that they could re-purpose for subsequent games. All they would have to do to re-use this design is to swap out the center circle.

suspects dragnet cars

Two “suspects” flanked by police cars. Doesn’t that pink suspect look threatening? The green disc below is one of the numbered, interchangeable suspect bases.

Game Pieces: Six police squad cars in various colors and seven suspects. The latter are bell-shaped pieces of colored plastic that attach to interchangeable green bases. Each base bears a number.

Crime File Cards: The most interesting thing about these is that they have random holes punched in them. This mystified me until I read that in the instructions that they “simulate authentic key-punched police file cards.”

Then, of course, I had to seek out more information about key punching.

dragnet instructions

If you want to play this game, set aside an afternoon for reading the instructions.

Game Play: It’s kind of like Clue, but much more complicated. Before the game starts, suspects are attached to bases and planted at various Suspect Hideouts around the board. Each player receives three police file cards. Each player will try to collect three police file cards that fit the same crime—a crime card, a location card, and an evidence card. Each of these cards also has a number on it. When a player adds the three numbers on their three correct cards together, they will get the number of the suspect they are seeking

dragnet card 2Players move around the board in their squad cards. When they land on a Suspect Hideout, they can look at the suspect’s number and record it on their score pad. When they land on an Interrogation Post, they can ask a yes-or-no question about a suspect (i.e., is the red suspect’s number odd?), as long as they don’t ask directly what the number is. When they land on a Precinct Station, they can take police file cards from other players.

dragnet card 1Once a player has his three cards and knows his suspect’s number, he must go to that suspect’s hideout and then return to police headquarters to win the game.

Whew! Actually becoming a police detective might be simpler than playing this game.

My Thoughts: This looks like it could be fun, as long you invest the time necessary to master all the rules.

Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:

Gomer Pyle Game

Charlie’s Angels Game

Waltons Game


Old-Time Radio Playlist: Happy New Year, Part 2

Happy New Year!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have found this blog since I started it in August, especially my little group of regular readers and commenters. It’s been fun sharing my eclectic set of interests with you, and I hope you find much to enjoy here in 2013, including:

  • Many more old-time radio playlists, focusing not only on holidays and seasons but on themes ranging from babies, dogs, and cats, to Shakespeare, courtroom drama, and the fourth estate. I will also assemble playlists featuring my favorite screen stars, including Joseph Cotten, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, Margaret O’Brien, Bing Crosby, Myrna Loy, and others.
  • Many bizarre words of wisdom from vintage teenage advice books and teen magazines.
  • A new occasional feature called Comic Book Craziness, featuring oddities from my small collection of 1960s and 1970s romance and superhero comics.
  • Some entertaining vintage board games in my Spin Again Sunday series. Coming up in the next two weeks: A 1955 Dragnet game and a 1970s girls career game that was already so retrograde in its own time that it included a disclaimer.
  • Occasional looks at other vintage toys in my collection, including Barbie dolls and accessories, more Fisher Price Play Family toys, Viewmaster reels, Colorforms, Mattel’s Sunshine Family dolls, and others.
  • More posts about classic movies. This is an area I planned to explore more frequently than I have so far. I am hoping to blog about movies at least a couple times a month this year.
  • And, of course, many more installments of Family Affair Friday. We are about half way through season 1, and I am particularly excited about starting season 2—my very favorite.

Since becoming part of the blogosphere, one of my greatest pleasures has been discovering so many wonderful bloggers producing entertaining and insightful work. My new year’s resolution is to spend more time reading and commenting on your blogs.

And now, as a New Year’s treat, I present 10 old-time radio episodes.  Enjoy!

“The Strange Case of the Iron Box”

Sherlock Holmes
December 31, 1945

“New Year’s Resolution”

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show
December 29, 1946

“New Year’s Day”

Henry Morgan
January 1, 1947

“New Year’s Nightmare”

The Mysterious Traveler
January 5, 1947

“Rain on New Year’s Eve”

Quiet, Please
December 29, 1947

“Hot New Year’s Party”

Casey, Crime Photographer
January 1, 1948

“Jack Tries to Get Tickets for the Rose Bowl”

Jack Benny Program
January 4, 1948

“Riley Invites Himself to His Boss’ New Year’s Eve Party”

Life of Riley
December 31, 1948

“The Big New Year’s”

March 8, 1951

“The Old Man”

December 31, 1961