Thankfully, Dragnet is a very well-preserved radio series with most episodes in full circulation. However, there are some episodes that are missing, maybe lost for the ages. Maybe on transcription discs somewhere. If you have one of these discs, please get them to a qualified preservationist.
However, either through mistakes or dishonesty some episodes are listed on various sites as found when they’re not. Below is an accounting of the Lost Episodes of Dragnet as well as the various pretenders out there:
06/03/49: Production 1: Robbery
This is definitely a show I’d love to hear. However, it’s not in existence as Michael J. Hayde documented in his book, My Name’s Friday. Several sites offer Production 1, but everytime I’ve downloaded it, in reality it is Production 2 (a.k.a. The Nickle Plated Gun). Both have the distinctive non-Dragnet opening that was used for only the first two episodes. However, in Production 1, Friday worked out of Robbery, in Production 2, Friday announces that he works out of homocide.
10-06-49: The Second Hand Killer
10-13-49: Big Buy
10-20-49: Big Lamp*
10-27-49: Big Drink
11-03-49: Casco and Breen
11-10-49: Big Bar
11-17-49: Harry Girard
Sometimes, the episode Harry Girard is listed on some sets, but when I play the file, the identifying information indicates its Nickle Plated Gun and has the special theme music from the first two episodes. The episode “The Second Hand Killer” is often claimed to be in circulation, but when you listen to the episode, it’s actually, “The Mother-in-Law Murder” from November, 1949.
03-22-51: The Big Trunk*
03-29-51: The Big Lover
These two episodes were actually listed in the Old Time Radio Researcher’s Group’s certified accurate listing. However, when I downloaded the episodes, I found that Joe Friday’s partner was announced as Frank Smith, and during the 1951 season, his partner was Ben Romero. In the case of the Big Trunk, the confusion was understandable as there was a 1954 episode of the same title. This has since been corrected.
08-02-1951: The Big Cop
I personally got taken in by this episode even though I had a sense that I’d heard this before. Files in circulation claiming to be “The Big Cop” are actually a case from Burglary Detail called the Big Set Up which aired July 12, 1951.
*The television version of these lost episodes are in circulation.