Classic TV & Movie Hits
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Gangbusters was one of the all-time classics of radio, running for some 21 years (1936-1957) on various networks. However, its history on television was short, for unusual reasons.
The format was the same as in the radio version. Action-packed stories on the apprehension of major criminals, taken from "actual police and FBI files," were presented in semi-documentary style. There was no continuing cast, but Phillips H. Lord, creator and writer of the show, appeared each week as narrator. At the end of each telecast a photo of one of the nation's most-wanted criminals was shown, and anyone having knowledge of his whereabouts was asked to phone the local police, the FBI, or Gangbusters. (Over the years the "most-wanted" feature of the radio Gangbusters resulted in the apprehension of several hundred criminals.)
Gangbusters premiered on TV in March 1952, alternation on Thursday nights with Dragnet. Both shows were phenomenally successful, completely overwhelming their competition. (In fact the other three networks virtually gave up trying to compete, and scheduled political-discussion programs opposite them.) During the fall of 1952 Gangbusters averaged a 42 rating, garnering virtually all of the audience available in its time slot and ranking number eight among all programs on TV. Nevertheless, it left the air in December - making it probably the highest - rated program ever to be canceled in the history of television.
The reason for the cancellation appears to be that Ganbusters was never intended to be a full-time TV series, but merely a stopgap provided by the sponsor to fill in the weeks when Dragnet wasn't on. Jack Webb even appeared at the end of each telecast to plug the next week's Dragnet episode. Webb could not at first provide a new Dragnet film every week, but when he could, Dragnet (which was even more popular than Gangbusters) went weekly and Ganbusters had to make way.
|> Airing History & Information|
|Last Airing||Dec 25, 1952|
|Premiere||March 20, 1952|
|Format/Time||Black & White / 30 Minutes|
|Upcoming Airs||Not currently airing|
Don C. Harvey.... Det. Lt. Walsh (as Don Harvey)
Robert Carson.... Dr. Hall (as Bob Carson)
Joyce Jameson.... Girl in Car
Robert Bice.... Guard
Ed Hinton.... Guard
Myron Healey.... John Omar Pinson
Kate MacKenna.... Landlady
Allan Ray.... Larry Ogilvie
William Justine.... Louie Feth
Rusty Wescoatt.... Mike Denike
Phillips Lord.... Narrator (uncredited)
Holly Bane.... Police Officer (as Mike Ragan)
Charles Victor.... Police Officer Rondeau
Ed Colbrook.... Pool Hall Operator
Frank Richards.... Slug Bennett
William Fawcett.... Truck Driver
Sam Edwards.... Wayne Long
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