Racket Squad is an American TV crime drama series that aired from 1951 to 1953.
|Narrated by||Hugh Beaumont (1952–1953)|
|Composer(s)||Herschel Burke Gilbert|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||98 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Hal Roach|
Hal Roach, Jr.
Hal Roach, Jr.
|Running time||23–26 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Showcase Productions, Inc.|
|Original network||CBS (1951–1953)|
|Original release||June 7, 1951 –|
September 28, 1953
The format was a narrated anthology drama, as each individual episode featured various ordinary citizens getting ensnared in a different confidence scheme. Episodes were introduced and narrated by Reed Hadley as "Captain John Braddock", a fictional detective working for a police department in a large, unnamed American city. Braddock served as the series' host and narrator.
The show originally was produced for the syndication market in 1950, was picked up by CBS in 1951, and ran on the network through 1953. The series was filmed at Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, California, and was sponsored by cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris. The shows were produced at a cost of $25,000 per episode, which was cheap for the time. Racket Squad finished at #30 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1951-1952 season.
The show dramatized the methods and machinations of con men and bunko artists. At episode's end, Captain Braddock gave viewers advice on how to avoid becoming the victim of the confidence game illustrated in the episode. Plots were based on actual case files from United States police departments, business organizations and other agencies.
In the original episodes, Braddock addressed the victim in the second person, addressing the victim directly. In later episodes he narrated in the more conventional third person. Shooting was rapid, with 44 pages of script shot in two days.
The show featured several guest stars who would achieve starring roles in future film and television roles:
- Lola Albright (Edie Hart in Peter Gunn)
- Hugh Beaumont (Ward Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver)
- Mary Castle (Frankie Adams in Stories of the Century)
- Jan Clayton (Ellen Miller in Lassie)
- Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester in The Addams Family), billed as "John L. Coogan"
- Will Geer (Grandpa Walton in The Waltons)
- Dayton Lummis (Marshal Andy Morrison in Law of the Plainsman)
- Eve McVeagh (Mildred Fuller in High Noon; Roberta—Lucy's Hairdresser in I Love Lucy and Frances Moseby in The Clear Horizon)
- Carole Mathews (Wilma Fansler in The Californians)
- Ewing Mitchell (Sheriff Mitch Hargrove in Sky King)
- Noel Neill (Lois Lane in Adventures of Superman)
- John M. Pickard (Captain Shank Adams in Boots and Saddles)
- Gloria Saunders (The Dragon Lady in Terry and the Pirates)
- Karen Sharpe (Laura Thomas in Johnny Ringo)
- Robert Shayne (Inspector Henderson in Adventures of Superman)
- Frank Wilcox (oil executive John Brewster on The Beverly Hillbillies and Federal District Atty. Beecher Asbury in The Untouchables)
After Racket Squad, Reed Hadley starred from March 1954 to June 1955 in another crime drama on CBS, The Public Defender.
- R-r-r-r-racket Squad!
- Captain Braddock: (prologue, to the camera) What you are about to see is a real-life story, taken from the files of the police racket and bunco squads, business protective associations and similar sources around the country. It is intended to expose the confidence game - the carefully worked-out frauds by which confidence men take more money each year from the American public than all the bank robbers and thugs with their violence.
- Captain Braddock: (epilogue, to the camera) I'm closing this case now - or rather, the courts will - but there'll be others, because that's the way the world is built. There are people who can slap you on the back with one hand and pick your pocket with the other. And it could happen to you.
Alpha Video released various episodes on DVD Worldwide Distribution.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|Racket Squad, Vol. 1||4||2003|
|Racket Squad, Vol. 2||4||2005|
|Racket Squad, Vol. 3||4||2005|
|Racket Squad, Vol. 4||4||2005|
|Racket Squad, Vol. 5||4||2009|
|Racket Squad, Vol. 6||4||2009|
|1953||Emmy Award||Nominated||Best Mystery, Action or Adventure Program|
|1955||Best Mystery or Intrigue Series|
- Ward, Richard Lewis (1995). A History of the Hal Roach Studios. SIU Press. p. 148. ISBN 0809388065. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
- Stempel, Tom (July 1996). Storytellers to the Nation: A History of American Television Writing. Syracuse University Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0815603689. Retrieved 10 July 2014.