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Night Watch

Night Watch

The idea of reality as entertainment seems fairly modern. But if you ever listened to Night Watch, you know it’s nothing new. Instead of reality TV Night Watch is reality radio that aired from 1954-1955. The closest modern-day equivalent of Night Watch is the television show Cops.

Following the success of Dragnet, Night Watch was a crime documentary that highlighted real footage of real cases. The crimes were caught on tape as reporter Donn Reid wore a wire and rode along with police office Sergeant Ron Perkins. The show was taped in Culver City, CA. Reid rode with the police on the night shift – from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. when crimes were most likely to occur. By the time the show stopped airing, there were over 100 incidents caught on tape.

As the action unfolded, Reid caught it on tape and later aired it on Night Watch. It was completely unscripted with no special effects or any other kind of soundtrack. Because it showcased real situations, it was extremely exciting and dramatic. In fact, Donn Reid was shot at in one episode and he was also stabbed in a different episode.

The names of all the characters were changed to protect the identities of the victims and their families and the suspects under scrutiny. Locations were also changed to protect identities. However, these were the only things about the show that didn’t represent complete reality.

At the end of every show, Night Watch gave an epilogue letting listeners know what had happened to the criminals who were featured. They would also ask listeners to be good citizens and help local law enforcement to do their jobs.

One thing that’s interesting to note is that the technology used to produce this show was fairly primitive compared to what we use today. Large amounts of heavy equipment had to be taken to each crime scene. In addition, editing had to be done by literally splicing the tape to remove profanity and other unacceptable content from the tape. The result is a somewhat rudimentary editing job where you can clearly tell dialogue was cut. And in the 1950s much of what was said had to be filtered.

If you’re a fan of today’s reality programming, you’ll surely enjoy listening to this reality show from the 1950s and although everything you’re hearing is real, the show still maintains its excitement and drama. Listen for yourself and find out how gripping these true tales can be!

Broadcast: 7th January 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Mar 07 2008
Broadcast: 5th April 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Mar 08 2008
Broadcast: 12th April 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Mar 09 2008
Broadcast: 3rd May 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Mar 28 2008
Broadcast: 10th May 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Mar 10 2008
Broadcast: 17th May 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Mar 11 2008
Broadcast: 24th May 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Apr 04 2008
Broadcast: 4th June 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jun 06 2008
Broadcast: 11th June 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jun 13 2008
Broadcast: 18th June 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jun 20 2008
Broadcast: 25th June 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jun 27 2008
Broadcast: 2nd July 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jul 03 2008
Broadcast: 10th July 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jul 10 2008
Broadcast: 17th July 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jul 17 2008
Broadcast: 24th July 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jul 24 2008
Broadcast: 31st July 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jul 31 2008
Broadcast: 7th August 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Aug 07 2008
Broadcast: 14th August 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Aug 14 2008
Broadcast: 21st August 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Aug 21 2008
Broadcast: 28th August 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Aug 28 2008
Broadcast: 4th September 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Sep 04 2008
Broadcast: 11th September 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Sep 11 2008
Broadcast: 18th September 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Sep 18 2008
Broadcast: 25th September 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Sep 25 2008
Broadcast: 7th October 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Oct 07 2008
Broadcast: 14th October 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Oct 14 2008
Broadcast: 21st October 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Oct 21 2008
Broadcast: 28th October 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Oct 28 2008
Broadcast: 4th November 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Nov 04 2008
Broadcast: 11th November 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Nov 11 2008
Broadcast: 18th November 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Nov 18 2008
Broadcast: 25th November 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Nov 25 2008
Broadcast: 2nd December 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Dec 02 2008
Broadcast: 16th December 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Dec 16 2008
Broadcast: 23rd December 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Dec 23 2008
Broadcast: 30th December 1954
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Dec 30 2008
Broadcast: 13th January 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Aug 01 2008
Broadcast: 20th January 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jan 26 2010
Broadcast: 27th January 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Jan 28 2010
Broadcast: 3rd February 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Apr 11 2008
Broadcast: 10th February 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Apr 18 2008
Bra
Broadcast: 17th February 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Apr 25 2008
Broadcast: 24th February 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: May 02 2008
Broadcast: 1st March 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: May 09 2008
Broadcast: 10th March 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: May 16 2008
Broadcast: 17th March 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: May 23 2008
Broadcast: 24th March 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: May 30 2008
Broadcast: 31st March 1955
Starring: Donn Reid
Added: Dec 09 2008