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Gang Busters (1952)
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Gang Busters (1952)

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Gang Busters was one of the earliest true crime drama series. The show featured dramatizations of real criminals with the stories taken from actual FBI and police files.

It started out on radio and moved to television in the fifties. The loud raucous opening, with tires screeching and sirens blaring startled people and gave birth to the descriptive phrase that is still in use, “coming on like Gang Busters”. Episode stories were based on actual Police and FBI files. Although the radio version ran for 21 years (from 1936 through 1957) the TV version was only on for one year. It had a 42 rating and was ranked number eight overall when it was cancelled, most likely making it the highest rated TV program to ever be cancelled. During it’s run Gang Busters alternated weekly with Dragnet. The show was probably cancelled so Dragnet could be shown every week.

IMDB (7.6)

Gang Busters @ Wikipedia

The Bailat-Fiaschetti Case

Detectives set out to track down a gang of international jewel thieves who have just stolen more than a million dollars worth of valuables from an estate in New York.

The Charles Mendoro Case

Charles Mendoro, an erstwhile family man, and his partner use poison gas to rob currency exchanges in Chicago.

The Alvin Karpis Case

Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents are called in to capture the notorious bank robber and kidnapper Alvin Karpis, the machine gun blasting thug who provides the muscle for the infamous Karpis-Barker gang. Federal heat forces Karpis from hideout to hideout but Karpis always stays one step of the FBI. The G-men play their trump card and, knowing that the gangster loves fishing, manage to track their quarry to popular pier.

The Dennis Case

A Canadian-born cat burglar tries to maintain his blissful domestic life while stealing guests jewelry at parties on both coasts and selling them to unwitting gem merchants in other major cities. Police begin to close in when one of the merchants recognizes the man from a wanted poster he accidentally saw while applying for a gun license.

The O’Dell-Griffin Case

Police in Buffalo, NY, mount a search for a ring of deadly jewel thieves believed to be hiding across the border in Canada.

The Scissors Gang

State police attempt to apprehend the brutal Scissors Gang, who have committed over 50 armed robberies across Connecticut.

The Homer Van Meter Case

Police pursue John Dillinger and his henchman, Homer Van Meter across the Midwest. On the run, Van Meter digs up loot hidden in glass jars, but is double-crossed by one of his underlings.

The John Dillinger Case

John Dillinger, a notorious 1930s bank robber, escapes from the state penitentiary using a wooden gun, but makes a critical error when he crosses the state line in a stolen car. That act violated a U.S. law, causing the FBI to take up the hunt. Although Dillinger manages to escape from several traps set by the G-men, he’s finally cornered by agents leaving a Chicago movie theater with “The Lady in Red”.

The Herbert Noble Case

The Syndicate tried it move in on a Texas gambling tycoon named Herbert Noble. When Noble resisted, they made repeated attempts to kill him until the twelfth attempt succeeded.

The Phantom Case

A masked phantom and his gang commit a series of payroll robberies, and the police can’t seem to find a trace of them.

The Unholy Three Case

Three lowlife bums use an inner-city mission as their center of operation for crime.

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