Dragnet: 60 Years Ago in Los Angeles, the Baby Jesus Disappeared and the LAPD Worked the Case Tirelessly December 24, 2013

Dragnet: 60 Years Ago in Los Angeles, the Baby Jesus Disappeared and the LAPD Worked the Case Tirelessly

Yesterday, California’s Modesto Bee reported that a local church is missing the star player from its nativity scene.

When [pastor Ryan Cortright] arrived at the church, he noticed something missing from the Nativity scene in front of the church: Baby Jesus.

“Mary and Joseph are still there, looking for him, but he’s not there,” Cortright said.

The Bee doesn’t say if police were called, and whether an investigation into the savior-napping ensued. My guess is that, these days, such a case would be low on the cops’ priority list.

It wasn’t always thus, if the following “true story,” plucked from the annals of the Los Angeles Police Department, is to be believed. When the baby Jesus disappeared from a church manger, detective Joe Friday and his sidekick dropped everything and sprang into action, even though the little statue was worth “only a few dollars.” Bigger things than money were at stake!


I unapologetically and un-ironically love the now vaguely goofy earnestness of the long-running Dragnet series — and this episode, “The Big Little Jesus,” has it in spades. It was broadcast for the first time exactly 60 years ago today, and is reputed to be the all-time favorite episode of Jack Webb, the actor who created and produced the show and who ably played Joe Friday. Enjoy!

(Photo via Thomas Hawk)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Sue Blue

    Maybe he was resurrected. Or raptured, Or Jesus is just getting tired of all these graven images of his infant self.

  • Lori F

    Dont be silly. The birth day is the 25th.

  • WallofSleep

    Those times when you didn’t see Baby Jesus in the Nativity? Those were the times when Baby Jesus was carrying the manger. Yeah, his job sucks.

  • Castilliano

    Hellooo! He’s omni-omni, so his birthday is every Effin’ Day of the Year!
    (We just focus on that one because it’s…ya’ know, cold. We need comfort.)

  • LesterBallard

    If the entire police department isn’t assigned to this case, it’s just evidence of the WAR ON CHRISTMAS!

  • WallofSleep

    And that’s what you get when you go to heaven, a 24/7, 365, eternal birthday party for Jesus/God. I’m beginning to think Lucifer left of his own free will.

  • Terry Firma


  • A3Kr0n

    During intermission you could take a break, and watch a quick 47 second video of the
    Gävle Goat burning down for
    the 27th time
    . I know, I know! I never get tired of it
    either, and it fits my attention span!
    Back to the show…

  • Rob P
  • WallofSleep

    My only regret is that I have but one upvote to give.

  • WallofSleep

    I’m thinking “Of course Baby Jesus isn’t there, he’s not been born yet.”

  • Taneli Huuskonen

    Tsk tsk. Did you just say “eff” when talking about the Ineffable?! Help, where are my clutching pearls and the fainting couch?

  • Lando

    Oh my sweet baby lord! 🙂

  • maddogdelta

    Should have nailed that guy down…

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Another casualty in the War on Christmas:
    Stan Claus found dead, hog-tied

  • Castilliano

    The ‘F’ is for Fun & Faith & Family, all rolled into one big effin’ Christmas package of Festivities.
    What did you think ‘F’ stood for?
    *cough* (heretic) *cough*

    🙂 Cheers.

  • Taneli Huuskonen

    Oh yes, and the Ineffable is Unfunny, Unfaithful, and Unfamiliar, all rolled up into one Infestation.

  • moose

    Thanks for the laugh! My husband and I get a kick out of that show. It can be pretty damn funny at times. Ever see the blue boy episode?

    As for the baby Jesus, my understanding was always that the baby wasn’t supposed to be placed in the manger until Christmas morning anyway. That’s how my mom did it with our nativity set when we were kids (and I’m pretty cerain the chirch did the same thing). The manger was empty until Jesus was born.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Don’t worry. In just a few months he’s going to get nailed up. Again.

  • paulalovescats

    I loved that show. I watched every episode on Netflix.

  • newavocation

    Always thought the “It’s a good life” twlight zone episode reflected what it would be like to deal with a self centered god in heaven. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734580/

  • Hog-tied?

    Can’t blame that on the Muslims.


  • LesterBallard

    The oldies TV station in my area is showing this episode of Dragnet right now. What a hoot

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