What can you tell me about the N.O.P.D. television series? Can it be found in reruns or on Netflix?
Though the film and television industry has exploded in Hollywood South in recent years, New Orleans has long been fertile ground for visual storytelling. The 1950s television series you mention is a prime example.
N.O.P.D. was the brainchild of Frank Phares, a former Dallas newsman and scriptwriter for radio, movies and TV. He came to New Orleans with the idea of a Dragnet-style series based on police cases here. Phares partnered with the Motion Picture Advertising Service Company, a local film producer, and began filming around town in May 1954. The syndicated series, which lasted just one season, premiered in 1955 and starred Stacy Harris as Detective Beaujac, with local actors and extras filling other roles. Harris appeared as a variety of characters in Dragnet over the years and played the villain in the 1954 Dragnet feature film.
The job of playing Beaujac's partner, the fictional Detective John Conroy, came naturally to real New Orleans Police Detective Louis Sirgo, who filmed episodes of the series during the day and worked as a homicide cop at night. He also was a technical advisor on the program.
"Making Lou Sirgo an actor is a very simple thing. All he has to do is be Lou Sirgo," assistant director Clint Bolton said in a 1954 Dixie Roto photo story about the show. Sirgo worked his way up to police deputy superintendent. He was killed in the line of duty Jan. 7, 1973, as he tried to rescue officers pinned down by sniper Mark Essex at the Howard Johnson's Hotel on Loyola Avenue.
Producers of the N.O.P.D. series prided themselves on their realistic story lines and settings. Billboard said N.O.P.D. took "a documentary adventure approach to crime. ... Only the names of those directly involved with the crime have been changed."
It isn't easy to find episodes of N.O.P.D. on DVD, Netflix or TV reruns, but footage from several shows was cobbled together into two full-length movies: New Orleans After Dark (1958) and Four For the Morgue (1962). You may find clips of those compilations online, and vintage posters and lobby cards from the movies commonly are available on eBay.