Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, August 22, 2019


Johnny Dollar, "the man with the action-packed expense account," was a free-lance insurance investigator -- a job that allowed him to come across to come across murder and various crimes on a weekly basis.  Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar ran from February 18, 1949 to September 30, 1962 on CBS Radio with a year-long hiatus in 1955 for a total of 809 episodes, 90% of which exist today.

Johnny was first played by movie actor Charles Russell (The Late George Apley, Give My Regards to Broadway, Inner Sanctum) who was replaced in 1950 by Edmond O'Brien (D.O.A., The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Seven Days in May), who was then replaced in 1952 by John Lund (A Foreign Affair. To Each His Own, High Society), who carried the role through 1954.  Dick Powell had played Johnny in the audition show in 1948 but bowed out to pursue other roles.  (When Powell auditioned the show was called Yours Truly, Lloyd London -- the name changed by the time Powell did the audition show from fears of a legal brouhaha with a certain British insurance giant.

The show was revived in September 1955 with a new lead and a new director.  The director was Jack Johnstone, a radio veteran whose career would include directing The Adventures of Superman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Crime Doctor, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, and episodes of CBS Radio Workshop, Hollywood Star Playhouse, and Hollywood Star Time, among many others.
Johnstone changed the format of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar from a weekly half-hour show to a fifteen minute, five times a week show, allowing 75 minutes for each weekly arc.  To maintain consistency, Jackstone also mandated that all five episodes of a weekly show be recorded in one take.  (This format lasted until November 2, 1956, after which iT returned to a half-hour weekly format.)

And the new Johnny Dollar?  He was Bob Bailey, who had a long career in radio, beginning with 1936's Mortimer Gooch.  Bailey also had roles in That Brewster Boy, Meet Corliss Archer, and the title role in detective series Let George Do It.  Bailey made the role of Johnny Dollar his own with nearly 500 episodes.  After Bailey left the program, it floundered on for an addition two years -- with two different actors, Bob Readick and Mandel Kramer -- until it died in 1962.  (There was one additional Johnny Dollar, Gerald Mohr, who took the role for the 1955 audition show, as Powell had done in 1948.)

"The Primrose Matter" first aired October 8-12, 1956.


Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

And, wrapping things up, Part Five:

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