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Yours Truly Johnny Dollar

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar was a radio drama that aired on CBS Radio from February 18, 1949 to September 30, 1962. The first several seasons imagined protagonist Johnny Dollar as a standard private investigator drama. In 1955 after a yearlong hiatus, the series came back in its best-known incarnation with Bob Bailey starring in "the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed expense account America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator." There were 809 episodes (plus two not-for-broadcast auditions) in the 12-year run, and more than 720 still exist today. Each story of the Bailey years started with a phone call from an insurance executive, calling on Johnny to investigate an unusual claim. Each story required Johnny to travel to some distant locale, usually within the United States but sometimes abroad, where he was almost always threatened with personal danger in the course of his investigations. Johnny's file on each case was usually referenced as a "matter," as in "The Silver Blue Matter" or "The Forbes Matter". Later episodes were more fanciful, with titles like "The Wayward Trout Matter" and "The Price of Fame Matter" (the latter featuring a rare guest-star appearance by Vincent Price as himself). Johnny usually stuck to business, but would sometimes engage in romantic dalliances with women he encountered in his travels; later episodes gave Johnny a steady girlfriend, Betty Lewis. Johnny's precious recreational time was usually spent fishing, and it was not uncommon for Johnny's clients to exploit this favorite pastime in convincing him to take on a job. Each story was recounted in flashback, as Johnny listed each line item from his expense account. The episodes generally finished with Johnny tallying up his account and traveling back to Hartford, Connecticut, where he was based. Most of the expense account related to transportation, lodging, and meals, but no incidental expense was too small for Johnny to itemize, as in "Item nine, 10 cents. Aspirin. I needed them." The monetary amounts weren't always literal: the smallest line item Johnny ever recorded was "two cents: what I felt " after a professional setback; the largest was "one million dollars" (the way he felt after finding a missing woman and her daughter in a snowbound cabin). Each episode would end with Johnny submitting his grand total of miscellaneous expenses. Sometimes Johnny would add a sardonic postscript under "Remarks," detailing the aftermath of the case. (One case that especially disgusted Johnny ended abruptly with "Remarks nil!") In later seasons the program sometimes referred to itself, with other characters recognizing Dollar's voice from the radio. [wikipedia]

 

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