Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
"The man with the action-packed expense account...America's fabulous
freelance insurance investigator...Yours truly, Johnny Dollar."
Starting on a Friday night, February 18, 1949, the radio show brought us a high-powered
insurance investigator who worked chiefly for the Universal Adjustment Bureau, a
clearinghouse for the many insurance companies. The show starred Charles Russell
as Johnny Dollar, the smart and tough detective, whose trademark it was to toss silver dollars
as tips to busboys and bellhops.
Appearing on CBS Radio, Johnny Dollar was heard each week flying off to a different town
filled with danger and possibly murder as he tried to get to the bottom of insurance fraud.
At the start of the 1950 season, Charles Russell was out and veteran film actor Edmund
O'Brien stepped in as the second Johnny Dollar. The series during the O'Brien years
improved with scripts by expert crime writer such as E. Jack Neumann, John Michael
Hayes, Sidney Marshall and Blake Edwards. The character took on the stereotype of the
American detective developed by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
Johnny Dollar was more hardboiled; his softer side rarely appeared. O'Brien left in 1952 and John Lund became Dollar number three. With
Lund in the role, the character as developed by O'Brien remained. In 1955, radio actor Bob Bailey became the fourth Johnny Dollar. It was
with Bailey that the series really blossomed. Changing to a 15-minute format five times a week, and under the sharp eye of the new
producer/director, Jack Johnstone, the scripts got much deeper into characterization and plot. And Bailey's depiction of Dollar had
shades of a gritty street fighter, yet bright and sensitive. With a strong cast (many of the same veteran radio actors appearing in different
roles) and excellent directing, the portrayals were much more real. While radio drama was declining, this was radio acting at its best. The
sound effects fit into the scripts so well as to produce some very exciting adventure/mystery. But doing a daily show live was taxing, so
by the end of 1956, the series reverted to thirty minute, once-a-week episodes. But the power of the show continued, due a lot to the
continued presence of both Bailey and Johnstone. However, toward the end of the 1950's, the show began to sound tired - some of the
scripts were weak and even Bailey did not always seem excited. Bailey left the show when it moved to New York production studios and
initially Bob Readick filled Johnny Dollar's shows. However, that was only a transition that lasted six months. In June, 1961, Mandel Kramer
came to the role. He was perhaps the second best of the Dollar portrayals. Kramer's Dollar displayed more cynical humor than Bailey's.
Johnny Dollar remained sensitive yet tough and with Jack Johnstone continuing as producer, the series remained poignant right up to its
demise.
Bob Bailey
Edmond O'Brien
Actors Who Played Johnny Dollar

Dick Powell          (Audition Show in 1948)
Charles Russell      (February 1949 - January 1950)
Edmond O'Brien    (February 1950 - September 1952)
John Lund             (November 1952 - September 1954)
Gerald Mohr          (Audition Show in 1955)
Bob Bailey             (October 1955 - November 1960)
Bob Readick          (December 1960 - June 1961)
Mandel Kramer      (June 1961 - September 1962)
Mandel Kramer
Dick Powell
Gerald Mohr
John Lund
Charles Russell
Bob Readick
List Of Shows
48/12/07 Milford Brooks III
49/01/14 Robert W Perry (Audition)
49/02/18 1 The Parakoff Policy(Premier)
49/02/18 1 The Parakoff Policy
(RehW/Alternate Music Score)
49/02/25 3 The Slow Boat from China
49/03/04 4 Robert W. Perry Case
49/03/11 5 Murder Is a Merry Go Round
49/03/25 6 Milford Brooks III Matter
49/04/01 7 Stolen Portrait
49/04/15 9 The Case of the Hundred Thousand Dollar Legs
49/04/22 10 The Case of Barton Drake
49/07/24 12 Who Took the Taxis For A Ride
49/08/07 14 Murder Ain't Minor
49/08/21 16 Out of the Fire into the Frying Pan
49/09/04 18 The Expiring Nickels and the Egyptian Jackpot
49/09/25 19 The Search for Michelle Marsh
49/10/01 20 The Fishing Boat Affair
49/10/08 21 The Racehorse Piledriver Matter
49/10/15 22 Dr Otto Schmedlich
49/10/22 23 Witness, Witness, Who's Got the Witness
49/10/29 24 The Little Man Who Wasn't There
49/11/05 25 The Island Of Tin Yutan
49/11/12 26 Melanie Clark And The Un-Nice Niece
49/11/26 27 Skulduggerying in the Skull Canyon Mine
49/12/03 28 Bodyguard to Anne Connelly
49/12/10 29 The Circus Animal Show
49/12/17 30 Port au-Prince Haiti
49/12/24 31 How I Played Santa Claus
and Almost Got Left Holding the Bag
50/02/03 35 Death Takes a Working Day
50/02/10 36 The SS Malay Trader Ship
50/02/17 37 The Grave Diggers Spades
50/02/24 38 The Archeologist
50/03/03 39 Bodyguard to the Late Robert W Perry
50/03/07 40 How I Got a Wildcat Oil Operation by the Tail
50/03/14 41 The Eighty Five Little Minks
50/03/21 42 The Man Who Wrote Himself to Death (Rehearsal )
50/03/28 43 The Village Scene Matter
50/04/04 44 The Story of the Big Red Schoolhouse
50/04/11 45 The Dead First-Helpers
50/04/18 46 The Story of the Ten Oh Eight (Rehearsal )
50/04/25 47 The Pearl Carrasa Matter
50/05/02 48 The Abel Tackett Matter (Rehearsal )
50/05/09 49 The Harold Trandem Matter
50/05/16 50 The Sidney Rykoff Matter (Rehearsal )
50/05/23 51 The Earl Chadwick Matter
50/05/30 52 The Port-Au-Prince Matter
50/06/08 53 The Carisio Diamond Matter
50/06/15 54 The Arrowcraft Matter
50/06/22 55 The London Matter
50/06/29 56 The Barbara James Matter
50/07/06 57 The Bello-Horizonte Railroad
50/07/13 58 The Calgary Matter
50/07/20 59 The Henry J Unger Matter
50/08/03 61 Blood River Matter
50/08/10 62 The Hartford Alliance Matter
50/08/17 63 The Mickey McQueen Matter
50/08/22 64R The Trans-Pacific Export Matter, South China Branch (Rehearsal )
50/08/24 64 The Trans-Pacific Export Matter, South China Branch
50/08/31 65 The Virginia Beach Matter
50/09/30 66 The Howard Caldwell Matter
50/10/07 67 The Richard Splain Matter
50/10/14 68 The Yankee Pride Matter
50/10/21 69 The Jack Madigan Matter
50/10/28 70 The Joan Sebastian Matter
50/11/04 71 The Queen Anne Pistols Matt
50/11/11 72 The Adam Kegg Matter
Page 2  Page 3  Page 4
The final broadcasts of Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar on September 30, 1962,
are often cited as the end of the Golden Age of Radio.
Credit: Eric Theriault
& Serge Lapointe
Some of the radio shows will broadcast at the end of the program
"this has been a presentation of the American Forces Radio and
Television Service (AFRTS)." These were collected from their
archives by the original collectors to fill in what was missing.