First heard on network radio in 1948, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar chronicled the adventures of freelance insurance investigator Johnny Dollar, "the man with the action-packed expense account."
For 14 years, it was one of the most popular detective shows on the air, lasting until the final days of network radio drama in 1962. Each story started with a phone call from an insurance executive calling on Johnny Dollar to investigate an unusual claim. His investigations usually required him to travel to distant locales and often involved murder. The stories were recounted in flashback, as Dollar listed each line item from his expense account: "Item one, $3.75 cab fare to the airport."
Over the years, many actors portrayed Johnny Dollar, including Charles Russell, John Lund, and Edmund O'Brien. But in 1955 BobBailey took over as the series was switching to a new, dynamic format of 75-minute storylines told in five fifteen-minute installments, Monday through Friday. While other radio shows were waning in the mid-1950s, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar was at its peak. Experts place these adventures in with the best of the best of radio's golden age. This collection contains 30 15-minute episodes.
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Bob Bailey had a great voice with just a touch of Rod Sterling thrown in. His delivery was great, lighter than his noir predecessors, but still tough. On the other hand he was thoughtful and sensitive at times as well. Through his narrative gimmick of the chronology of his expense account entries, he told some of the best detective stories ever told. The series also had great music, leading actors and supporting casts. Part of the literary lineage of insurance investigators from Double Indemnity to Johnny Dollar to V.I. Warshawski. If, like me, you never thought you could cheer for the insurance dicks you are in for a real treat. The five part series is also the best format, allowing for longer, more complex stories. With the last broadcast of Johnny Dollar, the golden age of radio ended (as per Greg Bell of Radio Classics on XM). I can hardly wait for the rest of the volumes to come out.
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