Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, “the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed expense account — America’s fabulous freelance insurance investigator” aired on CBS Radio from January 1949 to September 1962. There were 811 episodes in the 12-year run, and more than 720 still exist today. I think I have all of them.
As originally conceived, Johnny Dollar was a smart, tough, wisecracking detective who tossed silver-dollars as tips to waiters and bellhops. Dick Powell (who we heard recently as Richard Diamond), starred in the first audition show, recorded in 1948 but he withdrew before the show started production. The show, for which Powell auditioned, was originally titled “Yours Truly, Lloyd London,” although the name of the show and its lead character were apparently changed before first episode recording in December of 1948.
At first, there was little to distinguish Johnny Dollar from other detective series at the time (Richard Diamond, Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade). While always a friend of the police, Johnny wasn’t necessarily a stickler for the strictest interpretation of the law. He was willing to let some things slide to satisfy his own sense of justice, as long as the interests of his employer were also protected. The first run ended in 1954. CBS Radio revived Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar in October 1955 with a new leading man, a new director, and a new format. The program changed from a 30-minute, one-episode-per-week affair to a 15-minute, five-nights-a-week serial (Monday through Friday, 8-8:15pm EST) produced and directed by radio veteran Jack Johnstone. The new Johnny Dollar was Bob Bailey (Our Johnny Dollar on this particular show), who had just come off another network detective series, Let George Do It. With a new lead and 75 minutes of air time each week, it became possible to develop each storyline with more detail and with more characters. The serial scripts were usually written by Jack Johnstone, “John Dawson” (a pseudonym for E. Jack Neuman), Les Crutchfield, or Robert Ryf. Blake Edwards also contributed several scripts and the show was always produced and directed by Johnstone. The show featured an excellent stock company of supporting actors, including Virginia Gregg, Harry Bartell, Vic Perrin, Lawrence Dobkin, Parley Baer, Howard McNear, John Dehner, Alan Reed, and Forrest Lewis. Movie character actors appeared occasionally.
In late 1956 CBS Radio retooled the show, which reverted to a weekly half-hour drama, airing on late Sunday afternoons. Bob Bailey continued in the leading role until 1960 (and wrote one episode, “The Carmen Kringle Matter”).
Tonight’s show, The Shepherd Matter, was originally one of the five-night serials but has been edited to fit into the time allowed. I must stress that nothing has been removed except the show introductions and the preview of the next day’s show from each of the daily programs. The show itself is basically intact. It was originally broadcast from the 16th through the 20th of April, 1956.
The Six Shooter: THE COWARD
In the second episode of The Six Shooter, former gunman and old friend of Britt Ponset’s, Will Peter, at his wife’s request, promises never to use his weapon again. Unfortunately, Noah Temple is trying to take away the Peter ranch and Will is having trouble keeping his promise. This series began just a year after Gunsmoke though The Six Shooter wasn’t the first popular adult western to air over Radio, a case can be made that it was the first to thoroughly legitimize the genre over the medium. Not only were The Six Shooter scripts (and casts) the equal of any of the first wave of adult westerns, but the series carried the considerable weight of James Stewart in the starring role. The theme song “The Highland Lament” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, became a star in its own right and NBC was flooded with inquiries and requests in the mail on how to obtain the record. The answer from producer Jack Johnstone was always the same: “It’s a special English recording restricted to broadcast use only.” Originally Aired 09/27/1953.
It Pays To Be Ignorant
This series, which ran for nine years starting in 1942 was a spoof on popular “intellectual” series as Quiz Kids and Information Please while the beginning of the program parodied the popular quiz show, Doctor I.Q. With announcers Ken Roberts and Dick Stark, the program was broadcast on Mutual from June 25, 1942 to February 28, 1944, on CBS from February 25, 1944 to September 27, 1950 and finally on NBC from July 4, 1951 to September 26, 1951.
The satirical series featured “a board of experts who are dumber than you are and can prove it.” Tom Howard was the quizmaster who asked questions of dim-bulb panelists Harry McNaughton, Lulu McConnell and George Shelton. The Irish-born Howard and Shelton had previously worked together as a team in vaudeville and comedy film shorts, while McConnell and British comic McNaughton had both appeared in many Broadway musical comedies and revues between 1920 and the late 1930s.
The original radio cast brought the show to television. It was first seen on CBS from June 6 to September 19, 1949. After two years, the series returned on NBC from July 5 to September 27, 1951.
The series was revived by Stefan Hatos-Monty Hall Productions as a weekly syndicated series from September 10, 1973 to September, 1974. In this version, host Joe Flynn queried panelists Jo Anne Worley, Billy Baxter and Match Game regular Charles Nelson Reilly.
A spoof of this spoof was done in the mid-1950s by Jackie Gleason.
Originally broadcast October 6, 1944