Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar is a old time radio show 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, but 719 still exist today.
As originally conceived, Johnny Dollar was a smart, tough, wisecracking detective who tossed silver-dollar tips to waiters and bellhops. Dick Powell starred in the audition show, recorded in 1948, but withdrew from the role in favor of other projects. The role went instead to Charles Russell. 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 the audition tape of December 7, 1948, was actually recorded.
With the first three actors to play Johnny Dollar — radio actor Russell and movie tough-guy actors Edmond O'Brien and John Lund — 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 series ended in September 1954.
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