Behind The Scenes

When the show first started, it seemed to be another detective show albeit with a twist. Many of the detective in the current shows had a sidekick or a secretary plus a regular police detective who acts as a know-it-all foil sometimes. Johnny worked alone.

In the beginning, the show was on 30 minutes once a week. Many critics, both contemporary and current thought the first three actors to play the role from 1948 to 1954 did little to separate the show from the pack of other detective shows on the air like Sam Spade or Richard Diamond. In September 1954 CBS cancelled the show.

The show was revamped in 1955 with Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar, Jack Johnstone joined the show as the director and a writer. During the reset, some of the best script writers of the time wrote for the show. Including E. Jack Neuman (under the nome de plume John Dawson), Robert Ryf, and Les Crutchfield. Bob Bailey even wrote a script around Christmas in 1957 using the pen name Robert Bainter.

In 1960 CBS moved the show to New York City from Calfornia. Bailey decided not to move with the show. The seventh Johnny Dollar, Robert Readick only lasted six months.  Johnstone continued writing for the show from California. In all Johnstone wrote over 350 scripts for Johnny Dollar using his real name and two pen names, Sam Dawson and Jonathan Bundy.

When Johnny Dollar ended in 1962, it was one of only a few serialized radio shows of any time left on the air. Television was quickly taking over the radio market in spite of the higher production costs. Johnny Dollar was the end of an era.


Microphone Enjoy over 730 episodes of "America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator". You can listen to Johnny travel the world while he solves the mysteries that keep the insurance executives up at night...