Tag Archives: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar

30 July: Restrengthening the Dollar

Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar, re-invigorating the should-have-been-exhausted character. (Photo: CBS.)

Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar, re-invigorating the should-have-been-exhausted character. (Photo: CBS.)

His early life isn’t much known or recorded. But Bob Bailey, yet another alumnus of Chicago’s fertile 1930s radio community, went from “born in a trunk” (as most sketchy biographies of the actor phrase it) to “the man with the action packed expense account” at a time when Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar needed either a shot in the head or a kick in the ass to deliver it from the near-banality in which it was mired since its uncertain birth in 1949.

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A Depression farce: Old-time radio listening, 30 November-1 December

Lux Radio Theater: A Man’s Castle (CBS, 1 December 1941)

Early and elemental Tracy . . . (Photo: Unknown publicity photo)

Spencer Tracy reprises one of his earliest—and most arresting—film roles in a performance that’s just about as arresting even with the requisite radio adaptation and editing.

As millions are jobless in the Great Depression, a squatter’s camper (Tracy) takes in a homeless young lady (Ingrid Bergman, in the Loretta Young film role). He feeds her as she makes him a castle inside a shack and falls in love with him despite his restless nature. There’s just one little hitch: when he discovers she’s pregnant, he wants nothing more than to hop the first freight train out of town.

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Benny rides roughshod: Old-time radio listening, 29 November

The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny: Buck Benny Tries Again . . . (NBC, 1936)

Jack and Mary will have big reason to celebrate the 1936-37 season . . . (Photo: NBC)

Jack Benny has been building a steady climb since his premiere as a radio lead in 1932, and this season the work pays off—he’ll achieve his first number one finish in his time slot, on his night, and for the entire season in 1936-37.

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Space odyssey: Old-time radio listening, 19 November

Dimension X: Competition (NBC, 1950)

Les Tremayne, one of the New York actors involved heavily enough with Dimension X . . . (Photo: NBC)

Suspense and Escape dipped into the genre once in awhile. Quiet, Please was a very occasional dipper but focused, as always (and brilliantly), on the psychological fantasy first. Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers were strictly for the kids and often as not insulted even their intelligence. Not until 1950, when Destination Moon becomes a film hit, does old-time radio find an impetus for a full science fiction series, and the first such show, Dimension X, will prove as well to be the best of its breed.

Posted in Adventure, classic radio, comedy, crime drama, mystery/thriller, old-time radio, science fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments