One of the more intriguing things to be found on Sirius/XM satellite radio is the RadioClassics channel. This particular channel is devoted to replaying the radio dramas, mysteries, horror, and comedy of the past before television essentially took over the medium.
Nonetheless, in listening to the radio classics station I’ve found that much of episodic television originated here. Gunsmoke, for example, was a popular radio mainstay for many years before reaching television and making its mark there. Likewise, if you ever find Lucille Ball’s My Favorite Husband playing on radio classics, you quickly discover that this show was very obviously the genesis/basis for I Love Lucy, perhaps the most groundbreaking -and arguably still one of the most popular- of all sitcoms.
While some of the shows on the radio classics channel haven’t aged all that well, particularly some of the many comedies (though I can’t get enough of the wonderful Jack Benny Show), there is one show among them all that intrigues me the most: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.
This detective series starred many different actors in the title role of Johnny Dollar, an insurance investigator who managed to get himself into plenty of hard-boiled (and action packed!) mysteries. Of those various actors who played the title role for the series 12 year run, the most intriguing of the lot is easily Bob Bailey, and the best of the best of the series are the 5 part episodes that allowed for greater character depth and mystery. The series, alas, ran In this particular format for just a little over a year, but I can’t get enough of the stuff.
I sniffed around Amazon and found the following link for a 2 DVD set of some 732 (!) episodes.
I suspect the 732 episodes presented here are what remains of the 811 total episodes of the show recorded, which means that a little less than one hundred of them may be lost forever.
Still, this set, priced at a very reasonable $10, gives you more than enough Johnny Dollar to last you many, many hours of drive time (indeed my iTunes lists the total run time of these two DVD discs at a whopping 10.9 days worth of listening!).
So, if you’re in the mood for something truly unique and entertaining -and, no, I don’t receive any royalties from the sales of these discs- you might want to give Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar a look.