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I recently my copies of "The 'Who Is Johnny Dollar?' Matter" by John C Abbott and published by Bear Manor Media arrived. The books can only be described as stunning. There is no other word for them. I'm not aware of a more exhaustive work done for one program. Very often, publishers and authors work within a budget for time and money, putting a limit on the amount of information that will end up in book form. It's hard to imagine that anyone could have anything left to write about this series after this.
I am a fan of the Bob Bailey run. I don't have much interest in the shows prior to his taking the role. Only by listening to the shows did I get an appreciation for Bob Readick and especially Mandel Kramer's portrayals. (How many of us really listen to all the shows that we have in our radio show collections? Abbott did for this series-- and every plotline down to the details of the expense account items and their amounts is here).
There are three volumes 1: The Russell, O'Brien, and Lund years 2: The Bailey years 3: Readick & Kramer years
The number of shows each actor played the role is the reason why each volume has such a different cost, $26.95, $32.95, and $19.95, respectively.
Don't cheap out and get only the one with the actors you prefer. Volume 1 has some delightful sections about the series, including Dollar's biography (assembled from tidbits from show dialogue), his personal life, various hazards that he has encountered (he's been shot 13 times, and Abbott quips about the superstitious among us not to worry about it being 13 because there are still missing programs that would adjust the number), and how to estimate Johnny's income.Read more ›
I've been a big old time radio fan for years and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar is one of my favorite shows. Its one of the few that I really worked hard to complete a near complete set of all the shows available on audio cassette. So when I saw John Abbott's books on the show, it was obvious that I had to get them.
After reading through the first two volumes (especially the first since I had been listening to many of the shows with Charles Russell and Edmond O'Brien), there are plenty of things I enjoyed reading and things I wish I could have been included.
The good: Abbott does a good job giving a synopsis of each episode including ones that only exist in script form. There was some nice trivia that the author picked up from listening to the available episodes (many times he said) and going through the scripts.
The bad: I really wish Abbott would have put some history of the show (why each actor was selected, how it got sponsorship, etc.) since there is really none in the book. Also, there are several shows that don't survive in audio form and ones that Abbott could not get in script form. These episodes are not covered in the book or a list of shows that no or little information could be found about.
On the whole, I would really recommend the books for those who are really big fans of the show, but for those who want to learn more about it that can't be deduced from listening to the shows, I would pass.
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This is a great book series about an awesome radio show. If you're reading this review, you probably already know about Johnny Dollar, the fabulous freelance insurance investigator. Heck, you may even be obsessed about it. But I can guarantee you, John C Abbott is even more obsessed! He's written 3 books that cover every detail of just about every episode. There are also essays on Dollar's background and a thoroughly detailed index. Go ahead and splurge and get all 3 volumes. Well worth it for anyone who wants the definitive word on Johnny Dollar.
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