A Review of "The Who is Johnny Dollar?" Matter

The following is an unsolicited review of "The Who Is Johnny Dollar Matter?" written By Dr. Joe Webb:


Today, 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, or writers budgets for time and money, put a limit on the amount of information that will end up in book form, but 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 Mandel Kramer's portrayals. (How many of us really listen to all the shows that we have? Abbott did for this series-- and every plot-line 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.

A pleasant surprise is what he calls "The Final Chapter Matter," where he speculates about an episode, complete with dialogue and expense account, where Johnny retires. I won't spoil the ending.

Abbott then summarizes background about the cases, actors, producers, and writers, as well as the recurring characters.

Abbott listened to each available show, and augmented his research with reading of scripts of shows for which no recordings exist from the KNX collection in the Thousand Oaks library, as well as other research efforts. Like all researchers, I'm sure he feels that there are still things left to do, but I still consider it all stunning and wish I had the devotion to do the same for some of my favorite series.

Volume 2 is devoted solely to Bailey's shows, and is the thickest of the volumes. Volume 3 has room for more surprises. Abbott summarizes the audition programs, and even summarizes the expense accounts by insurance company and by actor!

Also in volume 3, Abbott briefly discusses who was the best Johnny Dollar. We all know it's Bailey, and most of us would choose Mandel Kramer as second. Surprisingly, Abbott selects Charles Russell, and lists his somewhat compelling reasons.

I admit I was concerned about buying all three volumes at once, considering the cost. I can only say I'm anxious to dig into the series all over again with these books in hand.

I ordered the books through Amazon using the links on the Bear Manor page

Thanks to all who support and love OTR,
Yours Truly,
Dr Joe


Last updated: May, 2010