BW – EP72: Johnny Dollar and The Death of Dramatic Radio

Posted on

In Breaking Walls Episode 72 we tell some of the story of American dramatic radio’s last decade on the air through one of the last shows to air, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar.

• The cautionary tale of the Mutual Broadcasting System and why CBS, NBC, and ABC killed their own radio business
• The 3rd Floor of NBC and Colby’s Restaurant
• Why Johnny Dollar was relaunched as a 15 minute, 5x per-week serial in 1955
• Jack Johnstone’s unusual and effective directing methods
• The many voices of Johnny Dollar
• Why Bob Bailey was so popular as Johnny Dollar
• The many actors and actresses who doubled and tripled parts on various broadcasts
• Why these stories were so strong
• What the dying radio industry was like in the late 1950s
• How the death of the radio industry ruined Bob Bailey and so many other people’s careers
• Life after the Golden Age of Radio… what happened next and what is yet to come

Today’s episode of Breaking Walls could not have been possible without the interviews by Chuck Schaden, Dick Bertel, Ed Corcoran, SPERDVAC, and John Dunning.

• Chuck’s interviews are available at
• Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran’s interviews are at by searching for The Golden Age of Radio program.
• John Dunning’s interviews are also located at under “John Dunning interviews”

Editor’s Note: I incorrectly stated the OTRR Library URL vocally. The above is correct.

• The Society To Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and Comedy can be found at
The complete list of today’s interviewees is:

Chuck Schaden
with Hans Conreid – 1.1971
with Norman Corwin – 8.1976
with Virginia Gregg – 3.1984
with Parley Baer – 3.1984
with Shirley Mitchell – 10.1984
Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran
with Bill Spier – 11.1970
with Hans Conreid – 8.1971
with Vincent Price – 11.1972
with Mandel Kramer – 9.1974
and with William Robson – 1.1976

with director Jack Johnstone – 8.8.1987

John Dunning
with Roberta Bailey-Goodwin – 2.1982
E. Jack Neuman – 5.1982.
The reading material used in today’s episode was:
Raised on Radio – Gerald Nachman
Speaking of Radio – Chuck Schaden
On The Air – The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio – John Dunning
The Who Is Johnny Dollar Matter – John C. Abbott – who also edited this week’s show

as well as numerous articles from the Radio Recall archives, courtesy of The Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, who’s website is
The podcast growth statistical information I mentioned can be found at
WallBreakers Links:
Social Media – @TheWallBreakers
Online Store –