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In late 1956, CBS Radio retooled the show, which reverted to a weekly half-hour drama, airing on late Sunday afternoons. Each story of the Bailey years started with a phone call from an insurance executive, calling on Johnny to investigate an unusual claim.
Bob Bailey continued in the leading role until 1960 (and wrote one episode, "The Carmen Kringle Matter"). Each story required Johnny to travel to some distant locale, usually within the United States but sometimes abroad, where he was almost always threatened with personal danger in the course of his investigations.
The serial scripts were usually written by Jack Johnstone, "John Dawson" (a pseudonym for E.
Jack Neuman), Les Crutchfield, or Robert Ryf, Blake Edwards also contributed several scripts and the show was always produced and directed by Johnstone.
Each episode would end with Johnny submitting his grand total of miscellaneous expenses.
Both Readick and Kramer were members of CBS's stock company in New York, and both appeared in other CBS dramas.The episodes generally finished with Johnny tallying up his account and traveling back to Hartford, Connecticut, where he was based.Most of the expense account related to transportation, lodging, and meals and served to transition between scenes, but no incidental expense was too small for Johnny to itemize, as in "Item nine, 10 cents. I needed them." The monetary amounts weren't always literal: the smallest line item Johnny ever recorded was "two cents: what I felt like" after a professional setback; the largest was "one million dollars" (the way he felt after finding a missing woman and her daughter in a snowbound cabin).The program changed from a 30-minute, one-episode-per-week program to a 15-minute, five-nights-a-week serial (Monday through Friday, 8-pm EST) produced and directed by radio veteran Jack Johnstone.The new Johnny Dollar was Bob Bailey, who had just come off another network detective series, Let George Do It.