Sunday, December 4, 2016

25 More Days of Old Time Radio Christmas - Day 4: Johnny Dollar's Missing Mouse Matter (1956)

This is my fourth entry for this year's Old Time Radio Christmas.  I thought it would be good to head back to one of my all-time favorite series, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.  I have twice featured this series during the last two years with the Nick Shurn Matter (one of my favorite five-part series) and his stint as a Department Store Santa.  So, I thought I should go back to see what Johnny Dollar is up to.   And with this colder weather settling in over much of the country, we might be seeing more mice around the house.  If there were a way to pull these two needs together????  There is!  Thank you Johnny Dollar.

Here is a link to all the previous OTR Christmas entries.  If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148).  He does a great job of showcasing great holiday themed episodes, especially as we get close to Christmas.

193/365 (December 21, 2008) - The Best Christmas Tree Ornament
Cosmo the Cat in the Christmas Tree (and CMO - Chief Mouser Officer) - December 2008

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar started out in 1949 as a basic 30 minute detective series.  Dick Powell did the audition show for Johnny Dollar, but he opted to do the great series Richard Diamond (with many scripts written by a young Blake Edwards).  With Dick Powell turning down the role, CBS went with Charles Russell who played Dollar for the first year.  Many people took the role, but most fans like the episodes voiced by Bob Bailey.  He took over the role at a time when the format changed from a once weekly 30 minute episode to daily 15 minute series.  Most were five day series and allowed the writers and producers to create more in-depth stories.  After this experiment lasted around a year, they went back to the 30 minute format, still with Bob Bailey.  He would star in the series until the moved the production to New York City in November 1960.

While Johnny Dollar is a basic detective program, the gimmick was that it revolved around his expense report.  Johnny Dollar provided the exposition around the expenses incurred during the case.  At first, I could not believe that they had a show featuring an insurance investigator with an expense report.  But it quickly became one of my favorite series.

On December 23, 1956, CBS aired the "The Missing Mouse Matter."  Johnny Dollar is getting ready for the holidays when he received a call.  There is a problem reported by a Rhode Island eccentric millionaire Mr. Gillis who had previously purchased an unusual policy for something small, precious, valuable and irreplaceable.  It was not a diamond...but a mouse.  In fact, it was an "unusually talented" mouse.  Its name was Gulliver and he could sing.  Normally, the insurance company would not cover it, but they had so much business with Mr. Gillis that they could not say no.  But when the mouse goes missing....they needed to call in the best investigator they knew - Johnny Dollar.

So move over Willie the Whale - these men have found a singing mouse - who sings at a level where humans can hear. While Mr. Gillis was sure that a former entertainment agent was the guilty party, it might have been simpler to figure out when a cat shows up, with a prize between its paws.  Turns out that the ending is much sweeter for everyone, including the cat!  Joining Bob Bailey in this fun Christmas episode are Gunsmoke's Howard McNear and Parley Baer. Charles Smith wrote the script and it was directed by Jack Johnstone. On the same evening, CBS featured McNear and Bear in a Gunsmoke episode called "Beeker's Barn", that I featured last year as well.

Missing Mouse Matter (Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar) - December 23, 1956

Here are some links to programs relating to Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar:
Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2016) & Other Links

25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2015) & Other Links

25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

No comments:

Post a Comment