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Jack Johnstone

Jack Johnstone

Show Count: 26
Series Count: 8
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Born: May 7, 1906
Old Time Radio, Vineland, New Jersey
Died: November 16, 1991, Santa Barbara, California
Educated at Rutgers University and Arnold College. He made his radio debut in 1924 playing the violin on a local Philadelphia station.

Jack Johnstone went on to have a varied career in radio but is probably best remembered as the producer, director and writer of the highly successful detective drama, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.

The show actually ran from 1948 until 1962 and had originally planned to star Dick Powell as Johnny Dollar. Instead, Powell went to star in the series Richard Diamond and Charles Russell was cast as the first Johnny Dollar.

The show didn't begin with good reviews, but tried again and again until it succeeded. Dollar had an unlimited bank account and lived up to it all over the country, Whether it was investigating arson or stolen diamonds, Dollar was always in the thick of adventure.

Jack Johnstone both wrote, produced and directed Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar from 1955 when Bob Bailey took over the role as Dollar. It's said that he breathed life in to the old series and it now had 75 minutes of broadcast time each week. Johnstone made the characters the most important part of the show, rather than the case, and it resonated with the fans.

Jack Johnstone was also writer for the juvenile adventure series, The Adventures of Superman, based on the DC comic hero. In order to keep superman's identity secret those who discovered who he was were cleverly killed off by the writer. It was also one of the first radio series to address religious and racial intolerance.

Hollywood Star Playhouse, a drama anthology, was directed by Johnstone and starred such mega actors as James Stewart, Deborah Kerr, Harry Bartell and William Conrad. It was a series that brought suspense and drama to the radio with well-told stories.

Johnstone also had a hand in the musical variety and drama show, The Philip Morris Playhouse, first broadcast in 1939. Top Hollywood stars such as Vincent Price, Marlene Dietrich and Dan Dailey played roles in this popular radio series. Johnstone staged the drams in mid 1938 as Jack Johnstone's Dramas, and eventually the band and drama parts of the show were separated in to two shows that were broadcast on opposing networks.

Somebody Knows was a murder drama series taken from real life stories. Johnstone was the narrator director on the show, which ran from July until August of 1950. It was a summer replacement for the show Suspense. Somebody Knows was based on the premise that no murder is the perfect crime and that somebody knows who the murderer is. Listeners were invited to come forward with information and if a crime was actually solved on account of it they would be rewarded with $5000. However, one show based on Elizabeth Short,  a 22 year old woman known as Black Dahlia who was mutilated in 1947, still remains a mystery.

Jack Johnstone had a long and rewarding career involved on many radio programs which can still be heard today.

He died in Santa Barbara at the age of 85 on November 16th, 1991 and was survived by his two daughters, Bonnie and Tony.

Buck Rogers In The 25th CenturyBuck Rogers In The 25th Century
Show Count: 24
Broadcast History: 7 November 1932 to 22 May 1936, 5 April 1939 to 31 July 1939, 18 May 1940 to 27 July 1940 and 30 September 1946 to 28 March 1947
Sponsor: Kelloggs, Cocomalt, Cream of Wheat, General Foods
Cast: Curtis Arnall, Matt Crowley, Carl Frank, John Larkin, Adele Ronson, Virginia Vass, Edgar Stehli, Elaine Melchior, Bill Shelley, Dan Ocko, Jack Roseleigh, Joe Granby
Director: Jack Johnstone
Producer: Jack Johnstone
CBS Radio WorkshopCBS Radio Workshop
Show Count: 72
Broadcast History: 27 January 1956 to 22 September 1957
Cast: Various, Aldus Huxley, William Conrad, Parley Baer, Lurene Tuttle, Jack Kruschen, Joseph Kearns, Vic Perrin, Sam Edwards, Gloria Henry, Charlotte Lawrence
Director: Jack Johnstone, William N Robson, Dee Engelbach, Elliott Lewis, Antony Ellis
Producer: William Froug
The CBS Radio Workshop was an experimental dramatic radio anthology series that aired on CBS from January 27, 1956, until September 22, 1957. Subtitled “radio’s distinguished series to man’s imagination,” it was a revival of the earlier Columbia Experimental Laboratory (1931), Columbia Experimental Dramatic Laboratory (1932) and Columbia Workshop broadcasts by CBS from 1936 to 1943, and used some of the same writers and directors employed on the earlier series'.
Hollywood Star PlayhouseHollywood Star Playhouse
Show Count: 18
Broadcast History: April 24th, 1950 - February 15th, 1953
Cast: James Stewart, Deborah Kerr, Harry Bartell, William Conrad
Director: Jack Johnstone
Producer: Robert Ryan
Host: Herbert Rawlinson, Orval Anderson
Hollywood Star Playhouse, a drama anthology, was directed by Jack Johnstone and starred such mega actors as James Stewart, Deborah Kerr, Harry Bartell and William Conrad.
Man Called X, TheMan Called X, The
Show Count: 96
Broadcast History: July 1944 to Sept 1948 and Oct 1950 to May 1952
Sponsor: General Motors, Frigidaire
Cast: Herbert Marshall, William Conrad, Lawrence Dobkin, Cathy Lewis, Harry Lang, Peter Leeds, Leon Belasco
Director: Jack Johnstone
Somebody KnowsSomebody Knows
Show Count: 2
Broadcast History: July 6th - Sugust 24th, 1950
Director: Jack Johnstone
Producer: James L. Saphier
Somebody Knows was a murder drama series taken from real life stories.