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Breaking Walls

Storytelling Podcasts

Breaking Walls: The Podcast on the History of American Network Radio.

Breaking Walls: The Podcast on the History of American Network Radio.


United States


Breaking Walls: The Podcast on the History of American Network Radio.






Jim Jordan On Not Bringing Fibber McGee and Molly Into TV

In 1982 Jim Jordan, famous from the radio era as Fibber McGee, spoke via the telephone with John Dunning for his 71KNUS radio program from Denver. During the course of the conversation, Jordan recalled not taking Fibber McGee and Molly into TV with his late-wife Marian.


Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Price of Fame Matter—02/02/1958

On February 2nd, 1958, Vincent Price was the special guest star (playing himself) alongside Bob Bailey in Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. The episode is entitled, "The Price of Fame Matter." This recording is from the Armed Forces Radio Network, and therefore all station identification and advertising spots have been removed.


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Roberta Bailey-Goodwin on Her Father Bob Bailey's Post-Radio Career Struggles

On February 7th, 1982, Bob Bailey's daughter Robert Goodwin Bailey joined John Dunning on 71KNUS for a chat about her father's life and career. Bailey was famous on radio for playing the lead in Let George Do It and later Yours Truly Johnny Dollar. When his radio career ended in 1960, Bob Bailey struggled with alcoholism and although he recovered, eventually had a stroke.


The Jack Benny Program: Orson Welles Subs For Jack—03/28/1943

On March 28th, 1943, Orson Welles subbed as host on Jack Benny's Grape Nuts Flakes Program on NBC. This is that broadcast.


Eve Arden On How Our Miss Brooks Was Created

In the early 1980s, radio, film, and theater actress Eve Arden spoke with John Dunning for 71K News Radio in Denver, Co. During the course of the conversation John asked her how Our Miss Brooks, her most famous radio role, was created.


Scenes From The Early History Of Johnny Dollar

This is a snippet from Breaking Walls Episode 102: The Return of Johnny Dollar (1955) ———————————— On December 7th, 1948, film veteran Dick Powell recorded an audition for a new detective series called, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar. Powell had been an a-list crooner in the 1930s, starring in both musicals and comedies at Warner Brothers and Paramount. He was also the emcee of radio’s Campana Serenade. His career changed in 1944 when Powell was cast as Raymond Chandler’s private eye Philip...


New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia reads Dick Tracy on Radio—7.1945

In July of 1945 during a newspaper deliveryman's strike, New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia took to the air on WNYC and read comics to the kids. Here he reads some Dick Tracy.


Vincent Price On Why He Loves Radio Drama

In November of 1972 Vincent Price appeared on WTIC's The Golden Age of Radio with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran (full interview here - During the interview he spoke about why he loved radio drama so much and why he feels the networks made a big mistake in forgoing the medium for television.


Jack Johnstone On Bob Bailey

In this short clip, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar director Jack Johnstone offers some glowing praise for his star, Bob Bailey.


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BW - EP102: The Return of Johnny Dollar (1955)

In Breaking Walls Episode 102, we travel back to the fall of 1955 for the re-launch of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar. Although the five-part Dollar format would last for only a year, listeners then and in the years since have praised the productions as some of the best ever. —————————— Highlights: • Who is Johnny Dollar? • Dick Powell: Not Johnny Dollar • Dollar Launches in February of 1949 • Enter The Movie Star • Enter The Second Movie Star • Dollar Signs Off • The Radio Networks Revamp...


Fort Laramie: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar Promo—05/06/1956

At the end of the Sunday, May 6th, 1956 episode of Fort Laramie entitled "Never the Twain," CBS broadcast a promotional spot for Yours Truly Johnny Dollar which was then airing five nights per-week in a fifteen-minute serial format. The Dollar five-part story which began the next night was called "The Silver Blue Matter." Neither show was sponsored. Fort Laramie would air its last episode on October 28th, and the following week Johnny Dollar aired the last of its five-part serials.


Phil Leslie On How Long He Wrote For Fibber McGee and Molly

On December 13th, 1973 Chuck Schaden sat down with radio writer Phil Leslie (full Conversation here - for a chat about his life and career. Mr. Leslie was perhaps best known for being a Fibber McGee and Molly writer. Here he shares his tenure.


NBC's Monitor Debut Episode — 06/12/1955

In 1955 NBC, CBS, ABC, and Mutual Broadcasting were looking for ways to pivot programming with cost-effectiveness and a more mobile audience in mind. Studies were showing that at least half of radio's audiences were now coming from automobile or transistor sets. Yet, there was still only rudimentary ways to measure these ratings. With network radio drama was winding down in the 1950s in favor of more news, talk, and music, NBC launched Monitor on June 12th, 1955 with this closed circuit...


Fred Allen Jokes About Jack Benny on St. Patrick's Day—03/17/1937

On the March 17th, 1937 episode of Town Hall Tonight, Fred Allen joked about his new-found friendship with Jack Benny. This episode aired three days after the two comedians famously squashed their beef in a sensational broadcast of Benny's program live from the Hotel Pierre in New York City.


Gunsmoke Director Norman Macdonnell On How Executive Committees Hurt Radio in the 1950s

In 1967 Radio producer/director Norman Macdonnell sat down for a documentary interview with John Hickman on Gunsmoke. Macdonnell directed the series during its entire radio run from 1952-1961. During the interview, he spoke of how radio's changing executive in the 1950s helped hasten radio drama's network demise. The late John Hickman was the longtime host of WAMU's "Recollections" which today is known as "The Big Broadcast."


X Minus One: Nightfall—12/07/1955

The December 7th, 1955 adaptation of Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall," as broadcast by X Minus One on NBC from New York.


Director Jack Johnstone On The Johnny Dollar Recording Process

In August of 1987, famed radio director Jack Johnstone was a guest of SPERDVAC's at the Thousand Oaks Library in California. During the course of the conversation on Johnstone's life and career he told a brief story about the Johnny Dollar recording process. Jack Johnstone directed the show between 1955 and 1960 when Bob Bailey was the star.


Mel Brooks Tells Johnny Carson About a Prank He Pulled on General Sarnoff, Head of RCA/NBC

On the February 13th, 1975 episode of The Tonight Show, Mel Brooks was the guest. The interview took place not long after Young Frankenstein debuted. During the interview, Mel told a hilarious story of a prank he pulled on top level NBC brass like David Sarnoff and Pat Weaver while he was employed as a writer for Sid Caesar.