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This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.

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I LOVE A MYSTERY (Johnny Dollar Style): or "The Bob Bailey Audition Program"
by John C. Abbott, ©2013
(From Radio Recall, June 2013)

When "The Who is Johnny Dollar Matter?" was PUblished in 2010, I included an entry in Volume III, Section 7 noting the existence of a Bob Bailey aUdition program, "The Ellen Dear Matter" In January 2013 I was asked by a reader just why J included that program, as most catalogs for YTJD do not include it. I had to go back to my research notes to answer this one - after ail, I put it in there for a reason. As there is no electronically available program clearly identified as an audition for Bob Bailey I contacted my most knowledgeable sources and informants, and here is what can be determined:

First of all, I searched my notes and found a reference to this program as an "audition" program on the catalog of YTJD scripts on file at the Thousand Oaks Library in Thousand Oaks California. This is the answer to WHY the audition entry is in the book.

But there are even more questions to answer because as I searched my collection of script title pages I found that I had not ONE, but TWO copies of the title page for "The Ellen Dear Matter" script - both from the KNX collection at the Thousand Oaks Library One script is labeled as an "audition" script and the other is labeled as the "broadcast" script. (Images of these scripts can be seen at www.humealumni.org/ytid./audition.html).

Now - the mystery begins. The "broadcast" script is dated January 6, 1957 which is the date assigned to the program in most catalogs. However, the "audition" script is dated January 29, 1957 So the first question is, why is the "audition" script dated 23 days after the program was aired?

While the January 29 script is cleany labeled "audition", there is not a simple answer as to why. For example, the title page on the script has two curious entries:

I) The typed notation "(REVISED)"

2) The addition of a typed, carbon copy


However the most telling difference between the scripts is the cast members. The "audition" script has the following cast members:

+ Virginia Gregg as "VI" and "PA"
+ Lawrence Dobkin as "PAT"
+ Harry Bartell as "ART"
+ Jay Novello as "JAC"
+ Jack Edwards as "COR"
+ Barney Phillips as "THOR"
+ John Dehner as "BURR"

The "broadcast" script has the following cast 5 members:

+ Virginia Gregg as "Vi" and "P.A. ANNCR"
+ Lawrence Dobkin as "PAT McCRACKEN"
+ Howard McNear as "ART"
+ Jay Novello as "JACQUES"
+ Jack Edwards as "CORRELO"
+ Barney Phillips as "CAPT THORSON"
+ Raymond Burr as "BURRMAN"

So, the clue to finding the true "audition" program is to find one with John Dehner as "Bunman" and Harry Bartell as "Art" Note also that the "audition" script abbreviates the role name where as the "broadcast" script does not. But one of the most telling differences is this: the "audition" script only has a single date· January 29, 1957 The "broadcast" script has both a "CUT" date (December 6, 1956) and an "AIR" date (a handwritten January 6, 1957 covering the original date of December 30,1956 indicating that for some reason the program was not aired on the planned date).

Also, the format of the broadcast script page also matches the format of all the other 600+ YT JD script pages I have. I have listened to my audio copies of "The Ellen Dear Matter" I have three copies from three different sources, and they are identical copies of the AFRS version of the program. These AFRS programs are difference from most AFRS programs as they retain Bob Bailey's promo for the next program ("The DeSalies Matter") and they retain the rundown of the cast - the cast in the "broadcast" script.

So, in true detective style, I put out a query to all my research sources and informants. I got one lead that told me there was a copy of the "audition" program available from an OTR dealer This ultimately turned out to be a false lead, as another informant found a copy of the dealer's "audition" copy only to discover that is was yet another copy of the "broadcast" program. So, the "audition" program probably does not exist.

So, what does all this mean? The correct answer is not easy to educe, as all those concerned are no longer with us. So at this point, I am comfortable with the following "explanation".

The "audition" script for "The Ellen Dear Matter" was used by Jack Johnstone to "audition" Bob for the program as a formality the audition was never recorded the date is wrong, and the "AS BROADCAST" is erroneous.

I would love to what the "correct" answer is.