Through the first three actors to play Johnny Dollar (Charles Russell, Edmond O'Brien, and John Lund), there was little to distinguish the series from many other radio detective series.
Dollar was just another hard-boiled detective in a medium that was overloaded with the stereotype.
Bob Bailey, generally thought of as the most popular of the Johnny Dollars, brought a new interpretation to the character – tough, but not hard-boiled; streetwise, but not overly cynical, Bailey's Dollar was smart and gritty when he had to be. His character would get emotionally involved in a number of his cases.
He had a streak of impatience, and would occasionally not fully listen to a witness and rush off on a tangent before realizing his mistake.
Johnny often used his time when filling out his expense accounts to give the audience background information or to express his thoughts about the current case. Dick Powell, of Rogue’s Gallery fame, cut the original audition tape, but chose to do Richard Diamond, Private Detective instead.
Johnny was an accomplished 'padder' of his expense account.Other frequent guest performers were Parley Baer, Tony Barrett, John Dehner, Don Diamond, Sam Edwards, Herb Ellis, Frank Gerstle, Stacy Harris, Jack Kruschen, Forrest Lewis, Howard Mc Near, Marvin Miller, Jeanette Nolan, Vic Perrin, Barney Phillips, Jean Tatum, Russell Thomson, Ben Wright, and Will Wright.Vincent Price co-starred as himself in "The Price of Fame Matter" and went to Europe with Johnny on the case. Robert Readick started the New York run as Dollar, but only lasted a short while.Jack Johnstone continued to write for the show and submitted scripts from California.Johnstone wrote about 350 Johnny Dollar scripts under his own name and his pen names Sam Dawson and Jonathan Bundy.Johnstone wrote the last episodes of both Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and Suspense.He used the Bundy pen name when writing the last Suspense episode, "Devilstone". Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar was the last continuing detective series of the Golden Age of Radio.The name of the show derives from the fact that he closed each show by totaling his expense account, and signing it "End of report... Terry Salomonson in his authoritative "A Radio Broadcast Log of the Drama Program Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar", notes that the original working title was "Yours Truly, Lloyd London".Salomonson writes "Lloyd London was scratched out of the body of (the Dick Powell) audition script and Johnny Dollar was written in.The character closest to a continuing role was that of Pat Mc Cracken of the Universal Adjustment Bureau, who assigned Johnny many of his cases.Another atypical aspect gave the show additional credibility – frequently, characters on the show would mention that they had heard about Johnny’s cases on the radio.