Radio’s Most Essential People: #18 and #17

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18) Jack Johnstone

Jack Johnstone was key to many of radio’s most enjoyable programs. He was at the helm of “Buck Rogers” and  “The Adventures of Superman” as it took on multi-part stories with a mix of science fiction and social commentary.  He made his mark in strictly adult radio with his role as producer and director of Herbert Marshall’s powerful spy mystery series, The Man Called X and the Jimmy Stewart vehicle The Six Shooter. However, it was at the end of radio’s golden age that he made his most lasting mark. By 1955, radio was waning and no genre was suffering worse than radio detectives. While the mid-to-late 1950s would mark the odd growth of adult radio Westerns in the declining radio market, detective shows were played out.  Dragnet and Barrie Craig, the two longest running radio detective shows had departed the air. Johnson took on the challenge of leading the revival of a canceled detective show as a five day a week serial, a format that hadn’t worked for adult programs since World War II. However,  Johnstone’s experience on both juvenile serials and adult mysteries served him well as producer/director of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar which lasted more than a year in the daily serial format and then another six years as a weekly serial. Johnstone seemed to be holding radio together in those last year. In addition to producing and directing duties, he was also writing many episodes of Johnny Dollar and Suspense (often other an pseudonym of Jonathan Bundy.) Pound for pound, Johnstone was always vital to great radio but in its last years, he was clearly an indispensable man.

17) Dinah Shore

Dinah ShoreDinah Shore came to stardom on Eddie Cantor’s Time to Smile program in 1940. Soon, she had her own show for Bristol Myers in 1941 and would be a much sought out performer leading shows for Birds Eye frosted foods, Ford, Philip Morris, and Chevrolet. She was one of America’s most popular singers throughout radio’s golden age. Her popularity made her a guest star for programs from Lights Out to Burns and Allen. She was one of radio’s most popular and talented personalities in an era filled with talented and popular personalities.



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