EP3679: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Voodoo Matter

John Lund

Johnny goes to Haiti to investigate danger to an insured man who claims to be under attack from voodoo.

Original Air Date: August 4, 1953

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  3 comments for “EP3679: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Voodoo Matter”

  1. Deb Schuler
    February 5, 2022 at 1:13 pm

    First, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy your podcast, particularly your comments at the end of the show. I just finished listening to episode 3679, the Johnny Dollar Voodoo Matter. What you did not mention is that this episode was originally an episode of Richard Diamond on which Blake Edwards also worked. I looked it up, and the date of “Little Chiva” was 03/23/53. I think Parley Baer may have voiced the small farmer who asks for help and dies in both episodes. Since there was no big reworking of the script (except to change to name of the big Haitian who helped Rick/Johnny from Chiva to Bimba) that would account for the fact that there is almost no mention of the insurance angle. While I was looking up the date for the Diamond episode, Google also found a reference on IMDB to an episode of Peter Gunn called “Voodoo” that said it was also based on the “Little Chiva” episode. I would like to see that version some day if it is available. Thanks again for bringing all this great old entertainment to those of us who missed it the first time around.

  2. Denise
    February 9, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    I was expecting Adam to mention this was a reuse (with minor revisions) of the Richard Diamond “Little Chiva” episode from 1951 (Episode 2357 of this podcast). Did Jester Hairston also play Little Chiva in the Richard Diamond version? I think it was the distinctive voice that made me think of that episode when listening to this one so I will be surprised if it was not the same actor reprising the same role (albeit with a different character name). Such a great voice and worth listening to the story in two different shows to hear again!

    The changes were minor but this was a case of it working better, in my estimation, in the revision. The more open ending in the Johnny Dollar version was creepier even with the subtle implication that Johnny knew who killed the bad guy, and that it was not Bimba as a zombie, but was letting the Voodoo/zombie explanation stand so the man who saved him didn’t get investigated in connection with the death. It should have been considered justifiable homicide anyway given the bad guy was armed and about to kill Johnny and an officer of the law but I can understand why a grateful Johnny would want to shield the man who saved his life.

    On the comments at the end, I agreed with Crow Geo (spelling?) about being confused why the insurance company had any reason to send an insurance investigator in some cases (including The Black Doll Matter). I could rationalize the insurance company’s interest however in The Voodoo Matter in continuing to investigate even after the insured died… especially given that Johnny had already travelled to Haiti on the company dime by the time the insured died. It sounds like the suspected bad guy was wealthy and that Johnny found sufficient evidence for a lawsuit against the bad guy’s estate concerning damages related to his arson and cattle killing and possibly the wrongful deaths. I don’t know about Haiti but in my jurisdiction an insurance company is entitled to reimbursement from the recovery from the offender (or in this fictional case the offender’s estate) in such a lawsuit.

    In other words, to oversimplify, the insurance company pays the farmers to cover their losses from the arson etc. based on the parameters of the insurance contract. Then there is a lawsuit against the criminal (or in this case his estate) and while the victims get some of the awarded settlement, the insurance company also gets some of it as reimbursement for what they paid to the farmers. How this is calculated depends on jurisdiction but given the wealthy suspect and significant losses to multiple farms, it was probably worth it to the insurance company in the Voodoo Matter.

    Hope that didn’t confuse too much.

  3. Clarissa
    March 31, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    A very similar script to this one aired as a Richard Diamond episode entitled “Little Chiva”. (Which you broadcast as Episode 2357.) The air date indicates that the Richard Diamond broadcast was Mar 23, 1951. So it looks like Johnny Dollar reused the script. Or at least, most of it…

    Johnny Dollar called the large man “Bemba” or maybe “Bimba” instead of “Little Chiva”. It sounds to me like the same man playing that character in both episodes. The Johnny Dollar episode ended with a supernatural feel, implying that it was zombie Bemba who took out the villain at the end. While **spoiler alert** the Richard Diamond episode had Little Chiva’s larger brother named Big Chiva killing the villain in the end.

    I enjoy the show! Thanks for putting it out!

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