Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Wit & Wisdom Matter

Very often the finest moment of any story on Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar comes at the end when Johnny finishes his report and offers his remarks on the case. In many ways, particularly during Bob Bailey's tenure, it was a microcosm of what made the show so great. Even in a genre whose success often hinged on the quality of the main character's narration, Bailey's delivery of the various writers' sardonic dialogue under Jack Johnstone's direction typically added up to something special.

Two particular examples have stuck with me as I've been revisiting these programs, one from The Cui Bono Matter (by Les Crutchfield) and the other from The Markham Matter (by E. Jack Neuman, writing as John Dawson). Both are noteworthy not just for how they speak to the plot but also the way they display Johnny's character.

The Markham Matter: "In the end it was his attempt to run away, and it didn't work. It never works. Even if you get away, you find something new to run from."

The Cui Bono Matter: "When you gave me this assignment, Don, you asked a question, a phrase in Latin: cui bono? Who benefits? So, here is your answer: nobody."

If you've never heard these stories before, and even if you have, they're both well worth a listen.

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