THE LOSS OF MEMORY MATTER and THE MASON DIXON MISMATCH MATTER YOURS TRULY JOHNNY DOLLAR

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Each story of the Bailey years started with a phone call from an insurance executive, calling on Johnny to investigate an unusual claim. Each story required Johnny to travel to some distant locale, usually within the United States but sometimes abroad, where he was almost always threatened with personal danger in the course of his investigations. Johnny's file on each case was usually referenced as a "matter," as in "The Silver Blue Matter" or "The Forbes Matter". Later episodes were more fanciful, with titles like "The Wayward Trout Matter" and "The Price of Fame Matter" (the latter featuring a rare guest-star appearance by Vincent Price as himself). Johnny usually stuck to business, but would sometimes engage in romantic dalliances with women he encountered in his travels; later episodes gave Johnny a steady girlfriend, Betty Lewis. Johnny's precious recreational time was usually spent fishing, and it was not uncommon for Johnny's clients to exploit this favorite pastime in convincing him to take on a job near good fishing locations. His past was rarely mentioned, but Dollar in one episode described himself as a four-year US Marine veteran who then worked as a police officer for a decade before changing careers to insurance investigation. Each story was recounted in flashback, as Johnny listed each line item from his expense account. The episodes generally finished with Johnny tallying up his account and traveling back to Hwartford, CT, where he was based. Most of the expense account related to transportation, lodging, and meals and served to transition between scenes, but no incidental expense was too small for Johnny to itemize, as in "Item nine, 10 cents. Aspirin. I needed them."

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