Gunsmoke (1955-1975)

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    There are 35 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by The Ringo Kid.

    • Gunsmoke (1955-1975)



      Information From IMDb

      Plot Summary
      Matt Dillon, is the Marshall of the wild west town Dodge City, where lawlessness is rife!
      He uses, his sound judgement. to deal with the daily problems of frontier life,
      gunfights, brawls, castle rustling, land fraud and other stand offs!
      Written by ethanedwards

      Series Cast
      James Arness ... Marshal Matt Dillon / ... (615 episodes, 1955-1975)
      Milburn Stone ... Dr. Galen 'Doc' Adams (387 episodes, 1955-1975)
      Amanda Blake ... Kitty Russell (351 episodes, 1955-1974)
      Ken Curtis ... Festus Haggen / ... (241 episodes, 1959-1975)
      Glenn Strange ... Sam Noonan / ... (194 episodes, 1961-1973)
      Dennis Weaver ... Chester Goode (177 episodes, 1955-1964)
      Buck Taylor ... Newly O'Brien / ... (113 episodes, 1967-1975)
      Ted Jordan ... Nathan Burke / ... (105 episodes, 1961-1975)
      James Nusser ... Louie Pheeters / ... (75 episodes, 1956-1970)
      Burt Reynolds ... Quint Asper (50 episodes, 1962-1965)
      and many, many more including

      Jenny Lee Arness, Edward Asner Dan Blocker, Bruce Boxleitner,
      Beau Bridges, Charles Bronson, Gary Busey,
      Sebastian Cabot, Frank Cady, Harry Carey, Jr.,
      John Carradine, Lee J. Cobb, Chuck Connors
      Elisha Cook, Jr., Robert Culp,Kim Darby, Bette Davis
      Bruce Dern, William Devane, Angie Dickinson, James Doohan,
      Richard Dreyfuss, Buddy Ebsen, Barbara Eden, Jack Elam, Sam Elliott, Paul Fix
      Jay C. Flippen, Constance Ford, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Victor French
      Leif Garrett,, Alan Hale, Jr. Earl Holliman, Ron Howard,
      Marsha Hunt, Dennis Hopper, John Ireland, Richard Jaeckel, Ben Johnson,
      DeForest Kelley, George Kennedy, Martin Landau
      Anna Lee, Jack Lord, Strother Martin, Vera Miles, John Mitchum,
      Ricardo Montalban, Leslie Nielsen, Leonard Nimoy,
      Warren Oates, John Payne, Slim Pickens,Denver Pyle,
      Pernell Roberts, Katharine Ross, Kurt Russell,
      William Shatner, Aaron Spelling, Loretta Swit, S Gloria Talbott,
      Russ Tamblyn, Vic Tayback
      Forrest Tucker, Robert Urich, Lee Van Cleef, Robert Vaughn
      Jon Voight, Adam West, Chill Wills,

      Series Directed by
      Andrew V. McLaglen (96 episodes, 1956-1965)
      Harry Harris (64 episodes, 1961-1966)
      Ted Post (55 episodes, 1955-1963)
      Bernard McEveety (53 episodes, 1967-1975)
      And many, many others....

      * At 20 years and 633 episodes, the longest-running American prime-time drama TV series to date. (2008)

      * It was originally produced for the CBS Television Network by Filmcrafters at the Producers Studio (now the Raleigh Studio). Around 1960, CBS took over production and moved it to KTLA Studios, then owned by Paramount Pictures. Around 1963 production was moved to CBS Studio Center, formerly Republic Studios, where it remained for the rest of the show's run. Starting around 1970, CBS produced it in association with The Arness Company (James Arness). Originally syndicated by CBS Films and then by its successor, Viacom, now Paramount Television.

      * James Arness and Milburn Stone are the only two regulars to stay with the show for its entire 20-year, 633-episode duration on CBS.

      * The series was the final film project of Glenn Strange.

      * Slated to be canceled in 1967 due to low ratings, but then-CBS president William Paley reversed the decision. He moved the show from Saturdays to Mondays (cancelling "Gilligan's Island" (1964) in the process), placing it back in the Nielsen's Top Ten (Paley and his wife were both big fans of the show).

      * Rumor has it that Rex Koury had so little time to pen the theme song that he hastily scribbled it while in the bathroom. It was originally written for "Gunsmoke" when it was a radio show and later adapted for TV.

      * "Gunsmoke" was created by writer John Meston and producer Norman MacDonnell as a radio series that premiered on CBS in 1952. Many of the early television episodes are adaptations of Meston's radio scripts. The radio series ran for more than 400 episodes and lasted until 1961.

      * When a replacement for Dennis Weaver was needed when he was leaving the show it was director Andrew V. McLaglen's suggestion that Ken Curtis be brought in for a tryout as Festus Haggen in a few episodes. McLaglen had directed Curtis in a similar role in an episode of "Have Gun - Will Travel" (1957). Festus was given the job of deputy to make him different from Weaver's character of Chester Good (who was never a deputy).

      * The series was set in the 1870s. Kansas entered the Union in 1861. The Marshals Service provided local law enforcement in territories, not in states. The duties Matt Dillon performed would have been handled by a town Marshal or county sheriff (in this case, Ford County). Each state (or federal court district) had one US Marshal, who was in charge of all the Deputy US Marshals in that particular jurisdiction; Matt Dillon would have been a Deputy US Marshal.

      * The actress originally offered the part of Miss Kitty, Polly Bond (aka Polly Ellis), turned it down due to her recent (at the time) marriage to actor Tommy Bond in 1953.

      * This show, along with "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955) helped launch a great era of the TV western. Westerns became so popular on TV that by the end of the 1950s, there would be as many as 40 Westerns in prime time.

      * Originated in a 30-minute format, later expanding to 60 minutes.

      * According to a TV Guide article published in the August 23, 1975 issue (just before the show left the air), 26 actors screen-tested for the role of Matt Dillon. William Conrad (voice of radio's Matt Dillon) was one, but didn't look the part. Raymond Burr sounded great, but according to producer-director Charles Marquis Warren: "he was too big; when he stood up his chair stood up with him" (Burr later lost considerable weight to play Perry Mason)). John Pickard almost made it, but did poorly in a love scene with Kitty (he later guest-starred a few times in various roles). Warren and producer Norman MacDonnell stoutly denied that they even considered major film star John Wayne - but they went with James Arness, who looked and sounded a LOT like Wayne. When Arness was reluctant to take the role, Wayne persuaded him and even agreed to introduce the first episode.

      * According to "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows" (8th Edition, pg. 495), John Wayne was the first choice to play Marshal Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke" (1955), but declined because he did not want to commit to a weekly TV series. He did, however, recommend his friend James Arness for the role, and gave the on-camera introduction in the pilot.

      * Gary Busey's character Harve Daley was the last man killed on the show.

      * James Arness received his draft notice in 1943 and trained at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, before shipping out for North Africa. He was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division in time for the invasion of Anzio. Ten days after the invasion, Arness was severely wounded in the leg and foot by machine-gun fire. His wounds, he lost part of his foot, plagued him the rest of his life. The injury made it difficult for him to walk for extended stretches, when shooting movies or TV shows, any scenes that required extensive walking would be shot early in the morning, before his feet and knees started giving out. The wounds resulted in his medical discharge from the army. He received the Bronze Star; the Purple Heart; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze campaign stars; the World War II Victory Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge for his service

      * The famous opening scene of every episode showed Matt Dillon facing down a gunman on Dodge City's main street, the gunman drawing and firing and Dillon firing back. That "gunman" was actor and quick-draw artist Rodd Redwing, famous for his ability to draw his gun from its holster and fire it in only two-tenths of a second.

      * The gunfight between Matt Dillon and an unknown gunman that opened every episode was shot on the same main street as that used in High Noon (1952).

      Filming Locations
      Bell Ranch, Santa Susana, California, USA
      Big Sky Ranch - 4927 Bennett Road, Simi Valley, California, USA
      Bronson Canyon, Griffith Park - 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles, California, USA
      CBS Studio Center - 4024 Radford Avenue, Studio City, Los Angeles, California, USA
      California Studios - 5530 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
      Coronado National Forest, Arizona, USA
      Corriganville, Ray Corrigan Ranch, Simi Valley, California, USA
      Hill City, South Dakota, USA
      (episodes16.6 and16.7)
      Hollywood Center Studios/KTLA Sunset Lot - 5800 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
      Iverson Ranch, Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California, USA
      Johnson Canyon, Kanab, Utah, USA
      Kanab Movie Ranch - 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, Utah, USA
      Kanab, Utah, USA
      Melody Ranch - 24715 Oak Creek Avenue, Newhall, California, USA
      Old Tucson - 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona, USA
      Paramount Ranch - 2813 Cornell Road, Agoura, California, USA
      Sierra Railroad, Jamestown, California, USA
      Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park - Agua Dulce, California, USA

      John Wayne Gunsmoke Intro


      Good evening. My name's Wayne. Some of you may have seen me before; I hope so. I've been kicking around Hollywood a long time. I've made a lot of pictures out here, all kinds, and some of them have been Westerns. And that's what I'm here to tell you about tonight: a Western—a new TV show called Gunsmoke. No, I'm not in it. I wish I were, though, because I think it's the best thing of its kind that's come along, and I hope you'll agree with me; it's honest, it's adult, it's realistic. When I first heard about the show Gunsmoke, I knew there was only one man to play in it: James Arness. He's a young fellow, and maybe new to some of you, but I've worked with him and I predict he'll be a big star. So you might as well get used to him, like you've had to get used to me! And now I'm proud to present my friend Jim Arness in Gunsmoke.

      — John Wayne- Gunsmoke TV episode one
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 17 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: Classic TV Westerns- Gunsmoke (1955-1975)

      Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series
      created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston.
      The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement
      of the American West.
      The central character is lawman Marshal Matt Dillon, played by William Conrad on radio
      and James Arness on television.
      When aired in the UK, the television series was initially titled Gun Law,
      later reverting to Gunsmoke.

      The radio series ran from 1952 to 1961. John Dunning wrote that among radio drama enthusiasts, "Gunsmoke is routinely placed among the best shows of any kind and any time."
      The television series ran for 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975, and lasted for 635 episodes.
      At the end of its run in 1975, Los Angeles Times columnist Cecil Smith wrote:
      "Gunsmoke was the dramatization of the American epic legend of the west.
      Our own Iliad and Odyssey, created from standard elements of the dime novel
      and the pulp western as romanticized by [Ned] Buntline, [Bret] Harte,
      and [Mark] Twain. It was ever the stuff of legend."

      The TV series ran from September 10, 1955, to March 31, 1975, on CBS
      with 635 total episodes.
      The first 12 seasons aired Saturdays at 10 p.m., seasons 13 through 16 aired Mondays at 7:30 p.m.
      and the last four seasons aired Mondays at 8 p.m..
      Its longevity has runners-up questioning its primacy as longest run.
      It is the longest running, prime time series of the 20th century.

      Today, it still has the highest number of scripted episodes for any, U.S. primetime,
      commercial live-action television series.
      Some rival programs in contention are foreign-made with U.S. airing.
      As of 2010, it is the fifth globally, after Doctor Who (1963–1989, 2005– ), Taggart (1983–), The Bill (1984–2010).
      James Arness and Milburn Stone portrayed their Gunsmoke characters for 20 consecutive years,
      as did Kelsey Grammer as the character Frasier Crane,
      but over two half-hour sitcoms.
      George Walsh, the announcer for Gunsmoke, began in 1952 on radio's Gunsmoke
      and continued until television's Gunsmoke was canceled in 1975.

      What a great series this was, and of course kicked off by Duke,
      introducing his protege, James Arness in the first episode.

      From the IMDB Biography on James Arnes
      (1953). Wayne took it upon himself to line up work for Arness, becoming one of the withdrawn young actor's few friends. In 1955, Wayne was offered the role of Matt Dillon in the TV version of the popular radio series Gunsmoke. Wayne turned it down but recommended that Arness be cast and even went so far as to introduce him to the nation's viewers in a specially filmed prologue to the first Gunsmoke episode. Truth be told, Arness wasn't any keener than Wayne to be tied down to a weekly series, and as each season ended he'd make noises indicating he planned to leave. This game went on for each of the 20 seasons that Gunsmoke was on the air, the annual result being a bigger salary for Arness, more creative control over the program (it was being produced by his own company within a few years) and a sizeable chunk of the profits and residuals. When Gunsmoke finally left the air in 1975, Arness was the only one of the original four principals (including Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone and Dennis Weaver) still appearing on the series.
      I wonder how many of the fellas used to love Kitty,
      I know I did!
      The list of notable guest appearances, not only included other well known
      horse opera names, but a who's who of film stars!!!

      Burt Reynolds, Charles Coburn, Harrison Ford, John Voight,
      Kurt Russell etc etc!, to name but a few!!

      A few of Duke's 'Pals' were in there too,
      particularly Ken Curtis as Festus.
      Paul Fix, Harry Carey Jnr. Jack Elam, Chill Wills,
      also made appearances.

      Here is the link to:-

      Pals Of The Saddle- James Arness
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: Classic TV Westerns- Gunsmoke (1955-1975)

      I enjoyed watching Gunsmoke when I was younger. I have never seen any of the Black & white episodes and do plan on buying some of the seasons on DvD.
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..
    • Re: Classic TV Westerns- Gunsmoke (1955-1975)

      chester7777 wrote:

      Ringo, do you have an idea how many seasons have been released?
      Might take awhile to watch them all. :ohmy:
      Chester :newyear:

      Hi C, I haven't paid any attention to how many seasons have been released but figure at least a few ;-)) What was there? about twenty seasons on TV for this show? :ohmy: I'd have to win the lottery in order to buy them all. :teeth_smile:
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..
    • Re: Classic TV Westerns- Gunsmoke (1955-1975)

      The Ringo Kid wrote:

      I'd have to win the lottery in order to buy them all. :teeth_smile:

      Maybe not. The Mrs. just borrowed 6 seasons of 24 (one at a time, of course) from the local library - didn't cost a thing!

      The only down side is that we're a little rummy around here from non-stop 24, six season's worth. :blink:

      You might check the library. If they don't have it . . . maybe they'll buy it:wink_smile:.

      Chester :newyear:
    • Re: Classic TV Westerns- Gunsmoke (1955-1975)

      chester7777 wrote:

      Maybe not. The Mrs. just borrowed 6 seasons of 24 (one at a time, of course) from the local library - didn't cost a thing!

      The only down side is that we're a little rummy around here from non-stop 24, six season's worth. :blink:

      You might check the library. If they don't have it . . . maybe they'll buy it:wink_smile:.

      Chester :newyear:

      Hi y'all, nope no luckk here in Corpus Christi. Even the main library doesn't have much to crow about when it comes to what they have. Over the years, i've donated about 20 or so DvDs that I had and no longer needed. Somehow, I think some of these donations somehow and very mysteriously get into the collections of some of the workers. Case in point-was when I donated 4-5 John Wayne DvDs that i'd bought up-grades to-they never made their way into the library system.
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..
    • Re: Classic TV Westerns- Gunsmoke (1955-1975)

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      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • Re: Classic TV Westerns- Gunsmoke (1955-1975)

      I enjoyed the first with quint as the blacksmith and the first few season when festus was brought into the mix. Later on the storylines became a little boring in my own opinion. Tv land still shows daily episodes on Gunsmoke but they seem to be stuck in the 1973 year. I first saw the quint Burt reynolds episodes on TV land. It was a great series
      Mister you better find yourself another line of work, cause this one sure DON"T fit your PISTOL!

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