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Gunsmoke
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
William Conrad
on radio and James Arness on television. When aired in the UK, the television series was initially titled Gun Law,[1] later reverting to Gunsmoke.[2] The radio series ran from 1952 to 1961. John Dunning[3] wrote that among radio drama enthusiasts, " Gunsmoke
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
Los Angeles Times
columnist Cecil Smith wrote: " Gunsmoke
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."[4]

Contents

1 Radio series (1952–1961)

1.1 Radio cast and character biographies

1.1.1 Matt Dillon 1.1.2 Chester 1.1.3 Doc Adams 1.1.4 Miss Kitty

1.2 Distinction from other radio westerns 1.3 Talk
Talk
of adapting Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
to television

2 Television series
Television series
(1955–1975)

2.1 Longevity records 2.2 Character longevity 2.3 Transition to TV from radio 2.4 Additional casting 2.5 Character back stories 2.6 Radio and TV character differences 2.7 Format 2.8 Popularity 2.9 TV movies 2.10 Episodes 2.11 Primetime Emmy Award wins and nominations

2.11.1 1955 (presented March 17, 1956) 2.11.2 1956 (presented March 16, 1957) 2.11.3 1957 (presented April 15, 1958) 2.11.4 1958 (presented May 6, 1959) 2.11.5 1965–1966 (presented May 22, 1966) 2.11.6 1967–1968 (presented May 19, 1968) 2.11.7 1969–1970 (presented by June 7, 1970)

2.12 Syndication 2.13 DVD releases 2.14 Regular cast; major characters 2.15 Cast

3 Awards 4 Miscellaneous 5 Notable guest stars 6 Spin-off 7 Notable directors 8 Music 9 Products

9.1 Comics 9.2 Books

10 Episodes 11 Reruns and syndication 12 Notes 13 References 14 Additional reading 15 External links

Radio series (1952–1961)[edit]

Gunsmoke

Publicity photo from Gunsmoke's radio version (photo from 1954)

Genre Western

Running time 30 minutes

Country of origin United States

Language(s) English

TV adaptations Gunsmoke

Starring William Conrad Parley Baer Howard McNear Georgia Ellis

Created by Norman Macdonnell John Meston

Produced by Norman Macdonnell

Original release April 26, 1952 – June 18, 1961

No. of series 9

No. of episodes 432

Audio format Monaural

In the late 1940s, CBS
CBS
chairman William S. Paley, a fan of the Philip Marlowe radio serial, asked his programming chief, Hubell Robinson, to develop a hardboiled Western series, a show about a " Philip Marlowe
Philip Marlowe
of the Old West". Robinson instructed his West Coast CBS
CBS
Vice President, Harry Ackerman, who had developed the Philip Marlowe
Philip Marlowe
series, to take on the task.[citation needed] Ackerman and his scriptwriters, Mort Fine and David Friedkin, created an audition script called "Mark Dillon Goes to Gouge Eye" based on one of their Michael Shayne
Michael Shayne
radio scripts, "The Crooked Wheel". Two auditions were created in 1949. The first was very much like a hardboiled detective series and starred Michael Rye (credited as Rye Billsbury) as Dillon; the second starred Straight Arrow
Straight Arrow
actor Howard Culver in a more Western, lighter version of the same script. CBS liked the Culver version better, and Ackerman was told to proceed. A complication arose, though; Culver's contract as the star of Straight Arrow
Straight Arrow
would not allow him to do another Western series. The project was shelved for three years, when producer Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston discovered it while creating an adult Western series of their own.[citation needed] Macdonnell and Meston wanted to create a radio Western for adults, in contrast to the prevailing juvenile fare such as The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger
and The Cisco Kid. Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was set in Dodge City, Kansas, during the thriving cattle days of the 1870s. Dunning[5] notes, "The show drew critical acclaim for unprecedented realism." Radio cast and character biographies[edit] The radio series first aired on CBS
CBS
on April 26, 1952 with the episode "Billy the Kid", written by Walter Newman, and ended on June 18, 1961. The show stars William Conrad
William Conrad
as Marshal Matt Dillon, Howard McNear
Howard McNear
as Doc Charles Adams, Georgia Ellis as Kitty Russell, and Parley Baer
Parley Baer
as Dillon's assistant, Chester Wesley Proudfoot. Matt Dillon[edit]

William Conrad
William Conrad
in 1952, when Matt Dillon was created on radio

Matt Dillon was played on radio by William Conrad
William Conrad
and on TV by James Arness. Two versions of the same pilot episode titled "Mark Dillon Goes to Gouge Eye" are in the archives with two different actors, Rye Billsbury and Howard Culver, playing Marshal "Mark" Dillon as the lead, not yet played by Conrad. Conrad was one of the last actors to audition for the role of Marshal Dillon. With a resonantly powerful and distinctive voice, Conrad was already one of radio's busiest actors. Though Meston championed him, Macdonnell thought Conrad might be overexposed. During his audition, however, Conrad won over Macdonnell after reading only a few lines. Dillon as portrayed by Conrad was a lonely, isolated man, toughened by a hard life. Macdonnell later claimed, "Much of Matt Dillon's character grew out of Bill Conrad."[6] Meston relished the upending of cherished Western fiction clichés and felt that few Westerns gave any inkling of how brutal the Old West was in reality. Many episodes were based on man's cruelty to man and woman, inasmuch as the prairie woman's life and the painful treatment of women as chattels were touched on well ahead of their time in most media. As originally pitched to CBS
CBS
executives, this was to be an adult Western, not a grown-up Hopalong Cassidy. Dunning writes that Meston was especially disgusted by the archetypal Western hero and set out "to destroy [that type of] character he loathed". In Meston's view, "Dillon was almost as scarred as the homicidal psychopaths who drifted into Dodge from all directions."[7] Chester[edit] Chester was played by Parley Baer
Parley Baer
on radio, and by Dennis Weaver
Dennis Weaver
on television. Chester's character had no surname until Baer ad libbed "Proudfoot" during an early rehearsal. Initial Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
scripts gave him no name at all; his lines were simply slugged to be spoken by "Townsman". Again, Conrad's sense of what the program would be supervened, and Chester was born. Chester's middle initial was given as "W" in the June 15, 1958 episode "Old Flame", and a few episodes later, on the July 7, 1958 episode "Marshal Proudfoot", it is revealed that his middle name, as are his 10 siblings, is Wesley. The amiable Waco expatriate was usually described as Dillon's "assistant", but in the December 13, 1952, episode "Post Martin", Dillon described Chester as Dillon's deputy. Contradicting this description, in the July 5, 1954, episode "Hank Prine" (episode 116, minute 3:02) Dillon corrects a prisoner who describes Chester as his "deputy" stating "Chester is not my deputy", though they both agree Chester acts like he is. Whatever his title, Chester was Dillon's foil, friend, partner, and in an episode in which Chester nearly dies ("Never Pester Chester"), Dillon allows that Chester was the only person he could trust. The TV series changed the newly limping Chester's last name from Proudfoot to Goode. Chester was played by Dennis Weaver
Dennis Weaver
who went on to star in the NBC
NBC
Mystery Movie rotating TV series entry of a police drama with a comedic touch – McCloud in the early 1970s. Weaver, himself an impressive 6'2", often looked small alongside Arness' height at 6'7", this could be partly due to the character Chester having a limp. Season 2, episode 25 tells us that Chester was in the army. He would not have had the limp then, so probably got injured in the Civil War. Not long ago but long enough that he would have learned to live with the limp and virtually forget it. Doc Adams[edit] Howard McNear
Howard McNear
starred as Dr. Charles Adams in the radio series, with Milburn Stone
Milburn Stone
portraying Dr. Galen
Galen
Adams in the television version. In the radio series, "Doc" Adams was initially a self-interested and somewhat dark character with a predilection for constantly attempting to increase his revenue through the procurement of autopsy fees. However, McNear's performances steadily became more warm-hearted and sympathetic. Most notably, this transformation began during (and progressed steadily following) the July 1952 episode "Never Pester Chester," in which a physician with a more compassionate and devoted temperament is essential to the plotline when Chester is near-fatally injured by two trouble-making Texas drovers. Doc Adams' backstory evokes a varied and experienced life: In some episodes, he had educational ties to Philadelphia; in others, he spent time as ship's doctor aboard the gambling boats that plied the Mississippi River, which provided a background for his knowledge of New Orleans
New Orleans
(and acquaintance with Mark Twain). In the January 31, 1953, episode "Cavalcade", a fuller history is offered, though subsequent programs kept close listeners' heads spinning. In "Cavalcade", his real name is Calvin Moore, educated in Boston, and he practiced as a doctor for a year in Richmond, Virginia, where he fell in love with a beautiful young woman who was also being courted by a wealthy young man named Roger Beauregard. Beauregard forced Doc into fighting a duel with him, resulting in Beauregard's being shot and killed. Though it was a fair duel, because Doc was a Yankee and an outsider, he was forced to flee. The young woman fled after him and they were married in St. Louis, but two months later, she died of typhus. Doc wandered throughout the territories until he settled in Dodge City
Dodge City
17 years later under the name of "Charles Adams". The Adams moniker was another Conrad invention, borrowing the surname from cartoonist Charles Addams
Charles Addams
as a testament to Doc's initially ghoulish comportment. Miss Kitty[edit] Kitty was played by Georgia Ellis on radio, and by Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake
on TV. Georgia Ellis first appeared in the radio episode "Billy the Kid" (April 26, 1952) as "Francie Richards", a former girlfriend of Matt Dillon and the widow of a criminal. "Miss Kitty" did not appear until the May 10, 1952, episode "Jaliscoe". Kitty's profession was hinted at, but never explicit; in a 1953 interview with Time, Macdonnell declared, "Kitty is just someone Matt has to visit every once in a while."[7] An out-take from the program makes this hilariously obvious.[8] The television show first portrayed Kitty as a saloon employee (dance-hall girl/prostitute) then from season 3 as half owner of the Long Branch Saloon. Sometime in 1959, Ellis was billed as Georgia Hawkins instead of Georgia Ellis. Distinction from other radio westerns[edit]

Photograph of the actual interior of the real-life Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas, taken between 1870 and 1885

Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was often a somber program, particularly in its early years. Dunning writes that Dillon "played his hand and often lost. He arrived too late to prevent a lynching. He amputated a dying man's leg and lost the patient anyway. He saved a girl from brutal rapists then found himself unable to offer her what she needed to stop her from moving into ... life as a prostitute."[9] Some listeners, such as Dunning, argue the radio version was more realistic. Episodes were aimed at adults and featured some of the most explicit content of their time, including violent crimes, scalpings, massacres, and opium addicts. Many episodes ended on a somber note, and villains often got away with their crimes. Nonetheless, due to the subtle scripts and outstanding ensemble cast, over the years, the program evolved into a warm, often humorous celebration of human nature. Apart from the doleful tone, Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was distinct from other radio Westerns, as the dialogue was often slow and halting, and due to the outstanding sound effects, listeners had a nearly palpable sense of the prairie where the show was set. The effects were subtle but multilayered, giving the show a spacious feel. John Dunning wrote, "The listener heard extraneous dialogue in the background, just above the muted shouts of kids playing in an alley. He heard noises from the next block, too, where the inevitable dog was barking."[10] Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was also unique from other Westerns in that it was unsponsored for the first few years of production. The program got its support from CBS
CBS
for the first two years. Series producers felt that if the show were sponsored, they would have to "clean the show up".[11] The producers wanted to find a sponsor that would allow them to keep the show the way it was.[12] Talk
Talk
of adapting Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
to television[edit] Not long after the radio show began, talk began of adapting it to television. Privately, Macdonnell had a guarded interest in taking the show to television, but publicly, he declared, "our show is perfect for radio," and he feared, as Dunning writes, " Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
confined by a picture could not possibly be as authentic or attentive to detail." "In the end", wrote Dunning, " CBS
CBS
simply took it away from Macdonnell and began preparing for the television version."[10] Conrad and the others were given auditions, but they were little more than token efforts—especially in Conrad's case, due to his obesity. However, Meston was kept as the main writer. In the early years, a majority of the TV episodes were adapted from the radio scripts, often using identical scenes and dialogue. Dunning wrote, "That radio fans considered the TV show a sham and its players impostors should surprise no one. That the TV show was not a sham is due in no small part to the continued strength of Meston's scripts." [9] Macdonnell and Meston continued the radio version of Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
until 1961, making it one of the most enduring vintage radio dramas. Conrad directed two television episodes, in 1963 and 1971, while McNear appeared on six, playing characters other than Doc, including three times as storekeeper Howard Rudd. Television series
Television series
(1955–1975)[edit]

Gunsmoke

Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
title card

Based on Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
created by John Meston Norman Macdonnell

Developed by Charles Marquis Warren

Starring

James Arness Milburn Stone Amanda Blake Dennis Weaver Burt Reynolds Ken Curtis Roger Ewing Buck Taylor

Theme music composer Rex Koury Glenn Spencer

Country of origin United States

No. of seasons 6 (Marshal Dillon, syndication retitling of half-hour episodes) 14 (Gunsmoke), 20 (total seasons)

No. of episodes 233 (Marshal Dillon, syndication retitling of half-hour episodes), 402 (Gunsmoke) 635 (total episodes) (list of episodes)

Production

Running time 26 minutes (1955–1961), 50 minutes (1961–1975)

Production company(s) CBS
CBS
Productions Filmaster Productions Arness and Company (1959–1961) The Arness Production Company (1961–1964)

Distributor CBS
CBS
Television Distribution

Release

Original network CBS

Picture format Black and white (1955–1966) Color (1966–1975)

Original release September 10, 1955 – March 31, 1975

The TV series ran from September 10, 1955, to March 31, 1975, on CBS, with 635 total episodes. It was the second Western television series written for adults,[13] premiering on September 10, 1955, four days after The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.[14][15] The first 12 seasons aired Saturdays at 10 pm, seasons 13 through 16 aired Mondays at 7:30 pm, and the last four seasons aired Mondays at 8 pm. During its second season in 1956, the program joined the list of the top ten television programs broadcast in the United States. It quickly moved to number one and stayed there until 1961. It remained among the top 20 programs until 1964.[16] Longevity records[edit]

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The television series remains the longest-running, primetime live-action series of the 20th century. As of 2017[update], it has the highest number of scripted episodes for any U.S. primetime, commercial, live-action television series. In 2019, The Simpsons
The Simpsons
will surpass Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
for the most scripted episodes.[17] Some TV fans question its position as having the longest run. Some foreign-made programs, i.e. produced outside the U.S., have been broadcast in the U.S. and contend for the position as the longest-running series.[notes 1] As of 2016[update], Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
is rated fourth globally, after Doctor Who (1963–89, 2005–present), Taggart
Taggart
(1983–2010),[18] and The Bill (1984–2010). Character longevity[edit] James Arness
James Arness
and Milburn Stone
Milburn Stone
portrayed their Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
characters for 20 consecutive years, a feat later matched by Kelsey Grammer
Kelsey Grammer
as the character Frasier
Frasier
Crane, but over two half-hour sitcoms ( Cheers
Cheers
and Frasier).[19] George Walsh, the announcer for Gunsmoke, began in 1952 on radio's Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
and continued until television's Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was canceled in 1975.[20] The first seven seasons were jointly sponsored by L&M cigarettes and Remington shaving products. Transition to TV from radio[edit] When Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was adapted for television in 1955, in spite of a campaign to persuade the network, the network was not interested in bringing either Conrad or his radio costars to the television medium. Conrad's weight was rumored to be a deciding factor. Denver Pyle
Denver Pyle
was also considered for the leading role, as was Raymond Burr, who was ultimately also seen as too heavy for the part. Charles Warren, television Gunsmoke's first director, said "His voice was fine, but he was too big. When he stood up, his chair stood with him."[21] According to Dennis Weaver's comments on the 50th Anniversary DVD, Disc One, Episode "Hack Prine", John Wayne
John Wayne
was never considered for the role; to have done so would have been preposterous since Wayne was a top movie leading man. The belief that Wayne was asked to star is disputed by Warren. Although he agrees Wayne encouraged Arness to take the role, Warren says, "I hired Jim Arness on the strength of a picture he's done for me ... I never thought for a moment of offering it to Wayne."[20] According to Thomas "Duke" Miller, a TV/movie/celebrity expert, this story was told to him by legendary actor James Stewart: "Jimmy said he was in the office with Charles Warren when Mr. Wayne came in. Mr. Warren asked Wayne if he knew James Arness, and Mr. Wayne said yes. Mr. Warren told Mr. Wayne about the transition of the show from radio to TV, and Mr. Wayne readily agreed that James Arness
James Arness
would be a terrific choice for the part of Matt Dillon. I have no reason to doubt the story, because Jimmy absolutely knew everybody." In the end, the primary roles were all recast, with Arness taking the lead role of Marshal Matt Dillon
Marshal Matt Dillon
(on the recommendation of Wayne, who also introduced the pilot); Dennis Weaver
Dennis Weaver
playing Chester Goode; Milburn Stone
Milburn Stone
being cast as Dr. G. "Doc" Adams (later Galen
Galen
"Doc" Adams); and Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake
taking on the role of Miss Kitty Russell. Macdonnell became the associate producer of the TV show and later the producer. Meston was named head writer.

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 television 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, first Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
TV episode, "Matt Gets It".[22]

Additional casting[edit]

Ken Curtis
Ken Curtis
as Festus and Arness as Dillon, 1968

Chester and Festus Haggen are perhaps Dillon's most recognizable sidekicks, though others became acting deputies for ​2 1⁄2- to ​7 1⁄2-year stints: Quint Asper (Burt Reynolds) (1962–65), Thad Greenwood (Roger Ewing) (1966–68), and Newly O'Brian (Buck Taylor) (1967–75), who served as both back-up deputy and doctor-in-training, having some studies in medicine via his uncle, which then continued under Doc Adams.[citation needed] In 1962, Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds
was added to the show's lineup, as the "halfbreed" blacksmith Quint Asper, and performed that role elipsing the years just before the departure of Chester Goode
Chester Goode
and just after the appearance of Festus Haggen. Three of the actors, who played Dodge deputies, Ken Curtis, Roger Ewing, and Buck Taylor, had previous guest roles. Curtis, a big band and Western singer ( Tommy Dorsey
Tommy Dorsey
Orchestra, Shep Fields
Shep Fields
Band, Sons of the Pioneers), had five previous guest roles, including one in 1963 as a shady ladies' man named Kyle Kelly ("Lover Boy", season 9, show two [episode 307]).[23] Curtis first appeared in the 1959 episode "Jayhawkers" (season four, episode 21 [episode 138]), where he played Phil Jacks, a Texas cowboy, with Jack Elam
Jack Elam
as his boss during a cattle drive from Texas. The second was another 1959 episode entitled "Change of Heart" (season four, episode 32 [episode 149]), where he played Brisco. The third appearance is the 1960 episode "The Ex-Urbanites" (season five, episode 30 [episode 186]), where he plays Jesse. He also had a small role as an Indian named Scout in the episode "Speak Me Fair" (season five, episode 34 [episode 190]) in 1960. Curtis was reared in Las Animas, Colorado, and for a time was a son-in-law of director John Ford.[24] In 1963, Weaver left the series to pursue a broader acting career in TV series and films. In 1964, Curtis was signed as a regular to play the stubbornly illiterate hillbilly Festus Haggen. The character, heretofore a comic feature, came to town in a 1962 episode titled "Us Haggens", to avenge the death of his twin brother Fergus, and decided to stay in Dodge when the deed was done. Initially on the fringes of Dodge society, Festus was slowly phased in as a reliable sidekick/part-time deputy to Matt Dillon when Reynolds left in 1965. In the episode "Alias Festus Haggen", he is mistaken for a robber and killer whom he has to expose to free himself (both parts played by Curtis). In a comic relief episode ("Mad Dog"), another case of mistaken identity forces Festus to fight three sons of a man killed by his cousin. As a side note, only one episode has all three actors in it playing their respective roles. It is the 1964 episode entitled "Prairie Wolfer" (season 9, episode 16 [episode 321]), with Dennis Weaver as Chester, Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds
as Quint, and Ken Curtis
Ken Curtis
as Festus.[25] The 1964 episode entitled "Once a Haggen" (season 9, episode 18 [episode 323]) is the second of only two occasions in which Chester and Festus appear in the same episode.[26] When Milburn Stone
Milburn Stone
left the series for health reasons for several episodes in 1971, Pat Hingle
Pat Hingle
played his temporary replacement, Dr. John Chapman, whose presence was at first roundly resisted by Festus, a bickersome but close friend of Doc Adams. Character back stories[edit]

Clockwise from top: Ken Curtis
Ken Curtis
(Festus), James Arness
James Arness
(Matt), Amanda Blake (Kitty), and Milburn Stone
Milburn Stone
(Doc) in 1968

The back stories of some of the main characters were largely left to the imagination of the viewer. Matt Dillon spent his early years in foster care, knew the Bible, was a wayward, brawling cowboy, and later mentored by a caring lawman. In a few episodes, he mentioned having spent some time in the army. Kitty Russell, was born in New Orleans and reared by a flashy foster mother (who once visited Dodge), although her father visited Dodge on one occasion and wished to have her return to New Orleans. Barkeep Sam was said to be married, but no sightings of a wife were made (In the episode "Tafton", he is seen side-by-side with a woman in a church singing). Quint Asper's white father was killed by white scavengers. Thad Greenwood's father, a storekeeper, was harassed to death by a trio of loathsome ne'er-do-well thieves. Chester Goode
Chester Goode
was known to be one of many brothers raised by an aunt and uncle, and he mentions his mother on one occasion; he referred to past service in the cavalry, and years as a cattle driver in Texas. The cause of Chester's stiff right leg was never given, but it was shown as his own leg and not a prosthesis. No direct reference was ever made to his disability in the script, although some oblique moments painted the free-spirited, comic deputy with a darker tone. Newly O'Brien was named after a physician uncle, who ignited his interest in medicine. While Dillon and Miss Kitty clearly had a close personal relationship, the two never married. In a July 2, 2002, Associated Press
Associated Press
interview with Bob Thomas, Arness explained, "If they were man and wife, it would make a lot of difference. The people upstairs decided it was better to leave the show as it was, which I totally agreed with." In the episode "Waste", featuring Johnny Whitaker
Johnny Whitaker
as a boy with a prostitute mother, her madam questions Dillon as to why the law overlooks Miss Kitty's enterprise. It appears that bordellos could exist "at the law's discretion" (meaning the marshal's). As an historical matter, prior to the First World War, few laws criminalized prostitution in the United States.[27] The nearest Matt and Miss Kitty have a romantic evening together is a when they try to have dinner over the Longbranch Saloon ("A Quiet Day In Dodge", 1973) unfortunately Marshal Dillon has been going over 30 hours without sleep and when Kitty is distracted, Matt falls soundly asleep.[28] Ironically the nearest Miss Kitty gets to being "married" is when she has has to pretend to be married to Cavalry Sgt Holly in order to save her from a robber gang ("Sergeant Holly", 1970). By the time of the "Gold Train" episode Kitty remembers when she first met Matt – 17 years before. Miss Kitty was written out in 1974. The actress sought more free time and reportedly missed her late co-star, Glenn Strange, who played her Long Branch barkeep, Sam. When Blake decided not to return for the show's 20th (and final) season, the character was said to have returned to New Orleans. She was replaced by the hoarse-voiced, matronly actress Fran Ryan (known to many as the second Doris Ziffel on CBS' Green Acres). For over a decade on television, a sign hung over Doc's office that read "Dr. G. Adams". Milburn Stone
Milburn Stone
was given free rein to choose the character's first name. The actor chose the name of an ancient Greek physician and medical researcher named Galen. He is first referred to in this manner by Theodore Bikel
Theodore Bikel
as "Martin Kellums" in the season-10 episode, "Song for Dying", aired February 13, 1965.[29] Radio and TV character differences[edit]

Dennis Weaver
Dennis Weaver
and Mariette Hartley, 1962.

Differences were noted between the characters on the radio and TV versions of Gunsmoke. In the radio series, Doc was acerbic, somewhat mercenary, and borderline alcoholic—at least in the program's early years. On radio's Gunsmoke, Doc Adams's real name was Dr. Calvin Moore.[30] He came west and changed his name to escape a charge of murder. The television Doc, though still crusty, was in many ways softer and warmer. Nothing in the radio series suggested that Chester Proudfoot was disabled; this merely visual feature was added to the Chester Goode character on television because of actor Dennis Weaver's athletic build, to emphasize Chester's role as a follower and not an independent agent.[citation needed] Miss Kitty, who after the radio series ended, was said by some to have engaged in prostitution, began in that role in the television series, working in the Long Branch Saloon. In an earlier 1956 episode, the owner of the Long Branch was named Bill Pence. A later 1956 episode begins with Chester pointing out to Matt (who had been out of town) a new sign under the Long Branch Saloon
Long Branch Saloon
sign stating "Russell & Pence, Proprietors". In that same episode, John Dehner
John Dehner
portrayed a dubious New Orleans
New Orleans
businessman claiming to be Kitty's father, who tried to talk her into selling her half interest in the Long Branch and returning to New Orleans
New Orleans
with him as a partner in his alleged freight business. In another 1956 episode (involving a new saloon girl named "Rena Decker" who causes four deaths by provoking men into fighting over her), Miss Kitty identifies herself as half-owner of the Long Branch with Mr. Pence (played by Judson Pratt). Subsequently, Miss Kitty transitioned to sole owner. Although early film episodes showed her descending from her second-floor rooms in the saloon with Matt, or showed her or one of her girls leading a cowboy up to those same rooms, these scenes disappeared later on, and viewers were guided to see Miss Kitty just as a kindhearted businesswoman.[citation needed] Format[edit] From 1955 to 1961, Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was a half-hour show (retitled Marshal Dillon in syndication). It then went to an hour-long format. The series was retitled Gun Law in the UK. The Marshal Dillon syndicated rerun lasted from 1961 until 1964 on CBS, originally on Tuesday nights within its time in reruns. Popularity[edit] Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was TV's number one-ranked show from 1957 to 1961 before slipping into a decline after expanding to an hour. In 1967, the show's 12th season, CBS
CBS
planned to cancel the series, but widespread viewer reaction (including a mention in Congress and the behind-the-scenes pressure from the wife of CBS's longtime president William S. Paley) prevented its demise. On the Biography Channel's Behind The Scenes: Gilligan's Island
Gilligan's Island
(2002); Gilligan's Island producer Sherwood Schwartz
Sherwood Schwartz
states that the wife of CBS's president pressured her husband not to cancel Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
in 1967, so the network cut Gilligan's Island
Gilligan's Island
instead. The show continued in its new time slot at 8 pm on Mondays. This scheduling move led to a spike in ratings that had it once again rally to the top 10 in the Nielsen ratings until the 1973–74 television season.[31] In September 1975, despite still ranking among the top 30 programs in the ratings, Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was canceled after a 20-year run; it was replaced by Mary Tyler Moore spin-offs Rhoda
Rhoda
and Phyllis (though Rhoda
Rhoda
actually debuted while Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was still airing first-run). Thirty TV Westerns came and went during its 20-year tenure, and Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was the sole survivor, with Alias Smith and Jones
Alias Smith and Jones
and Bonanza
Bonanza
both leaving the airwaves 2 - 1/2 years earlier in January 1973. Arness and Stone remained with the show for its entire run, though Stone missed seven episodes in 1971, due to illness. The entire cast was stunned by the cancellation, as they were unaware that CBS
CBS
was considering it. According to Arness, "We didn't do a final, wrap-up show. We finished the 20th year, we all expected to go on for another season, or two or three. The (network) never told anybody they were thinking of canceling." The cast and crew read the news in the trade papers.[32] This seemed to have been a habit of CBS. Three other popular shows, Gilligan's Island, Lost in Space and The Incredible Hulk met the same fate, in the same, abrupt manner. TV movies[edit] In 1987, CBS
CBS
commissioned a reunion movie entitled Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge. James Arness
James Arness
and Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake
returned in their iconic roles of Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty, with Fran Ryan returning in her role as Kitty's friend/saloon-owner Hannah and Buck Taylor
Buck Taylor
returning as Newly O'Brian. Doc Adams and Festus Haggen were not featured in the film. Milburn Stone
Milburn Stone
died 7 years earlier in 1980 and the role of Doc was not recast. Ken Curtis, meanwhile, balked at the salary offer he received and said that he should be paid based on Festus' importance in the character hierarchy. The screenwriters responded to Curtis' absence by making Newly the new Dodge City
Dodge City
marshal. The film, shot in Alberta, featured a now-retired Marshal Dillon being attacked and a vengeful former rival returning to Dodge City
Dodge City
to entrap him. In 1990, the second telefilm, Gunsmoke: The Last Apache, premiered. Since Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake
had died the year before, the writers decided to revisit a 1973 episode for the movie. The episode was based on "Matt's Love Story", which was noted for the marshal's first overnight visit to a female's lodgings.[citation needed] In the episode, Matt loses his memory and his heart, during a brief liaison with "Mike" Yardner (played by Michael Learned). In the film, Learned returned and Mike reveals to Marshal Dillon that he is the father of their daughter[33] Beth (played by Amy Stock-Poynton) and asks him for help in saving her. Dodge City
Dodge City
was never again seen. Other films included Gunsmoke: To the Last Man (1992), Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
IV: The Long Ride (1993), and Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice (1994). Arness appeared in all five films. Episodes[edit] Main article: List of Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
television episodes

Season Episodes Originally aired Nielsen ratings[34]

First aired Last aired Rank Rating Tied with

1 39 September 10, 1955 (1955-09-10) August 25, 1956 (1956-08-25) N/A N/A N/A

2 39 September 8, 1956 (1956-09-08) June 29, 1957 (1957-06-29) 7 32.7 I've Got a Secret

3 39 September 14, 1957 (1957-09-14) June 7, 1958 (1958-06-07) 1 43.1 N/A

4 39 September 13, 1958 (1958-09-13) June 13, 1959 (1959-06-13) 1 39.6 N/A

5 39 September 5, 1959 (1959-09-05) June 11, 1960 (1960-06-11) 1 40.3 N/A

6 38 September 3, 1960 (1960-09-03) June 17, 1961 (1961-06-17) 1 37.3 N/A

7 34 September 30, 1961 (1961-09-30) May 26, 1962 (1962-05-26) 3 28.3 N/A

8 38 September 15, 1962 (1962-09-15) June 1, 1963 (1963-06-01) 10 27.0 N/A

9 36 September 28, 1963 (1963-09-28) June 6, 1964 (1964-06-06) 20 23.5 N/A

10 36 September 26, 1964 (1964-09-26) May 29, 1965 (1965-05-29) 27 22.6 N/A

11 32 September 18, 1965 (1965-09-18) May 7, 1966 (1966-05-07) 30 21.3 N/A

12 29 September 17, 1966 (1966-09-17) April 15, 1967 (1967-04-15) N/A N/A N/A

13 25 September 11, 1967 (1967-09-11) March 4, 1968 (1968-03-04) 4 25.5 Family Affair Bonanza

14 26 September 23, 1968 (1968-09-23) March 24, 1969 (1969-03-24) 6 24.9 N/A

15 26 September 22, 1969 (1969-09-22) March 23, 1970 (1970-03-23) 2 25.9 N/A

16 24 September 14, 1970 (1970-09-14) March 8, 1971 (1971-03-08) 5 25.5 N/A

17 24 September 13, 1971 (1971-09-13) March 13, 1972 (1972-03-13) 4 26.0 N/A

18 24 September 11, 1972 (1972-09-11) March 5, 1973 (1973-03-05) 7 23.6 The Mary Tyler Moore Show

19 24 September 10, 1973 (1973-09-10) April 1, 1974 (1974-04-01) 15 22.1 N/A

20 24 September 9, 1974 (1974-09-09) March 31, 1975 (1975-03-31) 28 20.5 N/A

Primetime Emmy Award wins and nominations[edit] 1955 (presented March 17, 1956)[edit]

Best Action or Adventure Series – nominated (winner: Disneyland)

1956 (presented March 16, 1957)[edit]

Best Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Dramatic Series: James Arness – nominated (winner: Robert Young for Father Knows Best)

1957 (presented April 15, 1958)[edit]

Best Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic or Comedy Series: James Arness
James Arness
– nominated (winner: Robert Young for Father Knows Best) Best Continuing Supporting Performance by an Actor in a Dramatic or Comedy Series: Dennis Weaver
Dennis Weaver
– nominated (winner: Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner
for Caesar's Hour) Best Dramatic Series with Continuing Characters won Best Editing of a Film for Television: Mike Pozen for "How to Kill a Woman" – won Best Teleplay Writing (Half-Hour or Less): John Meston for "Born to Hang" – nominated (winner: Paul Monash for Schlitz Playhouse of Stars – "The Lonely Wizard")

1958 (presented May 6, 1959)[edit]

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series: James Arness
James Arness
– nominated (winner: Raymond Burr
Raymond Burr
for Perry Mason) Best Supporting Actor (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series: Dennis Weaver
Dennis Weaver
– won Best Supporting Actress (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series: Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake
– nominated (winner: Barbara Hale
Barbara Hale
for Perry Mason) Best Western Series – nominated (winner: Maverick)

1965–1966 (presented May 22, 1966)[edit]

Individual Achievements in Music - Composition: Morton Stevens for "Seven Hours to Dawn" – nominated (winner: Laurence Rosenthal for Michelangelo: The Last Giant)

1967–1968 (presented May 19, 1968)[edit]

Outstanding Achievement in Musical Composition: Morton Stevens for "Major Glory" (winner: Earle Hagen for I Spy – "Laya") Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama: Milburn Stone
Milburn Stone
– won

1969–1970 (presented by June 7, 1970)[edit]

Outstanding Achievement in Film Sound Editing: Norman Karlin and Richard E. Raderman – won (tied with Alex Bamattre, Michael Colgan, Douglas H. Grindstaff, Joe Kavigan, Bill Lee, and Josef E. Von Stroheim for ABC Movie of the Week: The Immortal)

Syndication[edit] All 635 episodes of the television series, and almost all 480 episodes of the radio show, still exist. In syndication, the entire 20-year run of Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
is separated into three packages by CBS
CBS
Television Distribution:

1955–61 half-hour episodes: These episodes are sometimes seen in their original format and sometimes in the Marshal Dillon format. When first-run, prime-time episodes of Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
expanded to an hour in fall 1961, CBS-TV reran the half-hour episodes as Marshal Dillon on the network on Tuesday nights from 1961 through 1964. These were later rerun in syndication. General syndication ended in the 1980s, but they do air occasionally on cable TV. Local stations would show the retitled Marshal Dillon version of the series, while the series under the original Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
title (with some episodes under the Marshal Dillon retitling) were seen in the late 1990s on TV Land
TV Land
and later Hallmark Channel. STARZ! Westerns Channel aired this version under the Marshal Dillon title. RetroPlex
RetroPlex
also aired two half-hour episodes under the original Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
title, although the episodes are advertised as Marshal Dillon, on Saturday nights from 8 to 9 pm Eastern time. Me-TV announced that it will begin the half-hour black-and-white episodes beginning on January 2, 2017. 1961–66 one-hour black-and-white episodes: These episodes have not been widely seen in regular syndication since the 1980s, although selected episodes did air from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s on CBN Cable/The Family Channel, and later on Encore Westerns
Encore Westerns
on a three-year contract that ended around 2006. As of January 2010, Encore Westerns was again airing the episodes. In October 2015, Me-TV announced that it would begin airing the one-hour black-and-white episodes on October 26.[35] 1966–75 one-hour color episodes: The last nine seasons of the Western, the most widely syndicated episodes of the entire series' run, are still aired on some local stations, as well as nationally on TV Land
TV Land
and Me-TV.

DVD releases[edit] In 2006, as part of Gunsmoke's 50th anniversary on TV, certain selected episodes were released on DVD in three different box sets. Twelve episodes, from 1955 to 1964, were selected for the Gunsmoke: Volume I box set, and another twelve episodes, from 1964 to 1975, were selected for the Gunsmoke: Volume II box set. Both sets are also available as a combined single "Gift Box Set". A third unique DVD box set, known as Gunsmoke: The Directors Collection, was also released with 10 selected episodes from certain seasons throughout the series' 20-year history. All of these box sets are available on Region 1 DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment
Paramount Home Entertainment
and CBS
CBS
DVD. Additionally, Paramount Home Entertainment
Paramount Home Entertainment
and CBS
CBS
DVD have released the first 12 seasons (seasons one to six are known as the "half-hour years") on DVD in Region 1. All DVDs have been released with English audio and close captionning from season 1 to 5 and starting season 6 English SDH. The thirteenth season will be released on May 22, 2018.[36]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date

The First Season 39 July 17, 2007

The Second Season, Volume 1 20 January 8, 2008

The Second Season, Volume 2 19 May 27, 2008

The Third Season, Volume 1 19 December 9, 2008

The Third Season, Volume 2 20 May 26, 2009

The Fourth Season, Volume 1 19 October 5, 2010

The Fourth Season, Volume 2 20 December 14, 2010

The Fifth Season, Volume 1 20 October 11, 2011

The Fifth Season, Volume 2 19 December 13, 2011

The Sixth Season, Volume 1 19 August 7, 2012

The Sixth Season, Volume 2 19 October 16, 2012

The Seventh Season, Volume 1 17 December 11, 2012

The Seventh Season, Volume 2 17 February 5, 2013

The Eighth Season, Volume 1 19 May 7, 2013

The Eighth Season, Volume 2 19 May 7, 2013

The Ninth Season, Volume 1 18 August 6, 2013

The Ninth Season, Volume 2 18 August 6, 2013

The Tenth Season, Volume 1 18 August 12, 2014

The Tenth Season, Volume 2 18 August 12, 2014

DVD Name Ep # Release Date

The Eleventh Season, Volume 1 16 December 2, 2014

The Eleventh Season, Volume 2 16 December 2, 2014

The Twelfth Season, Volume 1 15 September 20, 2016

The Twelfth Season, Volume 2 14 September 20, 2016

The Thirteenth Season, Volume 1 15 May 22, 2018

The Thirteenth Season, Volume 2 10 May 22, 2018

Regular cast; major characters[edit]

U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon
Marshal Matt Dillon
(1955–75): James Arness Dr. Galen
Galen
"Doc" Adams, M.D. (1955–75): Milburn Stone Kathleen "Kitty" Russell (1955–74): Amanda Blake Chester B. Goode (1955–64): Dennis Weaver; left series to star in unsuccessful series Kentucky Jones Festus Haggen (1964–75): Ken Curtis

Matt Dillon, 1969

Chester, Doc, and Kitty, 1960

Kitty and Doc, 1958

Miss Kitty Russell, 1966

Chester Goode

Festus Haggen and Doc Adams, 1974

Cast[edit]

1963 cast with Burt Reynolds

Sam Noonan (bartender; 1955–59): Bert Rumsey Clem (bartender; 1959–61): Clem Fuller Sam Noonan (bartender; 1961–73): Glenn Strange Jim Buck (stage driver; 1957-1962) and Floyd (bartender; 1974–75): Robert Brubaker Quint Asper (blacksmith; 1962–65): Burt Reynolds Deputy Marshal Clayton Thaddeus "Thad" Greenwood (1965–67): Roger Ewing Newly O'Brian (gunsmith/Deputy Marshal; 1967–75): Buck Taylor Wilbur Jonas (storekeeper, 1955–63): Dabbs Greer Howie Uzzell (hotel clerk, 1955–75): Howard Culver Moss Grimmick (stableman; 1955–t63): George Selk Bill Pence (Long Branch owner/co-owner 1955?–56–?): Judson Pratt Bill Pence, (1958–61): Barney Phillips Jim Buck (stagecoach driver; 1957–62): Robert Brubaker Louie Pheeters (town drunk; 1961–70): James Nusser Ma Smalley (boardinghouse owner; 1961–72): Sarah Selby Hank Miller (stableman; 1963–75): Hank Patterson Mr. Bodkin (banker; 1963–70): Roy Roberts Barney Danches (telegraph agent; 1965–74): Charles Seel Roy (townsperson; 1965–69): Roy Barcroft Halligan (rancher; 1966–75): Charles Wagenheim Mr. Lathrop (storekeeper; 1966–75): Woody Chambliss Nathan Burke (freight agent; 1966–75): Ted Jordan Percy Crump (undertaker; 1966–72): Kelton Garwood (later credited as Jonathan Harper) Ed O'Connor (rancher; 1968–72): Tom Brown Judge Brooker (1970–75): Herb Vigran Dr. John Chapman (1971): Pat Hingle Miss Hannah (saloon owner; 1974–75): Fran Ryan

Awards[edit]

In TV Guide′s April 17, 1993, issue celebrating 40 years of television, the all-time-best-TV programs were chosen. "No contest, this [Gunsmoke] was the TV western."[37] Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
(February 19, 1999, issue) ranked the premiere of Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
as No. 47 in the "100 Greatest Moments in Television".[38] Entertainment Weekly, in 1998, ranked Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
as No. 16 in The 100 Greatest TV Shows of all time.[39] In a 1998 TV Guide
TV Guide
poll of 50,000, Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was ranked as CBS's best western and James Arness
James Arness
was ranked as CBS's best "Gunslinger".[40] James Arness
James Arness
(Matt), Milburn Stone
Milburn Stone
(Doc), Ken Curtis
Ken Curtis
(Festus), Dennis Weaver (Chester), and Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake
(Kitty) are all inductees of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.[41] In 1997, the episode "The Jailer" was ranked No. 28 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[42] In 2002, TV Guide
TV Guide
ranked Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
as No. 40 in the 50 greatest television shows of all time.[43] In 2013, TV Guide
TV Guide
ranked it as #27 on their list of the 60 Best Series.[44]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Dodge City's Boot Hill Museum has a tribute to Gunsmoke, including furniture from the 1960s and an old television tuned to the show. Signed photographs from the show's actors and other memorabilia are on display including a vest worn by Sam the Bartender (actor Glenn Strange) and a dress worn by Miss Kitty, (actress Amanda Blake).[45] Despite a rumor to the contrary, Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
never appeared on Gunsmoke. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
died on April 18, 1955, 4 1/2 months before Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
aired. The fact checking website Snopes
Snopes
attributes the likely origin of the rumor to Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
appearing in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1993. Actor Brent Spiner
Brent Spiner
was quoted at the time as saying it was "the most notable moment in television history since Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
guest-starred on Gunsmoke." Although Spiner's remark was a joke, someone wrote to TV Guide
TV Guide
in 1994 to ask if Einstein really had appeared on the show.[46] The anime and manga Trigun, a western themed gunslinger tale, directly references the series by naming the planet on which it is set planet Gunsmoke. The graphic novel series HIGH MOON, a werewolf western tale, has numerous references to the series by naming characters – like Doc McNear – after Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
actors. Author David Gallaher
David Gallaher
often cites Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
as an influence.[47][48] German-American political philosopher and Plato
Plato
scholar Leo Strauss was a fervent fan of Gunsmoke. Strauss "had one vice, or rather obsession. He would never miss a Saturday night TV program called Gunsmoke, a western about marshall Matt Dillon in Dodge City, Kansas, and his many exploits. Strauss once said that the situation in the Old West was an excellent representation, unintentional or not, of what Hobbes meant by the state of nature."[49]

Notable guest stars[edit] Main article: List of Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
cast members

(partial list, alphabetical):

Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake
and Jack Albertson, 1969.

Guest star Bette Davis, 1966.

Guest stars Anne Helm
Anne Helm
and John Drew Barrymore, 1964.

Arness as Dillon, 1955

Marshall Kent and Ben Gage
Ben Gage
in famous Maverick spoof "Gun-Shy" (1958)

Willie Aames, Rico Alaniz, Jack Albertson, Mabel Albertson, Claude Akins, Chris Alcaide, John Anderson (12 times), Richard Anderson, Tige Andrews, R. G. Armstrong, Jean Arthur,[50] John Astin Edward Asner, Val Avery, Lew Ayres, Jim Backus, Trevor Bardette, Patricia Barry, John Drew Barrymore, Richard Basehart, Ed Begley, Ralph Bellamy, James Best, Dan Blocker, Randy Boone, Bruce Boxleitner, Ray Boyle, Lane Bradbury (13 times), Scott Brady, Eric Braeden, Peter Breck, Beau Bridges, Morgan Brittany, William Boyett, Charles Bronson, James Brown, Joyce Bulifant, Michael Burns, Gary Busey, Sebastian Cabot, Frank Cady, David Canary, Harry Carey, Jr., David Carradine, John Carradine, Conlan Carter, Jack Cassidy, Mary Castle, Peggie Castle, Lonny Chapman, Andy Clyde, Phyllis Coates, Lee J. Cobb, Michael Cole, Don Collier, Chuck Connors Mike Connors, Tim Considine, Pat Conway, Elisha Cook, Jr., Ben Cooper, Glenn Corbett, Noreen Corcoran, Alex Cord, Robert L. Crawford, Jr., Dennis Cross, Brandon Cruz, Robert Culp, Royal Dano
Royal Dano
(13 times), Kim Darby, Bette Davis Bette Davis, Jim Davis (multiple appearances), Richard Deacon, Gloria DeHaven, John Dehner
John Dehner
(12 times), Bruce Dern William Devane, Angie Dickinson, James Doohan, Richard Dreyfuss, Buddy Ebsen, Barbara Eden, Jack Elam, Sam Elliott, Jena Engstrom
Jena Engstrom
(two episodes), Gene Evans
Gene Evans
(ten episodes), Shug Fisher, Paul Fix Jay C. Flippen, Med Flory, Constance Ford, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Ron Foster, Anne Francis, Dean Fredericks, Bert Freed, Victor French Beverly Garland, Leif Garrett, Sean Garrison, Lisa Gerritsen, Melissa Gilbert, Harold Gould, Karen Grassle, Virginia Gregg, James Gregory, Tom Greenway Kevin Hagen, Ron Hagerthy, Alan Hale, Jr., Lynn Hamilton, Mariette Hartley, Ron Hayes, Anne Helm, Katherine Helmond, Earl Holliman, Ron Howard, Bo Hopkins, Dennis Hopper, Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., Marsha Hunt Josephine Hutchinson, Betty Hutton, Steve Ihnat, John Ireland, Richard Jaeckel, Vivi Janiss, Salome Jens, Arch Johnson, Brad Johnson, Ben Johnson, Chubby Johnson I. Stanford Jolley, L. Q. Jones, Robert Karnes, Don Keefer, DeForest Kelley, Jack Kelly, Ricky Kelman, Dan Kemp, Adam Kennedy, Douglas Kennedy, George Kennedy, Richard Kiley, Brett King, Wright King
Wright King
(eight times), Werner Klemperer, Jack Klugman, Robert Knapp (seven times) Ted Knight, Diane Ladd, Martin Landau Allan Lane, Louise Latham, Harry Lauter, Anna Lee, June Lockhart, Jack Lord, Keye Luke, Dayton Lummis, Tyler MacDuff, Barton MacLane, George Macready, Rose Marie, Scott Marlowe, Nora Marlowe, Ross Martin Strother Martin, Darren McGavin, Peggy McCay, Howard McNear, Patrick McVey, Tyler McVey, Vera Miles, Denny Scott Miller, John Mitchum, Roger Mobley, Ricardo Montalbán, Erin Moran, Harry Morgan, Read Morgan (12 times) Wayne Morris, Anna Karen Morrow, Richard Mulligan, Diana Muldaur, Burt Mustin, Gene Nelson, Leslie Nielsen, Leonard Nimoy, Jimmy Noel, Jeanette Nolan, Nick Nolte, Carroll O'Connor, Simon Oakland, Warren Oates, Susan Olsen, Cliff Osmond Manuel Padilla, Jr., Gregg Palmer
Gregg Palmer
(20 times), Michael Parks, John Payne, Brock Peters, William Phipps, John Pickard (12 times), Slim Pickens, Suzanne Pleshette, Judson Pratt, Andrew Prine, Ainslie Pryor, Denver Pyle, Chips Rafferty
Chips Rafferty
(Australian actor), Dack Rambo, Gilman Rankin Pernell Roberts, Wayne Rogers, Ruth Roman, Katharine Ross, Kurt Russell, Albert Salmi, John Saxon, Jacqueline Scott
Jacqueline Scott
(nine episodes), Johnny Seven, Karen Sharpe William Shatner, Dan Sheridan, Tom Simcox, Robert F. Simon, Tom Skerritt, Jeremy Slate, John Smith, Quintin Sondergaard, David Soul, Aaron Spelling, Loretta Swit, Harry Dean Stanton, Frank Sutton, Gloria Talbott, Russ Tamblyn, William Tannen, Vic Tayback Dub Taylor, Robert Totten (also a director), Harry Townes
Harry Townes
(seven times), Daniel J. Travanti, Forrest Tucker, Lurene Tuttle, Cicely Tyson, Robert Urich, Joan Van Ark, Lee Van Cleef, Warren Vanders
Warren Vanders
(12 times), Mitch Vogel, Joyce Van Patten, Robert Vaughn, Jan-Michael Vincent, Gary Vinson Jon Voight, Lesley Ann Warren, Ruth Warrick, David Wayne, Adam West, James Westerfield, Jack Weston, Johnny Whitaker, James Whitmore, Robert J. Wilke, Elen Willard, Bill Williams, Chill Wills, Terry Wilson, William Windom, Morgan Woodward
Morgan Woodward
(19 times), Ian Wolfe, Dana Wynter, and Anthony Zerbe.

Spin-off[edit] Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
had one spin-off series, Dirty Sally, a semi-comedy starring Jeanette Nolan
Jeanette Nolan
as an old woman and Dack Rambo
Dack Rambo
as a young gunfighter, leaving Dodge City
Dodge City
for California in order to pan for gold. The program lasted thirteen weeks and aired in the first half of 1974, a year before Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
ended. Notable directors[edit]

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Andrew McLaglen Richard Whorf Arnold Laven Arthur Hiller Dennis Weaver Gene Nelson Irving J. Moore John Rich Leo Penn Marc Daniels Mark Rydell Peter Graves Philip Leacock Robert Totten Sam Peckinpah Sobey Martin Tay Garnett Victor French Vincent McEveety William Conrad Gunnar Hellström
Gunnar Hellström
(23 episodes)

Music[edit] The Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
radio theme song and later TV theme was titled "Old Trails", also known as "Boothill". The Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
theme was composed by Rex Koury.[51] The original radio version was conducted by Koury. The TV version was thought to have been first conducted by CBS
CBS
west coast music director Lud Gluskin. The lyrics of the theme, never aired on the radio or television show, were recorded and released by Tex Ritter in 1955. Ritter was backed on that Capitol record by Rex Koury and the radio Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
orchestra.[52] William Lava composed the original theme music for television, as noted in the program credits. Other notable composers included:

Elmer Bernstein Jerry Goldsmith Bernard Herrmann Jerome Moross Franz Waxman

Products[edit] The Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
brand was used to endorse numerous products, from cottage cheese[53] to cigarettes. Lowell Toy Manufacturing Corporation ("It's a Lowell Game") issued Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
as their game No. 822.[54] Other products include Gunsmoke puzzles,[55] In 1985, Capcom
Capcom
released a video game for the arcade (and its corresponding game for the NES in 1988) with a Western theme, called Gun.Smoke. Other than the Western theme, the show and game have no relationship whatsoever.[56] Comics[edit]

Dell Comics
Dell Comics
published numerous issues of their Four Color
Four Color
comics series on Gunsmoke[57] (including issues #679, 720, 769, 797, 844 and, in 1958–62, #6–27).[58] Gold Key Comics
Gold Key Comics
continued with issues #1–6 in 1969–70.[57][59] A comic strip version of the series ran in British newspapers for several years under the show's UK title, Gun Law. Hardcover comic BBC
BBC
Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
Annuals were marketed in Great Britain under the authority of the BBC
BBC
which had broadcasting rights there.[60] Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
comics in Spanish were published under the title Aventura la ley del revolver[61] (Gun-Law Adventures).

Books[edit]

In 1957, Ballantine Books
Ballantine Books
published a collection of short stories.[62] Each story is based on a half-hour Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
episode. Although a photo of James Arness
James Arness
and the CBS
CBS
TV logo are on the book cover, in at least one story Matt introduces Chester as "Chester Proudfoot", an indication that the stories are actually adapted from radio scripts. Whitman Books published

Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
by Robert Turner in 1958, and Gunsmoke: "Showdown on Front Street"[63] by Paul S. Newman in 1969...

In 1970, Popular Library published the following paperback book written by Chris Stratton:

Gunsmoke

In 1974, Award Books published the following paperback books written by Jackson Flynn based on the TV series:

Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
#1: "The Renegades"[64] Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
#2: "Shootout" Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
#3: "Duel at Dodge City" Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
#4: "Cheyenne Vengeance"

In 1998, Boulevard Books published the following paperbacks written by Gary McCarthy based on the TV series:

1: Gunsmoke 2: Gunsmoke: "Dead Man's Witness" 3: Gunsmoke: "Marshal Festus"

A series of novels based upon the television series written by Joseph A. West with forewords by James Arness
James Arness
was published by Signet:

Gunsmoke: "Blood, Bullets and Buckskin", January 2005 (ISBN 0-451-21348-3) Gunsmoke: "The Last Dog Soldier", May 2005 (ISBN 0-451-21491-9) Gunsmoke: "Blizzard of Lead", September 2005 (ISBN 0-451-21633-4) Gunsmoke: "The Reckless Gun", May 2006 (ISBN 0-451-21923-6) Gunsmoke: "Dodge the Devil", October 2006 (ISBN 0-451-21972-4) Gunsmoke: "The Day of the Gunfighter", January 2007 (ISBN 0-451-22015-3) "Gunsmoke: An American Institution, Celebrating 50 Years of Television's Best Western" Written by Ben Costello, Foreword by Jim Byrnes, and Introduction by Jon Voight
Jon Voight
and published by Five Star Publications, Inc.(now Story Monsters LLC) Published 1 edition (December 22, 2012), ISBN 978-1589852228

Independent E-book

Gunsmoke: Battlefield Dodge, June 2015, e-book, Amazon.com http://www.battlefielddodge.com

Episodes[edit] Main articles: List of Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
radio episodes and List of Gunsmoke television episodes Reruns and syndication[edit] The program currently airs on three major venues: TV Land, which has carried the show since its inception in 1996, Encore Westerns, and Weigel Broadcasting's MeTV
MeTV
digital subchannel network. Individual stations such as KFWD
KFWD
in Dallas also carry the series in their markets. It has also been shown on satellite channel CBS
CBS
Action in the UK, Ireland and Poland. The series also appears intermittently on MeTV's themed sister network Decades, which CBS
CBS
holds a partial interest in; it appears on the schedule depending on the theme and year a particular day has. Notes[edit]

^ Because the show was a "primetime" series, the competition does not include such long-lived shows as Captain Kangaroo
Captain Kangaroo
(1955–84) and many daytime serials. As a "commercial" series, it cannot be compared to shows such as the PBS program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1966–2001). As a "live-action" series, programs such as the adult animated series The Simpsons
The Simpsons
(1989–) are not included, whose voice-over actors age off-screen. Some foreign countries have broadcast series over a longer duration, but these programs have employed an array of actors in their principal lead roles.

References[edit]

^ Nicholaus Mills (June 8, 2011). "James Arness, symbol of power with restraint". The Guardian. Retrieved October 10, 2014.  ^ " Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
(1955–1975) Release Info". IMDb. Retrieved October 10, 2014.  ^ See Dunning. p. 305. ^ Cecil Smith (September 1975). "Gunsmoke". Los Angeles Times.  ^ Dunning, p. 303. ^ "Matt Dillon's character grew out of Bill Conrad", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ a b Dunning, 304. ^ " Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
Rehearsals". Internet Archive. Retrieved April 20, 2015.  ^ a b (Dunning, 304) ^ a b (Dunning, 305) ^ (Time, 1953) ^ "Weeks of Prestige". Time. 1953-03-23. p. 106.  ^ Burris, Joe (May 10, 2005). "The Eastern Earps". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 20, 2014.  ^ Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
on IMDb ^ Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
on IMDb ^ Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved October 23, 2014 ^ http://wgntv.com/2016/11/06/the-simpsons-set-to-be-the-longest-running-scripted-tv-show-ever/ ^ " Taggart
Taggart
police drama axed by ITV". BBC
BBC
News. Retrieved April 20, 2015.  ^ "What do Frasier
Frasier
(Kelsey Grammer), Matt Dillon (James Arness) and Doc Adams (Milburn Stone) have in common?" GunsmokeNet.com. ^ a b Bill O'Hallaren, "When Chester Forgot to Limp and other fond recollections of 20 years on Gunsmoke", TV Guide, August 23, 1975. ^ " Raymond Burr
Raymond Burr
auditioned for the role of television's Matt Dillon", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ John Wayne's introduction of television's first Gunsmoke, September 10, 1955. YouTube.com ^ Morganalee (November 16, 2010). ""Gunsmoke" Lover Boy (TV Episode 1963)". IMDb. Retrieved April 20, 2015.  ^ dougdoepke (April 30, 2013). ""Gunsmoke" Speak Me Fair (TV Episode 1960)". IMDb. Retrieved April 20, 2015.  ^ " Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
(TV Series 1955–1975)". IMDb. Retrieved April 20, 2015.  ^ " Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
(TV Series 1955–1975)". IMDb. Retrieved December 23, 2017.  ^ http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/when-prostitution-wasnt-crime-fascinating-history-sex-work-america ^ IMDB A Quiet Day in Dodge ^ List of Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
television episodes ^ "On radio's Gunsmoke, Doc Adams' real name was Dr. Calvin Moore", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ "ClassicTVHits.com: TV Ratings > 1970's". Retrieved April 20, 2015.  ^ Associated Press, July 2, 2002, Bob Thomas. ^ Heldenfels, Rich (July 23, 2017). "Heldenfels' Mailbag: 'The Little Couple,' Jean Peters, game show prizes". Akron Beacon-Journal. Retrieved November 1, 2017.  ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. p. 1681-1687. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.  ^ Classic black and white episodes of Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
at MeTV.com ^ 'Vol. 1' and 'Vol. 2' DVD Sets Announced for 'The 13th Season' ^ April 17 – 23, 1993, issue of TV Guide
TV Guide
that celebrated the 40th anniversary of television and the best television programs of all time. ^ "100 Greatest Moments in Television", GunsmokeNet.com ^ "The 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ "CBS's best western", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ "The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum", www.nationalcowboymuseum.org. ^ " Special
Special
Collector's Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide. June 28 – July 4, 1997.  ^ " TV Guide
TV Guide
Names Top 50 Shows", TV Guide, May 4, 2002. ^ TV Guide
TV Guide
Magazine's 60 Best Series of All Time ^ "Today's Dodge City", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ "Hopalong Einstein". Snopes.com. Retrieved 4 May 2015.  ^ http://high-moon.blogspot.com/2008/01/high-moon-on-first-night-of-full-moon.html ^ http://high-moon.blogspot.com/2008/04/high-moon-voice-casting.html ^ "Leo Strauss: Tributes And Reflections". Philosophy Now. Retrieved 31 May 2017.  ^ "James Arness' first wife, Virginia", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ "The Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
Theme", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ " Tex Ritter
Tex Ritter
sings Gunsmoke", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ " Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
was used to sell cottage cheese", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ " Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
board games", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ " Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
puzzles were popular in 1950s", GunsmokeNet.com. ^ "Hardcore Gaming 101: Gun.Smoke". www.hardcoregaming101.net. Retrieved 2016-10-19.  ^ a b "GunsmokeNet.com". Retrieved April 20, 2015.  ^ Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
Dell Comic #15, June–July 1959, "Masked Vigilantes". ^ Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
Gold Key Comic, February–March 1970, "The Prophet" "The Guilty One" ^ Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
Annual 1974, Comic Collection. ^ Aventura la ley del revolver, Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
comic book in Spanish, December 1960. ^ Don Ward, Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
– Adventures of Marshal Matt Dillon, Ballantine Books, 1957. (Second edition released in 1960.) ^ S. Newman, Showdown on Front Street, Whitman Books, 1969. ^ Jackson Flynn, The Renegades, Award Books, 1974.

Additional reading[edit]

John Dunning, On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-507678-8 SuzAnn Barabas & Gabor Barabas, Gunsmoke: A Complete History and Analysis of the Legendary Broadcast Series, McFarland & Company, Inc., 1990. ISBN 0-89950-418-3 Bill Carter, " NBC
NBC
Will Bring Back All Three Law & Order Shows", The New York Times, May 14, 2007.

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Gunsmoke

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gunsmoke.

Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
on IMDb Listen to the entire Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
radio series Listen to the complete series of the radio version of Gunsmoke Zoot Radio, over 450 free Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
radio shows Listen to radio version of Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
at Outlaws Old Time Radio Corner Listen to radio Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
at OldClassicRadio

v t e

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series

Pulitzer Prize Playhouse (1951) Studio One (1952) Robert Montgomery Presents
Robert Montgomery Presents
(1953) The United States Steel Hour
The United States Steel Hour
(1954) The United States Steel Hour
The United States Steel Hour
(1955) Producers' Showcase
Producers' Showcase
(1956) Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke
(1958) Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre (1959) Playhouse 90
Playhouse 90
(1960) Hallmark Hall of Fame
Hallmark Hall of Fame
(1961) The Defenders (1962) The Defenders (1963) The Defenders (1964) The Fugitive (1966) Mission: Impossible (1967) Mission: Impossible (1968) NET Playhouse
NET Playhouse
(1969) Marcus Welby, M.D.
Marcus Welby, M.D.
(1970) The Bold Ones: The Senator (1971) Elizabeth R (1972) The Waltons
The Waltons
(1973) Upstairs, Downstairs (1974) Upstairs, Downstairs (1975) Police Story (1976) Upstairs, Downstairs (1977) The Rockford Files
The Rockford Files
(1978) Lou Grant (1979) Lou Grant (1980) Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues
(1981) Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues
(1982) Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues
(1983) Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues
(1984) Cagney & Lacey (1985) Cagney & Lacey (1986) L.A. Law
L.A. Law
(1987) thirtysomething (1988) L.A. Law
L.A. Law
(1989) L.A. Law
L.A. Law
(1990) L.A. Law
L.A. Law
(1991) Northern Exposure
Northern Exposure
(1992) Picket Fences
Picket Fences
(1993) Picket Fences
Picket Fences
(1994) NYPD Blue
NYPD Blue
(1995) ER (1996) Law & Order (1997) The Practice
The Practice
(1998) The Practice
The Practice
(1999) The West Wing
The West Wing
(2000) The West Wing
The West Wing
(2001) The West Wing
The West Wing
(2002) The West Wing
The West Wing
(2003) The Sopranos
The Sopranos
(2004) Lost (2005) 24 (2006) The Sopranos
The Sopranos
(2007) Mad Men
Mad Men
(2008) Mad Men
Mad Men
(2009) Mad Men
Mad Men
(2010) Mad Men
Mad Men
(2011) Homeland (2012) Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad
(2013) Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad
(2014) Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones
(2015) Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones
(2016) The Handmaid's Tale (2017)

v t e

Nielsen Media Research
Nielsen Media Research
top-rated United States network television show

1950s

50–51: Texaco Star Theater 51–52: Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts 52–53, 53–54, 54–55: I Love Lucy 55–56: The $64,000 Question 56–57: I Love Lucy 57–58, 58–59, 59–60: Gunsmoke

1960s

60–61: Gunsmoke 61–62: Wagon Train 62–63, 63–64: The Beverly Hillbillies
The Beverly Hillbillies
(S1, S2) 64–65, 65–66, 66–67: Bonanza 67–68: The Andy Griffith Show
The Andy Griffith Show
(S8) 68–69, 69–70: Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

1970s

70–71: Marcus Welby, M.D. 71–72, 72–73, 73–74, 74–75, 75–76: All in the Family
All in the Family
(S2, S3, S4, S5, S6) 76–77: Happy Days
Happy Days
(S4) 77–78, 78–79: Laverne & Shirley (S3, S4) 79–80: 60 Minutes

1980s

80–81, 81–82: Dallas (S4, S5) 82–83: 60 Minutes 83–84: Dallas (S7) 84–85: Dynasty 85–86, 86–87, 87–88, 88–89: The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show
(S2, S3, S4, S5) 89–90: Roseanne
Roseanne
(S2)/ The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show
(S6)

1990s

90–91: Cheers
Cheers
(S9) 91–92, 92–93, 93–94: 60 Minutes 94–95: Seinfeld
Seinfeld
(S6) 95–96, 96–97: ER (S2, S3) 97–98: Seinfeld
Seinfeld
(S9) 98–99: ER (S5) 99–2000: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

2000s

00–01: Survivor
Survivor
(S2-AO) 01–02: Friends
Friends
(S8) 02–03, 03–04, 04–05,: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (S3, S4, S5) 05–06, 06–07, 07–08, 08–09, 09–10: American Idol
American Idol
(S5, S6, S7, S8, S9)

2010s

10–11: American Idol
American Idol
(S10) 11-12: NBC
NBC
Sunday Night Football 12-13: NCIS (S10) 13-14, 14-15, 15-16, 16–17: NBC
NBC
Sun

.