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"Gunsmoke"
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"Gunsmoke" (1955) More at IMDbPro »TV series 1955-1975

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Overview

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Seasons:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
Release Date:
10 September 1955 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Marshal Matt Dillon keeps the peace in the rough and tumble Dodge City. Full summary »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 4 Golden Globes. Another 14 wins & 20 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(285 articles)
User Reviews:
The three eras of TV's classic western See more (26 total) »

Cast

 (Series Cast Summary - 5 of 1022)

James Arness ... Matt Dillon / ... (635 episodes, 1955-1975)

Milburn Stone ... Doc / ... (604 episodes, 1955-1975)

Amanda Blake ... Kitty / ... (568 episodes, 1955-1974)

Ken Curtis ... Festus / ... (304 episodes, 1959-1975)

Dennis Weaver ... Chester / ... (290 episodes, 1955-1964)
(more)

Series Directed by
Andrew V. McLaglen (96 episodes, 1956-1965)
Harry Harris (65 episodes, 1961-1966)
Ted Post (56 episodes, 1956-1963)
Bernard McEveety (52 episodes, 1967-1975)
Vincent McEveety (45 episodes, 1965-1975)
Gunnar Hellström (33 episodes, 1967-1975)
Charles Marquis Warren (26 episodes, 1955-1956)
Robert Totten (25 episodes, 1966-1971)
Jesse Hibbs (20 episodes, 1958-1961)
Richard Whorf (18 episodes, 1957-1961)
John Rich (14 episodes, 1957-1969)
Irving J. Moore (14 episodes, 1966-1974)
Philip Leacock (12 episodes, 1969-1972)
Mark Rydell (10 episodes, 1964-1966)
Marc Daniels (10 episodes, 1965-1967)
Arthur Hiller (9 episodes, 1959-1960)
Joseph Sargent (8 episodes, 1962-1965)
Robert Stevenson (6 episodes, 1956)
Buzz Kulik (5 episodes, 1957-1959)
Allen Reisner (5 episodes, 1965-1967)
Herb Wallerstein (5 episodes, 1971-1972)
Victor French (5 episodes, 1974-1975)
Christian Nyby (4 episodes, 1956-1964)
William D. Russell (4 episodes, 1957)
Dennis Weaver (4 episodes, 1961)
Jerry Hopper (4 episodes, 1963-1964)
Michael O'Herlihy (4 episodes, 1964-1974)
Richard C. Sarafian (4 episodes, 1965-1968)
Paul Stanley (4 episodes, 1971-1972)
Alf Kjellin (4 episodes, 1972-1973)
Seymour Berns (3 episodes, 1958-1959)
Gerald Mayer (3 episodes, 1960-1961)
Jean Yarbrough (3 episodes, 1960)
Tay Garnett (3 episodes, 1961-1966)
John English (3 episodes, 1963)
Robert Butler (3 episodes, 1967-1972)
Marvin J. Chomsky (3 episodes, 1968-1969)
James Sheldon (2 episodes, 1957-1965)
Louis King (2 episodes, 1957)
R.G. Springsteen (2 episodes, 1959)
Sobey Martin (2 episodes, 1962-1963)
William Conrad (2 episodes, 1963-1971)
Joseph H. Lewis (2 episodes, 1965)
Alvin Ganzer (2 episodes, 1966-1968)
Bernard L. Kowalski (2 episodes, 1966)
Herschel Daugherty (2 episodes, 1968-1969)
Leo Penn (2 episodes, 1968-1969)
 
Series Writing credits
John Meston (258 episodes, 1955-1965)
Les Crutchfield (57 episodes, 1955-1967)
Calvin Clements Sr. (43 episodes, 1964-1974)
Kathleen Hite (42 episodes, 1957-1965)
Jim Byrnes (34 episodes, 1968-1975)
Paul Savage (27 episodes, 1963-1975)
John Dunkel (25 episodes, 1955-1967)
Marian Clark (21 episodes, 1959-1963)
Clyde Ware (17 episodes, 1965-1967)
Ron Bishop (15 episodes, 1967-1974)
Herbert Little Jr. (13 episodes, 1956-1957)
David Victor (13 episodes, 1956-1957)
Jack Miller (13 episodes, 1970-1973)
Hal Sitowitz (12 episodes, 1966-1975)
Sam Peckinpah (11 episodes, 1955-1958)
William Kelley (9 episodes, 1969-1972)
Harry Kronman (7 episodes, 1965-1973)
Preston Wood (7 episodes, 1966-1970)
Earl W. Wallace (7 episodes, 1974-1975)
Charles Marquis Warren (5 episodes, 1955)
Gil Doud (5 episodes, 1956-1957)
Norman MacDonnell (5 episodes, 1960-1961)
Richard Carr (5 episodes, 1965-1969)
Paul F. Edwards (5 episodes, 1970-1973)
Tom Hanley (4 episodes, 1956-1966)
Antony Ellis (4 episodes, 1963-1968)
Shimon Wincelberg (4 episodes, 1964-1974)
Calvin Clements Jr. (4 episodes, 1966-1971)
Arthur Rowe (4 episodes, 1968-1969)
Richard Fielder (4 episodes, 1969-1974)
Winston Miller (3 episodes, 1956)
Frank Paris (3 episodes, 1961-1964)
John Mantley (3 episodes, 1964-1974)
Robert Lewin (3 episodes, 1965-1966)
William Blinn (3 episodes, 1967-1971)
Herman Groves (3 episodes, 1969-1975)
Howard Dimsdale (3 episodes, 1969-1974)
Arthur Browne Jr. (3 episodes, 1969-1970)
Jess Carneol (3 episodes, 1969-1970)
Kay Lenard (3 episodes, 1969-1970)
Donald S. Sanford (3 episodes, 1970-1971)
William Keys (3 episodes, 1973-1974)
Daniel B. Ullman (2 episodes, 1956-1966)
William F. Leicester (2 episodes, 1956-1957)
Hal Moffett (2 episodes, 1961-1962)
John Rosser (2 episodes, 1962-1963)
Gwen Bagni (2 episodes, 1963-1964)
John Kneubuhl (2 episodes, 1963-1964)
George Eckstein (2 episodes, 1964-1965)
William Putman (2 episodes, 1965-1975)
Frank Q. Dobbs (2 episodes, 1965-1966)
Gustave Field (2 episodes, 1965-1966)
Robert C. Stewart (2 episodes, 1965-1966)
Scott Hunt (2 episodes, 1965)
Beth Keele (2 episodes, 1965)
James Landis (2 episodes, 1966-1967)
Charles Joseph Stone (2 episodes, 1967-1972)
Don Ingalls (2 episodes, 1967)
Ron Honthaner (2 episodes, 1968-1972)
Jack Turley (2 episodes, 1968-1969)
Robert Vincent Wright (2 episodes, 1971-1974)

Series Produced by
Norman MacDonnell .... producer / associate producer (356 episodes, 1955-1965)
John Mantley .... executive producer / producer / ... (223 episodes, 1965-1975)
Ron Honthaner .... associate producer (96 episodes, 1971-1975)
Joseph Dackow .... producer / associate producer (90 episodes, 1967-1971)
Leonard Katzman .... producer (84 episodes, 1970-1974)
Philip Leacock .... producer / executive producer (82 episodes, 1964-1967)
James Arness .... associate producer / executive producer (55 episodes, 1959-1964)
Frank Paris .... associate producer (54 episodes, 1961-1965)
Charles Marquis Warren .... producer (52 episodes, 1955-1957)
John G. Stephens .... producer (11 episodes, 1975)
Arthur Marks .... producer (2 episodes, 1967)
 
Series Original Music by
Leon Klatzkin (77 episodes, 1966-1971)
John Carl Parker (45 episodes, 1967-1974)
Fred Steiner (27 episodes, 1959-1965)
Morton Stevens (10 episodes, 1965-1971)
Rudy Schrager (9 episodes, 1964-1965)
René Garriguenc (7 episodes, 1959-1962)
Harry Geller (7 episodes, 1965-1971)
Jerry Goldsmith (6 episodes, 1960-1966)
Wilbur Hatch (6 episodes, 1960-1964)
Richard Shores (6 episodes, 1964-1972)
Jerrold Immel (6 episodes, 1972-1975)
Leith Stevens (5 episodes, 1960-1962)
Bruce Broughton (5 episodes, 1973-1975)
Nathan Scott (4 episodes, 1960-1964)
Van Cleave (4 episodes, 1961-1963)
Lyn Murray (3 episodes, 1960-1966)
Bernard Herrmann (3 episodes, 1961)
Tommy Morgan (3 episodes, 1962-1964)
Lucien Moraweck (2 episodes, 1960-1961)
Franz Waxman (2 episodes, 1966)
Jack Hayes (2 episodes, 1971)
Leo Shuken (2 episodes, 1971)
Martin L. Klein (2 episodes, 1973-1974)
 
Series Cinematography by
Fleet Southcott (215 episodes, 1955-1963)
Monroe P. Askins (127 episodes, 1967-1973)
Harry Stradling Jr. (87 episodes, 1964-1967)
Frank V. Phillips (51 episodes, 1963-1965)
Edward R. Plante (24 episodes, 1974-1975)
Ernest Miller (11 episodes, 1955-1956)
Ted D. Landon (5 episodes, 1973-1974)
Neal Beckner (4 episodes, 1966-1967)
Mack Stengler (3 episodes, 1955)
Robert Pittack (3 episodes, 1963)
Charles F. Wheeler (2 episodes, 1967-1971)
 
Series Film Editing by
Albrecht Joseph (153 episodes, 1958-1967)
Otto Meyer (125 episodes, 1959-1967)
Gerard Wilson (69 episodes, 1967-1975)
Leslie Vidor (61 episodes, 1955-1959)
Howard A. Smith (55 episodes, 1965-1975)
Thomas J. McCarthy (41 episodes, 1968-1974)
Donald W. Ernst (23 episodes, 1968-1970)
Sam Gold (12 episodes, 1957-1959)
Harry Coswick (10 episodes, 1957-1958)
Bill Mosher (8 episodes, 1967-1968)
Michael Luciano (6 episodes, 1956-1957)
Grant K. Smith (6 episodes, 1967-1968)
Michael Pozen (5 episodes, 1957-1958)
Carroll Sax (4 episodes, 1974)
Linda Schlesinger (3 episodes, 1971-1975)
Tom Stevens (2 episodes, 1974)
 
Series Casting by
Lynn Stalmaster (319 episodes, 1955-1964)
Pam Polifroni (182 episodes, 1966-1975)
James Lister (118 episodes, 1959-1966)
 
Series Art Direction by
Albert Heschong (141 episodes, 1961-1973)
Joseph R. Jennings (109 episodes, 1967-1975)
Nicolai Remisoff (70 episodes, 1955-1957)
Walter E. Keller (52 episodes, 1959-1961)
James Dowell Vance (38 episodes, 1963-1972)
James W. Sullivan (26 episodes, 1957-1958)
William Craig Smith (25 episodes, 1969-1973)
John B. Goodman (19 episodes, 1966-1967)
Raymond Beal (16 episodes, 1965-1966)
Malcolm C. Bert (5 episodes, 1965)
Marvin J. Chomsky (4 episodes, 1966-1967)
Gibson Holley (3 episodes, 1965)
 
Series Set Decoration by
Herman N. Schoenbrun (356 episodes, 1959-1975)
Raymond Boltz Jr. (36 episodes, 1957-1959)
G.W. Berntsen (33 episodes, 1956-1958)
Charles Vassar (23 episodes, 1959-1960)
 
Series Makeup Department
Glen Alden .... makeup artist (414 episodes, 1955-1975)
Pat Whiffing .... hair stylist (263 episodes, 1955-1967)
Gertrude Wheeler .... hair stylist (70 episodes, 1968-1973)
Newton Jones .... makeup artist (57 episodes, 1968-1970)
Helen Young .... hair stylist / makeup artist (41 episodes, 1967-1969)
Irving Pringle .... makeup artist (40 episodes, 1970-1972)
Esperanza Corona .... hair stylist (35 episodes, 1971-1975)
Cherie Banks .... hair stylist (24 episodes, 1970-1971)
Ken Chase .... makeup artist (10 episodes, 1972-1973)
George Lane .... makeup artist (9 episodes, 1971-1974)
Kay Shea .... hair stylist (7 episodes, 1965-1966)
Betty Pedretti .... hair stylist (7 episodes, 1965)
Newt Jones .... makeup artist (3 episodes, 1968)
Florence Bush .... hair stylist (2 episodes, 1965)
 
Series Production Management
Robert M. Beche .... production manager (201 episodes, 1963-1970)
Glenn Cook .... production manager / production supervisor (74 episodes, 1955-1959)
Paul Nichols .... production manager (55 episodes, 1970-1975)
Dewey Starkey .... production supervisor (52 episodes, 1959-1961)
Howard Joslin .... unit production manager (23 episodes, 1959-1960)
Ron Honthaner .... post production executive (10 episodes, 1969)
Jack Aldworth .... production manager (9 episodes, 1975)
Gordon A. Webb .... production manager (6 episodes, 1972-1975)
Abby Singer .... production manager (4 episodes, 1974)
 
Series Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert M. Beche .... assistant director (88 episodes, 1957-1971)
Paul Nichols .... assistant director (86 episodes, 1964-1975)
Glenn Cook .... assistant director (68 episodes, 1955-1957)
Wesley J. McAfee .... assistant director (56 episodes, 1961-1964)
Al Kraus .... assistant director (41 episodes, 1966-1969)
Christopher N. Seiter .... assistant director (40 episodes, 1964-1971)
Robert L. Rosen .... assistant director (39 episodes, 1962-1970)
Nathan Barragar .... assistant director (21 episodes, 1958-1959)
Gordon A. Webb .... assistant director (20 episodes, 1972-1974)
Martin Cohan .... assistant director (14 episodes, 1969-1970)
Robert Shue .... assistant director (13 episodes, 1969-1973)
Don Torpin .... assistant director (10 episodes, 1973-1974)
Howard Joslin .... assistant director (9 episodes, 1956-1958)
W.B. Eason .... assistant director (8 episodes, 1957-1958)
Max Stein .... assistant director (5 episodes, 1971-1972)
Bob White .... assistant director (4 episodes, 1971-1973)
Clancy Herne .... assistant director / second assistant director (3 episodes, 1969-1970)
Austen Jewell .... assistant director (3 episodes, 1971)
William D. Faralla .... assistant director (2 episodes, 1956)
Jack Voglin .... assistant director (2 episodes, 1957-1958)
 
Series Art Department
Clem Widrig .... property master (284 episodes, 1959-1972)
Mike Gordon .... property master (83 episodes, 1955-1959)
Craig Binkley .... assistant property master / property master / ... (66 episodes, 1970-1974)
Ted Cooper .... property master (33 episodes, 1957-1959)
Paul Sylos .... set designer (21 episodes, 1958-1959)
Earl W. Huntoon Jr. .... property master (19 episodes, 1972-1975)
Howard Cole .... property master (3 episodes, 1972)
 
Series Sound Department
Vernon W. Kramer .... sound mixer / production sound mixer (188 episodes, 1960-1969)
Jack A. Finlay .... sound effects editor / sound effects supervisor (125 episodes, 1965-1975)
Gene Eliot .... sound effects editor / sound effects editor: 1959-1965 (118 episodes, 1959-1965)
Andrew Gilmore .... production sound mixer / sound mixer (92 episodes, 1969-1973)
Joel Moss .... sound re-recording mixer / rerecording / ... (50 episodes, 1960-1963)
Jerry Rosenthal .... sound effects supervisor / supervising sound effects editor / ... (41 episodes, 1970-1972)
Alan Bernard .... production sound mixer / sound mixer (22 episodes, 1974-1975)
Terrance Emerson .... sound cable man (6 episodes, 1968)
Coye Vanover .... production sound mixer (4 episodes, 1973)
 
Series Special Effects by
Louis DeWitt .... special photographic effects (2 episodes, 1958)
Jack Rabin .... special photographic effects (2 episodes, 1958)
 
Series Visual Effects by
Louis DeWitt .... optical effects / special photographic effects (81 episodes, 1955-1958)
Jack Rabin .... optical effects / special photographic effects (81 episodes, 1955-1958)
 
Series Stunts
Alex Sharp .... stunt double: James Arness / stunt double: Douglas Kennedy (8 episodes, 1964-1968)
Bobby Somers .... stunts (8 episodes, 1972-1973)
Jimmy Noel .... stunt double: Milburn Stone / stunts (7 episodes, 1967-1974)
Hal Needham .... stunt double: Burt Reynolds / stunt double: Michael Higgins / ... (4 episodes, 1963-1964)
Jack N. Young .... stunts (3 episodes, 1956-1957)
Chick Sheridan .... stunt double: Chill Wills / stunt double: Jim Davis (2 episodes, 1962-1971)
Bobby Clark .... stunts (2 episodes, 1968-1974)
Jesse Wayne .... stunt double: Charles Kuenstle (2 episodes, 1969)
 
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Michael D. O'Shea .... first assistant camera (25 episodes, 1967-1968)
Charles R. Young .... camera operator (21 episodes, 1974-1975)
Lloyd Ahern II .... assistant camera (10 episodes, 1966)
 
Series Casting Department
Frank Kennedy .... extras casting: locations (6 episodes, 1974-1975)
 
Series Costume and Wardrobe Department
Alexander Velcoff .... costumer / wardrobe (353 episodes, 1959-1975)
Robert O'Dell .... wardrobe (53 episodes, 1956-1959)
John E. Dowsing .... wardrobe (49 episodes, 1955-1957)
Thelma Milborn .... costumer / costumes (32 episodes, 1961-1964)
Ruth Stella .... costumer (18 episodes, 1960-1961)
Aida Swinson .... costumer (8 episodes, 1973-1975)
Ethel Shaw .... costumer (7 episodes, 1961)
Angela Alexander .... costumer (2 episodes, 1959)
 
Series Editorial Department
Fred W. Berger .... supervising editor / supervising film editor (118 episodes, 1955-1959)
 
Series Music Department
Gene Feldman .... music editor / supervising music editor (420 episodes, 1959-1973)
Carl Fortina .... musician: accordion soloist (355 episodes, 1955-1964)
Rex Koury .... composer: theme music (109 episodes, 1955-1974)
Glenn Spencer .... composer: theme music (84 episodes, 1955-1966)
Leon Klatzkin .... conductor (50 episodes, 1966-1971)
Robert Bain .... musician: guitar (39 episodes, 1955-1956)
Herschel Burke Gilbert .... music supervisor / conductor (15 episodes, 1964-1965)
John Carl Parker .... conductor (12 episodes, 1968-1974)
Fred Steiner .... conductor (11 episodes, 1960-1965)
Morton Stevens .... music supervisor / conductor (11 episodes, 1966-1967)
Harry Geller .... conductor (6 episodes, 1965-1971)
Robert Takagi .... supervising music editor (6 episodes, 1974-1975)
Lud Gluskin .... conductor (4 episodes, 1960-1962)
Leith Stevens .... conductor (3 episodes, 1960-1962)
Wilbur Hatch .... conductor (3 episodes, 1961-1964)
Nathan Scott .... conductor (3 episodes, 1961-1964)
Jerry Goldsmith .... conductor (2 episodes, 1960)
Lyn Murray .... conductor (2 episodes, 1961-1966)
Van Cleave .... conductor (2 episodes, 1961-1962)
Bernard Herrmann .... conductor (2 episodes, 1961)
 
Series Transportation Department
Chris Haynes .... driver (12 episodes, 1973-1975)
 
Series Other crew
Edle Bakke .... script supervisor (175 episodes, 1961-1970)
Mary Chaffee .... script supervisor (113 episodes, 1955-1959)
Paul Savage .... story consultant / executive story consultant (86 episodes, 1966-1969)
Herbert DuFine .... assistant to producer / assistant to producers (81 episodes, 1964-1969)
Lloyd Nelson .... script supervisor (67 episodes, 1970-1975)
Adele Cannon .... script supervisor (55 episodes, 1959-1961)
Ron Honthaner .... post production executive / assistant to producer (53 episodes, 1968-1971)
Paul F. Edwards .... assistant story consultant (51 episodes, 1970-1973)
Calvin Clements Sr. .... executive story consultant (45 episodes, 1969-1971)
Jack Miller .... executive story consultant (45 episodes, 1971-1975)
Jim Byrnes .... assistant story consultant (41 episodes, 1968-1970)
Frank Paris .... assistant to producer (40 episodes, 1960-1961)
John Mantley .... story consultant / script consultant (13 episodes, 1964-1965)
Erika Wernher .... script supervisor (6 episodes, 1969-1971)
Calvin Clements Jr. .... executive story consultant (5 episodes, 1969-1970)
Michael Kennedy .... production assistant (5 episodes, 1974)
Gana Jones .... script supervisor (3 episodes, 1961)
Eleanor H. Donahoe .... script supervisor (2 episodes, 1957-1958)
Joyce King .... script supervisor (2 episodes, 1973)
Ed Knight .... script supervisor (2 episodes, 1973)
Jimmy Noel .... stand-in: Milburn Stone (2 episodes, 1974)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Marshal Dillon" - USA (rerun title)
See more »
Runtime:
USA:30 min (1955-1961) (233 episodes) (including commercials) | USA:60 min (1961-1975) (402 episodes) (including commercials)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Black and White (1955-1966) | Color (1966-1975)
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
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.See more »
Quotes:
[the teaser of the very first episode, "Matt Gets It."]
John Wayne: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. Some of them have been westerns and that's what I'm here to tell you about tonight...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
The Old TrailSee more »

FAQ

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23 out of 33 people found the following review useful.
The three eras of TV's classic western, 10 March 2002
Author: schappe1 from N Syracuse NY



Gunsmoke

That Gunsmoke is the greatest TV western of all time is hard to dispute. it may be the great TV show of all time. Think of what your favorite show might have been like after 20 years on the air and then compare it to Gunsmoke, which was probably as good as anything on TV for it's entire twenty year run. Not too many shows were on so long that their runs can be divided into eras, but Gunsmoke has three of them. The first is the half hour black and white era, (1955-61). This is the most praised era of the show and the era of it's greatest popularity, (it was the #1 show on TV the last four of those years). Critics praise the "tight scripting" of those days and James Arness has said he prefers John Meston's "little morality plays" to the later hour episodes, which some critics have called "bloated". I like the half hours because they show the program in it's formative years, when the cast was young, (and the right age for their characters). I also like you can get four of them to a cassette, rather than two. But these shows are basically about incidents, rather than stories. They lack character and story development. The second era is the hour long black and white era. This is my favorite, firstly because it's the earliest one I remember from the times I watched it with my father and secondly because it's the best. With the extra hour to work with and a new group of writers to do the work,. the series matured. The supporting cast became stars, (nearly every famous episode featuring Chester, Festus, Doc or Kitty comes from this period). It also is the era when the second lead was introduced. the first and best was Burt Reynolds as Quint Asper, who's entire run is in this era. The writers also increased the scope of the show by focusing on "guest characters" with the regulars as supporting players. Unfortunately, the general public didn't share my enthusiasm for this era, (or they found something better to do on Saturday nights). Gunsmoke fell from #1 to #36, (in an era where there were only three networks), and actually got briefly canceled until William Paley saved it. But the old Saturday night spot was taken by Mannix so the show was moved to Tuesday, where it was expected to die a natural death among shows intended for younger viewers. In the greatest upset in TV ratings history, the show was discovered by a new generation and rebounded to #2, earning it another 8 years on the air, by which time the western craze it had started was long over and all it's rivals, even Bonanza, were long off the air.

By this time, color had taken over. And it didn't do the show much good. Magazine reporters used to say: black and white for drama, color for excitement. Gunsmoke was about drama. Gunsmoke used to use an outdoor set for daytime Dodge City scenes. That disappeared in favor of an indoor set about 1960. In black an white the indoor set sufficed. In color it looked garish and stagy. Color had the same effect on the actors who were now too old for their roles. Real western marshals served for a few months at a time, (and, by the way, US Marshals were never town marshals). it became increasingly ridiculous to see Matt Dillon still gunning down the young whippersnappers after a decade or more. Miss Kitty went from a purdy young thing to a middle aged painted lady. Doc became increasingly enfeebled as Milburn Stone's health declined. Somehow the color film brought out all the wrinkles more than black and white. There where compensations. Each season began with a movie-caliber two parter shot on location in some national park. the overall script quality remained high as the cadre of writers continued to expand. They even got an outdoor set to use again in the later years, although it didn't look much like the Dodge City we had come to know.

The TV movies? The first one was terrible. The second one was quite good. the third one stunk and I didn't bother with them after that.

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