"Gunsmoke" P.S. Murry Christmas (TV Episode 1971) Poster

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Jeanette Nolan is never better than in this Christmas tale.
kfo949410 October 2013
I know I'm a sucker for most Christmas program that features kids and this episode is no different. With a nice script and a near perfect cast this episode was bound to please.

It begins at the place where you can pull the most heartstrings, an orphanage, where kids are singing carols hoping for a donation to get them through the winter. When the hard-nose women running the home, Emma Grundy (Jeanette Nolan), finds her handyman, Titus Spangler (Jack Elam) causing trouble at the singing she fires him. However the children love Titus and would rather go with him than stay with the grouchy Ms Grundy. So Titus takes the children with him so that they can have a Christmas, something that Ms Grundy will never agree for them to have.

Titus and the children end up and Dodge with Ms Grundy right behind them. When Ms Grundy refuses to let the town have a Christmas party for the kids everyone believes the horror stories about Ole Ms Grundy. So Kitty plans a scheme to have Ms Grundy fired from her job but this little plan will backfire in the face of all involved.

Jeanette Nolan is wonderful as the harden shell of a women until we realize she only has the best of the children in mind. She plays nicely against Jack Elam that plays his regular carefree character that lives for each day. Yes, this is a sentimental holiday story that may appear corny to some. But I loved it! Great Watch.
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The Ensemble
richard.fuller112 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Future Oscar winner Jodie Foster.

Blonde-wigged Erin Moran, who would portray Joanie Cunningham on "Happy Days".

Willie Aames, who would be Tommy Bradford on "Eight is Enough" and lest we forget, his tenure as Bibleman AND his appearing on the Celebrity Weight Loss on VH1 (perhaps not a shining moment for him tho).

Todd Lookinland, who is the younger brother of Mike Lookinland, the Brady Bunch's Bobby.

Todd would also appear on the The Brady Bunch in the 3 musketeers episode with Ken Berry and Brooke Bundy, in an attempted spin off.

Heck, we even have Brian Morrison, George Kennedy and Susan Clark's son in the Airport movies, as well as Brian Morrison was Bea Arthur's grandson, Phillip, on Maude.

Josh Albee seems to be no slouch as well.

Throw in stellar character actor Jack Elam, and also the remarkably underrated Jeanette Nolan, who would later return in a 180 degree reversed performance as Dirty Sally, as well as an appearance by Bewitched schoolteacher Maude Fickett, and how could it get any better? Well, I suppose if Charles Lane, Sean Kelly (II) or Lance Kerwin had appeared, that would have made this Christmas episode a very strange pinnacle in television.

As it is, it does make one stop and look when it comes on.

"That's Jodie Foster! With Erin Moran! And Dirty Sally!" Episode-wise, Miss Kitty isn't at her most Christmasy, and how about those burning candles on the tree?

Tis the season.
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headhunter4610 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This was a very touching, and heartwarming episode. It had all the elements necessary to tug at the hearts of most people. Orphans that are living in hardship, an uncle-like figure who looks after the kids and he has become very dear to them. He believes the mistress is far too severe on the kids and he conspires to whisk them away. Of course they end up in Dodge City where the towns folks work together to see to it the kids get a Christmas for the first time ever. There are a few surprises and some tender moments. There were numerous chuckles to go around. Try to imagine my favorite (rough around the edges) Jack Elam playing the part of Santa. I really enjoyed the antics in this episode. I am certain you will too.

Watch for some faces you may find hard to recognize on the children. Some went on to do considerable more acting.
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You forgot Patti Cohoon!
cagordon222 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Patti Cohoon also played one of the orphans. She played Molly, the little sister of Candy Pruitt (played by Bridget Hanley) on the second season of Here Come the Brides.

So all in all, the group of seven orphans was made up entirely of Hollywood pros! Fun to see them all together when they're young. Erin Moran's wig was abysmal, what, they didn't want one more brunette orphanette? And how funny that Jodie Foster had the least amount of lines. Still, if you notice, she had the best presence - was most "in the moment", most believable as an orphan child.

Just happened across this ep this morning....what a treat!
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