Gunsmoke: Season 11, Episode 17

Sweet Billy, Singer of Songs (15 Jan. 1966)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 28 users  
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Festus's nephew arrives, seeking a bride who can read and write. He soon finds one, but runs into difficulties earning the money he needs for her dowry.



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Title: Sweet Billy, Singer of Songs (15 Jan 1966)

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Episode cast overview:
Roger Ewing ...
Thad Greenwood
Robert Random ...
Sweet Billy Haggen (as Bob Random)
Woody Chambliss ...
Waiter (as Woodrow Chambliss)
Shug Fisher ...
Emery Haggen
Alice Backes ...
Widow Folsome
Orabelle Beal
Lambert Haggen
Pony Beal


Festus's nephew arrives, seeking a bride who can read and write. He soon finds one, but runs into difficulties earning the money he needs for her dowry.

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Release Date:

15 January 1966 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

I know the episodes will get better...
20 November 2014 | by (Old West Texas) – See all my reviews

I am watching "Gunsmoke" unfold in chronological order, and since the series lasted 20 years, I am sure that the series did not stay in the ditch that it is in at the current time.

So many episodes leading up to this one in season 11 have attempted comedy and fallen short. "Three Stooges" humor does not work in "Gunsmoke," and that's what the last few episodes, including this one, have tried to do.

In other reviews, I have read that the original writers and producers had retired from writing this season, and I can tell that James Arness is tiring of the role, as he is only making disjointed cameos now. He is constantly involved with off-camera action, like taking horse thieves to Hays City, or other extended leaves.

Festus is a great character, and I am fascinated watching his character evolve, but I am sick of all the other Hagens who are inflicted on us. These relatives reminded me a lot of the Darling Family or Ernest T. Bass on "The Andy Griffith Show," though such things worked there.

The low point of this episode has become the low point of the entire series, I think. When Matt shows up, sitting behind Festus on his mule, Matt's feet nearly dragging the ground, I wonder how Arness even let this picture get to the silver screen. He looked ridiculous! That said, I know the series learned how to work around Arness' frequent absences and his declining involvement in the show, and they must have gotten better writers, because I remember some color episodes that were real classics.

But this one was silly, ridiculous, and insulting to the true fan of the "Gunsmoke" legacy. I think these transitional writers must have moved on, maybe to work on "My Mother the Car" or "Gilligan's Island." If they had stayed, "Gunsmoke" would never have reached 20 seasons.

If you skip this episode, and about three or four before it, you will miss nothing important. Be warned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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