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Friday, April 3, 2009

Gunsmoke (OTRR Certified)



Gunsmoke was a long-running old-time radio and television Western drama program set in Dodge City, Kansas during the settlement of the American West. The radio show first aired on April 26, 1952 and ran until June 18, 1961 on the CBS radio network. The series starred William Conrad as Marshal Matt Dillon, Howard McNear as Doc Charles Adams, Georgia Ellis as Kitty Russell, and Parley Baer as Deputy Chester Proudfoot. Doc's first name and Chester's last name were changed for the television program. Gunsmoke was notable for its critically acclaimed cast and writing, and is commonly regarded as one of the finest old time radio shows. Some listeners have argued that the radio version of Gunsmoke was far more realistic than the television program. Episodes were aimed at adults, and featured some of the most explicit content of the day: there were violent crimes and scalpings, massacres and opium addicts. Miss Kitty's occupation as a prostitute was made far more obvious on the radio version than on television. Many episodes ended on a down-note, and villains often got away with their crimes.
Story Of Gunsmoke


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There were differences 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. The television Doc, though still crusty, was in many ways softer and warmer. Miss Kitty, who in the radio series likely engaged in prostitution, was viewed more as "the proprietor of a saloon" on the television series, and except for a few early scripts taken from the radio series, viewers only saw Miss Kitty as a kindhearted businesswoman.

James Arness taking the lead role of Marshal Matt Dillon upon the recommendation of John Wayne, who also introduced the first episode of the series; Dennis Weaver playing Chester Goode; Milburn Stone being cast as Dr. Galen "Doc" Adams; and Amanda Blake taking on the role of Miss Kitty Russell, owner of the Long Branch Saloon. MacDonnell became the associate producer of the TV show and later the producer. In 1963, singer and character actor Ken Curtis did a guest role as a shady ladies' man. After Weaver left the series to venture out as the lead in his own TV series.






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References: Old Time Radio Researchers Group, Wikipedia, Frank Passage & Others OTR Logs, Archive.org, Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning, Australian Old Time Radio Group