Discuss Gunsmoke

The early half-hour episodes are terrific, and they often contain some moral dilemma for Matt Dillon. Like when he couldn't prove a guy was a murderer, so he provoked him into a gunfight and killed him, but didn't feel great about it. I also liked how they often opened, with Dillon walking through the Boot Hill cemetery and making some philosophical point in a brief monologue.

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I agree, but would extend it to also include the 65 and before B&W episodes. I guess I just liked the stories better in the earlier episodes.

I'm also a big fan of the Gunsmoke radio show, and really liked William Conrad as Matt Dillon. It's hard to compare the two for some, but once you get used to radio, not as much so. Many, if not all of the same radio episodes were recycled for the television series.

@wanton87 said:

I agree, but would extend it to also include the 65 and before B&W episodes. I guess I just liked the stories better in the earlier episodes.

I'm also a big fan of the Gunsmoke radio show, and really liked William Conrad as Matt Dillon. It's hard to compare the two for some, but once you get used to radio, not as much so. Many, if not all of the same radio episodes were recycled for the television series.

Yes, Conrad had a great voice for radio and narration. As his biog states: "Bill himself estimated that he had played in excess of 7,000 radio parts. Even if that was an exaggeration, his gravelly, resonant voice was certainly heard on countless broadcasts from "Buck Rogers" to "The Bullwinkle Show", from impersonating Marshall Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke" (before James Arness got the part on screen) to narrating the adventures of Richard Kimball in the television program The Fugitive (1963). In one episode of the anthology series Suspense (1949) in 1956, he voiced each and every part."

I am currently on season 11. I haven't seen one single episode I didn't like. The later episodes focus more on the guest stars story lines, rather than the 4 main characters of the show, but I love it.

@Moon_Doggie said: In one episode of the anthology series Suspense (1949) in 1956, he voiced each and every part."

Thanks for the info Moon Doggie. Suspense is also a favorite of mine, and one of these days I'll set out to download all 900 + episodes. Already got the complete collection of X Minus One, and its predecessor, Dimension X.

@stargazer said:

I am currently on season 11. I haven't seen one single episode I didn't like. The later episodes focus more on the guest stars story lines, rather than the 4 main characters of the show, but I love it.

The appeal of Gunsmoke is an odd one for me stargazer. I didn't particularly care all that much for the main cast of the television series, with the exception of Thad and Newly. But rather liked the various guest stars and the stories. There were times when the writing was all over the place, and wasn't always so good, but despite this, it remains one of my all time favorite shows.

Yes, I also prefer the earlier, half-hour b&w episodes. It remained pretty good when it went to an hour; but eventually, especially in the later color years, it sort of declined. This seems to happen to some other shows of that era that bridged the b&w and color years, e.g., The Andy Griffith Show.

@Moon_Doggie said:

The early half-hour episodes are terrific, and they often contain some moral dilemma for Matt Dillon. Like when he couldn't prove a guy was a murderer, so he provoked him into a gunfight and killed him, but didn't feel great about it. I also liked how they often opened, with Dillon walking through the Boot Hill cemetery and making some philosophical point in a brief monologue.

Yes, the early episodes often seemed to have less moral clarity than later ones. Sometimes justice was incomplete/lacking at the end. Also, Dillon sometimes lied to someone to make him/her feel better.

@ZurichGnome said:

Yes, I also prefer the earlier, half-hour b&w episodes. It remained pretty good when it went to an hour; but eventually, especially in the later color years, it sort of declined. This seems to happen to some other shows of that era that bridged the b&w and color years, e.g., The Andy Griffith Show.

The same thing happened to Death Valley Days. It really declined in later years, especially when it went to color and changed hosts. I much preferred the Old Ranger as the original host, as well as most of the early stories.

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