Still The Best of All The Television Adult Westerns
"Gunsmoke" was the first television Western. The longevity of the series is for two basic reasons: excellent scripts and and excellent casting. James Arness as Matt Dillon and Milburn Stone as Doc Adams remained with the series for all 20 years; Amanda Blake as Kitty was a regular for 19 years; Dennis Weaver as Chester ("Have a cup of coffee, Mr. Dillon") for 9 years; and Ken Curtis as Festus for the last 11 years. The writers never felt compelled to changing the characters to hype the story, like marrying off Matt and Kitty. The stories were adult, and frequently had endings that the Lone Ranger would not have appreciated. Even Buck Taylor as Newly and Glenn Strange as Sam the bartender were cast members for many years, Taylor until the the series ended and Strange until his death. . When "Gunsmoke" was abruptly canceled, it still had solid ratings, so the cancellation was a surprise. At the time, CBS was known for its capricious programming changes during a period when they were trying to appeal to a younger audience.
- Aug 25, 2020
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