Encore Westerns shows the half-hour episodes under the Gunsmoke title, but their season-six episodes have a different closing theme song and a different font for the end credits. Did the Marshall Dillon episodes have their own theme song, and is that what is being heard on Encore? On DVD, all of the season-six episodes were presented under the Gunsmoke title and had the original Gunsmoke end-credit theme and font, with the exception of the episode "Love Thy Neighbor," which had the alternate theme song and font.
I think that's because when Encore Westerns acquired them, newly remastered prints of the complete sixth season weren't finished yet. Some of their season six copies are beat up and have the old Marshall Dillon titles. The syndicated Marshall Dillon episodes did have their own opening, just a drawing of Matt, and their own theme song.
Here's some more Gunsmoke trivia: the first season openings with Matt on Boot Hill were the idea of producer Charles Marquis Warren. He'd do something similar for Rawhide, his creation, by having many early episodes open with a Gil Favor voice over, which were quotes from Favor's diary. I think it fit Rawhide better; I never thought the Boot Hill segments on Gunsmoke were that necessary.
The first episode where Kitty wears a beauty mark is "Cooter," production episode 27, the first episode Charles Warren didn't direct and the first where Norman MacDonnell, one of Gunsmoke's creators on radio, is credited as associate producer. MacDonnell and Warren did not get along; perhaps this was a subtle way for MacDonnell to start to put his stamp on things.
Edited by jdee28, June 12 2013 - 08:25 AM.