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Wanted: GUNSMOKE (CBS/1955-1975)

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by JohnHopper, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Message #321 of 444 Dec 1, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
    JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    GUNSMOKE SEASON 15

    Episode #1
    “The Devil’s Outpost”
    written by Jim Byrnes and Bob Barbash
    story by Bob Barbash
    directed by Philip Leacock
    music by Leon Klatzkin
    guests: Robert Lansing, Jonathan Lippe, Karl Swanson, Sheila Larken, Ken Swofford, Warren Vanders, Valentin de Vargas, Charles Kuenstle, I. Stanford Jolley, Sabrina Scharf, Troy Melton, Joe Higgins, Sam Edwards, William Tannen, Joe Haworth, Ed Long, Jeffrey Sayre


    Cody Tyce (actor Jonathan Lippe) shakes up his two men for a robbing operation while a stagecoach transports Matt Dillon and three passengers. Later on, the stagecoach stops nearby a pond to refill when the bandits attack and order to get the cashbox. Hidden in the carriage, Dillon reacts, kills Farley (actor Ed Long) and neutralizes Cody and lets go rider Kelly (actor Charles Kuenstle) who warns gang leader Yancy (actor Robert Lansing) about his little brother’s predicament back at the camp. The stagecoach stops at Mountridge and unloads the passengers. Unable to deputize any men, Dillon sends a telegram to get Festus at Buffalo Crossing but one man of Yancy named Bo Harper (actor Warren Vanders) threatens the telegram clerk to change the contents of the help message. At Dodge City, Newly informs Miss Kitty and Doc about the message and rides to the Buffalo Crossing relay station and meets his girlfriend Abby Tillman (actress Sheila Larken). The gang threatens the couple and the father (actor I. Stanford Jolley) to cooperate and lie to Dillon but Newly brutally escapes from them and pretends to be dead but warns Dillon about the hopeless situation…

    It’s a Dillon adventure and a good season opener in the line of the season 13 opener (“The Wreckers”) because of the bandits and stagecoach leaning. Too bad that the part of actress Sabrina Scharf is shallow. The outlaw characters consist of leader Yancy Tyce (actor Robert Lansing) and his brother Cody (actor Jonathan Lippe), Loomis (actor Ken Swofford), Bo Harper (actor Warren Vanders), Pacos (actor Valentin de Vargas), Kelly (actor Charles Kuenstle), Farley (actor Ed Long). During the first meeting between leader Yancy Dice and Matt Dillon traveling on a stagecoach, the picture restoration is poor because we can notice a scratch on the right side of the screen.

    Actor Robert Lansing returns from the season 11 “The Bounty Hunter” and is known for the iconic US Air Force Brigadier General Frank Savage from the QM series 12 O’Clock High (1964) but also as Detective Steve Carella from 87th Precinct (1961) and as spy Peter Murphy/billionaire Mark Wainwright from the short-lived European-based character-driven espionage series The Man Who Never Was (1966).

    Actors I. Stanford Jolley (“Lyle’s Kid”, “Reprisal”), Charles Kuenstle (“Slocum”, “The Twisted Heritage”), Jonathan Lippe (“Zavala”, “Time of the Jackals”), Ed Long (“9:12 to Dodge”), Troy Melton (“O’Quillian”, “9:12 to Dodge”, “Railroad”), Ken Swofford (“The Hide Cutters”, “Lobo”), Warren Vanders (“Zavala”, “The Night Riders”) all return from the season 14. Actors Karl Swanson (“The Newcomers”) and Valentin de Vargas (“Old Friend”) both return from the season 12.


    End Credits for composer Leon Klatzkin.
    d1_klatzin.
     
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  2. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    Leader Yancy Tyce (actor Robert Lansing).
    devil_lansing01. devil_lansing02. devil_lansing03. devil_lansing04. devil_lansing05. devil_lansing06. devil_lansing07. devil_lansing08. devil_lansing09. devil_lansing10.
     
  3. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Wow, the transfers on this season 15 set look fantastic!!
     
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  4. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    Indeed, they are. More pictures tomorrow!
     
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  5. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Looking forward to it! Though I'm not sure how well Miss Kitty will fare when viewed in such clarity. ;) (Sorry, not the biggest Amanda Blake fan...)
     
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  6. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    GUNSMOKE SEASON 15

    Episode #2
    “Stryker”
    written by Herman Groves
    directed by Robert Totten
    music by Johnny Parker
    guests: Morgan Woodward, Joan Van Ark, Royal Dano, Mills Watson, Andy Devine, Walter Sande, Ted French, Don Happy


    In the dead of the night, an old one-arm man named Joshua Stryker (actor Morgan Woodward) heads to the livery stable of Dodge City when Matt Dillon recognizes his old partner that calls him “deputy”. Josh returns to the house of his daughter Sarah Jean (actress Joan Van Ark) whose husband used to run away and which forces her to work at the Long Branch. Near the fire, Josh has a flash of memory from a traumatic event at the house of the Wilson’s when he was the US marshal of Dodge City and led him to prison. Josh stops by the Long Branch to meet the people he knew and deals with the painful event of the Wilson’s drama. Out of the blue, two ex-convicts he knew named Jessup (actor Royal Dano) and Reager (actor Mills Watson) burst into the house of Stryker and asks him some money and assert they’re about to kill Matt Dillon as part of the deal. The day after, at Ace Reed’s ranch, the two lame ducks fail to shoot down Dillon who eventually kills Reager. Later on, Jessup resumes to the home of the Stryker’s to get the money of Josh’s wallet but finds nothing and tortures his daughter by cutting his hair. Jessup goes to the Long Branch and threatens Miss Kitty to get the money …

    It’s a harsh family drama and a good nostalgic piece about a haunted former Marshal that reminds three episodes written by executive story consultant Calvin Clements (the season 14 “Lyle’s Kid” also with actor Morgan Woodward, the season 13 “The Prodigal”, the season 10 “Jonah Hutchinson”). The graphic use of the episode title is particularly well-done during the prologue. The night scenes are well-composed and well-lit. One gothic montage is noteworthy and dramatical: Stryker is bothered by a raven at the cemetery which triggers a painful flash of memory about the burning house of the Wilson’s and threatening outlaw Coley Remick.

    Actors Mills Watson (“Lyle’s Kid”, “Slocum”, “Waco”) and Morgan Woodward (“Lyle’s Kid”, “Lobo”) both return from season 14.
    Actor Royal Dano returns from the season 13 “Hard Luck Henry”.


    End Credits for composer Johnny Parker.
    d1_parker.
     
  7. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    Joshua Stryker (actor Morgan Woodward) remembers.
    stryker_01. stryker_02. stryker_03. stryker_04. stryker_05. stryker_06. stryker_07. stryker_08. stryker_09. stryker_10. stryker_11. stryker_12.
     
  8. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    GUNSMOKE SEASON 15

    Episode #3
    “Coreyville”
    written by Herman Groves
    directed by Bernard McEveety
    music by Johnny Parker
    guests: Nina Foch, Kevin Coughlin, Thomas Hunter, Bruce Glover, Jo Ann Harris, John Schuck, James Almanzar, Ruth Roman, William Erwin, Charles Fredericks, Pete Kellett, Bill Catching, Gary Combs


    Coreyville: Titus Wylie (actor Bruce Glover) is chained in the middle of the street for a crime he didn’t commit and waits for his trial when her sister Ellie (actress Jo Ann Harris) stops by and helps him. That night, Ellie brings back Matt Dillon during a street trial featuring a drunk judge and two lawmen named Amos Blake (actor John Schuck) and Rankin (actor James Almanzar) on the payroll of a wealthy and authoritarian woman named Agatha Corey (actress Nina Foch). Dillon re-shuffles the cards and takes care of the prisoner for a fair trial to come. Dillon locks up Titus in a cheap hotel while investigating the townspeople and starting with old saloon owner Flo Watson (actress Ruth Roman). Billy Joe (actor Kevin Coughlin), the young and simple-minded son of Agatha Corey, threatens Dillon with a handgun and is hurt. Later on, Dillon is lynched by the townspeople when a third person steps into the mystery …

    It’s an interesting solo Dillon adventure, a mature woman/Film Noir drama and a weird trial episode in a corrupted town controlled by a wealthy family that is served by a good guest cast: the male ones (Bruce Glover, John Schuck) and the female ones (Nina Foch, Jo Ann Harris, Ruth Roman). The saloon at Coreyville is actually a re-decorated Dodge House. Notice the oddball music score by Johnny Parker with its gong distortions and pop accent. The Corey family consists of: Agatha (actress Nina Foch), Billy Joe (actor Kevin Coughlin) and Frank (actor Thomas Hunter).

    Actor Kevin Coughlin returns from the season 14 “The Mark of Cain” and James Almanzar from the season 13 “The First People”.
     
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  9. JustARandomStan

    JustARandomStan Stunt Coordinator

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  10. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    GUNSMOKE SEASON 15

    Episode #4
    “Danny”
    written by Preston Wood
    directed by Bernard McEveety
    music by Johnny Parker
    guests: Jack Albertson, Vito Scotti, Frank Marth, Rayford Barnes, Kelton Garwood, Scott Brady, Tom Brown, Steve Raines


    On a stagecoach, an old con man named Danny Wilson (actor Jack Albertson) steals the wallet of a fellow passenger named Carl Dahlman (actor Rayford Barnes) and finds two odd pieces of a $1000 bill and gets caught by his partner Ed Wickes (actor Frank Marth) and therefore he is ordered to remove his shoes and is kicked out of the car on the spot. Arriving at Dodge City, Danny meets an old acquaintance: Miss Kitty who helps him with a pair of new shoes and a drink when he suffers from a vicious heart attack, Doc treats him and they conclude he has only two weeks to live. The morning after, Miss Kitty gives Danny a present ($100) and he later negociates with undertaker Percy Crumble (actor Kelton Garwood) to get a fancy funeral. The second night, Danny meets an old con man named Indianna (actor Vito Scotti) and have a drink together when Danny sees the two men he used to steal heading to their hotel. Danny follows them, breaks in their bedroom and finds out they’re hitmen paid to eliminate Matt Dillon with a shotgun. Danny informs Dillon and they are picked up. Danny also discovers the big shot who hires the mechanics: hotel owner Mr. Heenan (actor Scott Brady) and succeeds in negociating the hit and, above all, his final con. Danny celebrates his victory and triggers two parties: at the Long Branch and at Heenan’s hotel.

    It’s an interesting crazy small-time crook entry with an eccentric macaber tapestry because the title character celebrates his own death. The hotel of Mr. Heenan is a re-decorated Dodge House.

    Actors Tom Brown (“Mannon”, “The Prisoner”), Kelton Garwood (“Lyle’s Kid”), Frank Marth (“9:12 to Dodge”), Rawhide supporting actor Steve Raines (“The Hide Cutters”, “Uncle Finney”, “O’Quillian”, “The Twisted Heritage”) all return from season 14.
    Actor Vito Scotti returns from the season 13 “The Pillagers”.
    Actor Rayford Barnes returns from the season 10 “Old Man.
     
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  11. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    ¶ At this very moment, I have season 17, 18, 19 of Gunsmoke on my wish list at Amazon.​
     
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  12. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Cinematographer

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    I've been behind, so I'm going to be one of those people and wait until the big all in one set of 16-20 is out, likely next year.

    Because even CBS wouldn't be cruel enough to leave us hanging and forget about 20.
     
  13. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    My Gunsmoke seasons 16 and 17 sets shipped this evening from Amazon Canada. I should have them in hand on release day, next Tuesday. I'm glad that CBS is expediting the DVD release of the rest of this immortal series, but dropping two seasons for release on the same day just before Christmas must make it harder for some dedicated collectors like us to buy them as fast as me might like...let alone to enjoy watching them in a timely manner...still, good to know that seasons 18 and 19 have scheduled release dates! Like Robert, John and everyone else, I can't imagine season 20 not getting a release also in 2020...
     
  14. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    ¶ Season 20 of Gunsmoke is the only season without Miss Kitty.​
     
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  15. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    Nice one-- season 20 in 2020 (three 20s in a row)!
     
  16. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    ¶ Next on Gunsmoke season 15, the reviews of the second disc and starting on Monday!
    ¶ Load your guns and be ready!
    ¶​


    gunsmoke15_dvd2.
     
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  17. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    GUNSMOKE SEASON 15

    Episode #5
    “Hawk”
    written by Kay Lenard and Jess Carneol
    directed by Gunnar Hellström
    music by Luchi De Jesus
    guests: Louise Latham, Brendon Boone, Hilarie Thompson, Michael-James Wixted, Robert Brubaker, X Brands, Bill Hart, Hal Needham, Glenn Randall Jr.


    Apache policeman Sergeant Hawk (actor Brendon Boone) meets a kid named Amos (actor Michael-James Wixted) fishing near a pond when his sister Rachel (actress Hilarie Thompson) calls him. Hawk observes the family of the kid leaving except the wife named Phoebe Clifford (actress Louise Latham) that he joins and introduces himself when she locks herself up in the house. Hawk stops at Dodge City where he meets Festus and Matt Dillon and lets them know he needs an assistant to track Apache renegades. That night, Phoebe Clifford heads to the Dodge House and Festus keeps an eye on her because of Dave Clifford’s recommendations. Phoebe goes to the bedroom of Hawk where we learn that she used to raise him as a son. Festus tries to tell his friends about Phoebe. The morning after, Hawk and Festus track the Apache criminals down but Hawk gets bushwacked and wounded. Festus brings back the Sergeant to the house of the Clifford’s but, unfortunately, the criminals follow Hawk and a fight occurs …

    It’s a torn-inside family drama with a mother facing a shocking moral dilemma. Notice the ambush scene of Sergeant Hawk. The relationship between the kid and Hawk reminds Shane (1953).

    Among other things, composer Luchi De Jesus is known for his involvement at Universal television in the seventies: see his various maverick inputs on Banacek, McMillan & Wife, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman.

    Actress Louise Latham (“Waco”, “The Mark of Cain”) and Robert Brubaker (“The Long Night”) both return from season 14.


    End credits for composer Luchi de Jesus.
    d2_jesus.
     
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  18. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    That's the first time I've ever seen a menu screen from a Gunsmoke release-- nice one!
     
  19. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    GUNSMOKE SEASON 15

    Episode #6
    “A Man Called ‘Smith’”
    written by Calvin Clements, Sr.
    directed by Vincent McEveety
    music by Leon Klatzkin
    guests: Jacqueline Scott, Val Avery, Susan Olsen, Mike Durkin, Earl Holliman, Roy Roberts, Sid Haig, William Fawcett, Margarita Cordova


    A rough rider named Will Smith (actor Earl Holliman) stops at the farm of Abelia Johnson (actress Jacqueline Scott) and introduces himself to the two kids and asks for a refreshment. We learn that he is the father of the two kids. When the family leaves to Dodge City for the fair, Smith empties his saddle bag and we discover $10,000 in stolen gold coins. Returning home, Abelia is obliged to do a financial errand at the Bull’s Head saloon for her husband so that he leaves forever. At night, Abelia trades $500 gold coins against $200 in cash to Bull Anders (actor Val Avery) and bumps into Festus who wonders. Dillon investigates the stolen gold shipment because of the banker and informs Festus about it. The morning after, Abelia concludes her transaction but Anders forces her to sell more gold. That night, she tells her husband about it. Later in a shack, Anders faces Smith and it ends up with a blood bath: wounded Smith and dead Anders. Smith manages to survive and heads for home to encounter his fate …

    It’s the sequel to the previous season 14 “Abelia” (also written by executive story consultant Calvin Clements) and it’s a good family drama in which the character of Abelia faces two men: her long gone husband and Festus, the idol of the children. Notice the performance of actor Earl Holliman and Dodge City’s sleazy heavies played by Val Avery and Sid Haig. Will Smith calls her wife “Bee”. It’s fair ground time at Dodge City. After “Hawk”, this is the second drama centered around a woman with a troubled past.

    Actor Sid Haig (“Time of the Jackals”) and actress Jacqueline Scott (“Abelia”) both return from the season 14.
    Actor Val Avery returns from the season 12 “The Lure”.
     
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  20. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    I received my Gunsmoke seasons 16 and 17 yesterday. I spot checked episodes in both sets and for those that feared that CBS might cut corners with the seasons going forward, what with the lower pricing and accelerated release schedule...fear not! All episodes continue to be beautifully remastered from 35 mm vault elements. 24 episodes on 6 discs, the usual unrestored previews, 7 chapter stops on each episode, English subtitles for those that need them.

    There is a surprise bonus feature on both season sets that wasn't advertised...an on camera season 16 and 17 appreciation and preview with clips (no spoilers) from the episodes themselves by Gunsmoke aficionados Ben Costello (author of Gunsmoke, an American Institution) and Becky Burgoyne (author of Amanda Blake's biography) I watched the "Ben and Becky talk Gunsmoke season 16" (14:06) bonus feature and it is indeed a worthwhile effort. I would recommend watching it as an informative introduction to the season...based on this, I would assume their video talk session for the season 17 episodes to be as good, although I haven't watched it yet.

    Strangely, CBS transposed the first 2 episodes out of broadcast order on disc one of S16..they have The Noose (Sept, 21, 1970) first up...it was actually Chato (Sept. 14, 1970) that was that season's premiere episode...one of the best performances that Ricardo Montalban ever put on film...a superb achievement, a uniformly great cast, terrific action and a very compelling story...great music composed specifically for this episode, and performed by John Parker...he provided so many superb original scores in the course of this season...Chato was previously released in 2005 on the Gunsmoke 50th anniversary compilation set in an unrestored state...fuzzy, faded color...terrible looking...the new remastered version really makes this Taos New Mexico filmed episode look stunning, as it deserves to be...my screen caps from the new set...

    William Bryant is only seen in the first 3 minutes or so, but his desperate and noble death is so memorable...
    Chato 2.JPG
    Chato 4.JPG
    Chato 6.JPG
    Chato 7.JPG
    Chato 9.JPG

    Peggy McCay as Bryant's grief ridden widow...her world is destroyed...she tells Matt: "New Mexico has never been kind to us..." In one single scene she is so touching and heartbreaking...
    Chato 10.JPG
    Chato 11.JPG
    Chato 13.JPG
    Chato 14.JPG

    Ricardo Montalban in one of his best roles ever...he's terrific in this great episode...one of his personal favorites from his long career...and one of James Arness' top ten in his own estimation...apparently, the two actors formed a long lasting and close friendship as a result of their work here together...
    Chato 16.JPG

    Miriam Colon as Chato's woman...Matt has her, and hopes to trap Chato by using her as bait...
    Chato 17.JPG
    Chato 18.JPG
    Chato 19.JPG

    I'll say no more, as John Hopper will likely review this great episode in the near future...
    Chato 20.JPG
    Chato 21.JPG
    Chato 22.JPG
    Chato 23.JPG
    Chato 24.JPG
    Chato 25.JPG
    Chato 27.JPG

    You know, I think season 16 starts out with at least 11 solid and powerful episodes in a row...a lot of Gunsmoke fans consider it to be one of the best...America seemed to agree as Gunsmoke was #5 in the Nielsen ratings that year...season 17 is superb also, with many great and powerful episodes, and finished even higher at # 4 in the ratings...even after these many years, Gunsmoke was going from strength to strength...
     

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