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Wanted: GUNSMOKE (CBS/1955-1975)

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

  1. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    The scenery looks stunning. Thanks for this info and anticipation.
     
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  2. Message #342 of 440 Dec 10, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
    ClassicTVMan1981X

    ClassicTVMan1981X Screenwriter

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    Does the two-part "Snow Train" episode have the bastardized end credits? In particular, part 1 that I saw on Me-TV (where the end title music doesn't get a chance to finish out when we see the CBS Television Network logo)?

    ~Ben
     
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  3. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    GUNSMOKE SEASON 15

    Episode #7
    “Charlie Noon”
    written by Jim Byrnes
    directed by Vincent McEveety
    music by Johnny Parker
    guests: James Best, Miriam Colon, Ron Howard, Edmund Hashim, Kipp Whitman


    Matt Dillon and his prisoner Charlie Noon (actor James Best) cross the wilderness and stop at a farm burnt by the Comanches and discover two survivors hidden in the basement: a Comanche mother with her son Jamie Barker (actor Ron Howard). The Comanches resume to the farm while Dillon and his people run away. The Comanches led by Lone Wolf (actor Edmund Hashim) track the group down to get the mother and hit prisoner Charlie Noon in the process. Unfortunately, the group is out of water and cornered …

    It’s a solo Dillon adventure, a Comanche drama and a slow-moving introspective survival entry. We learn from the mother two things: the farm was burnt on purpose by the Mexican father, Jamie Parker was the son of an American citizen. The story highlights the ethnic differences. The sacrificial finale is well-composed. Restoration-wise, one very brief shot of Charlie Noon is filled with scratches from 27:59 to 28:01. The night scenes are day for night. The script is written by assistant story consultant Jim Byrnes. Teen actor Ron Howard will blossom into a notorious director but, before that, he was known for two parts: Steve in American Graffiti and therefore Richie Cunningham in Happy Days. Notice the weird and distorted score by Johnny Parker.

    Actor James Best returns from the season 9 “The Glory and the Mud”.
    Actress Miriam Colon (“Zavala”) and actors Edmund Hashim (“Time of the Jackals”) and Kipp Whitman (“Time of the Jackals”) return from season 14.
     
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  4. Message #344 of 440 Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Wonderful preview of Season 16, Randall! Thanks for the great screencaps...between you and John, I'm feeling strongly swayed to grab some of these later seasons. This "Chato" episode sounds great. I've been a little wary of the later seasons, as from what I've read, it mostly becomes an ensemble show, with Matt Dillon only featuring in a third or so of them as the main lead character...but with the usual guest casts that regularly featured in this show, I'm sure I'd be in good, solid hands for most episodes.

    If I was to get just one of these later seasons to start with, which would you fellows recommend? Maybe Season 16?
     
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  5. GMBurns

    GMBurns Second Unit

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    The first six seasons of Gunsmoke had James Arness front and center most of the time. Those half hour episodes are taut and compelling and I think the very best years of the show, and one of the best dramas, western or otherwise. It became more of an anthology when it went to an hour in length, but it was still the best ensemble western going. So you can't go wrong with any season. I have been alternating between the half hour episodes and the hour long epsiodes, so I haven't gotten to the "color" years, but man do they look good, and I am so glad that CBS is cranking them out.
     
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  6. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    I won't deal with the early days of the series but when the new production team takes over,
    I must confess I worship season 11 and 13.
    Incidentally, I tried to watch season 1 and I had to stop because I found the writing not engaging and rather generic.
    I am not mad about the mid-fifties. I'm the product of sixties television.
    Anyway and in my view, the exciting shows started from the late fifties: see Lawman, The Untouchables and The Twilight Zone
    as a reference.
     
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  7. Message #347 of 440 Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Thanks, John! I have the first 4 seasons, and tend to prefer those tighter, early 30-minute episodes...but I'm curious about the best of the later, color seasons.
     
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  8. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    I went into this series pretty much blind. I vaguely remembered watching a handful of episodes with my Dad years ago, but didn't retain much from them. I'm currently about half way thru Season 15 and I must say that I've enjoyed all the seasons so far.
     
  9. Message #349 of 440 Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    According to what I've read, season 16's premiere episode Chato was one of James Arness' favorite episodes, perhaps partly because of it's great script (but there were countless great scripts in the course of this monumental series), the exhilarating location filming in the Taos New Mexico locales (for the first time in this long running series), and the resulting long lived and close friendship that Arness developed with Ricardo Montalban, something that both men valued highly in subsequent years.
    Chato 9.JPG
    Chato 16.JPG
    Chato 19.JPG
    Chato 20.JPG
    Chato 13.JPG
    Chato 25.JPG
    Chato 22.JPG


    There are a growing number of ensemble episodes in S16, most still with substantial Arness screen time...featuring meaty showcase episodes for Tom Skerritt, Richard Kiley with Suzanne Pleshette, Vera Miles in a touching story featuring a standout performance by "Doc" Milburn Stone, John Payne (Restless Gun) with Louise Latham, Morgan Woodward, an important civil rights episode for African American performers with Yaphet Kotto and a Cicely Tyson, Harry Morgan (Mash), Anthony Zerbe, Forrest Tucker with Albert Salmi, Steve Ihnat, Richard Baseheart with Salome Jens, John Anderson, Eric Braeden with Julie Gregg, Jack Elam, Robert Totten, David Carradine and Jeanette Nolan in her two part launch of "Dirty Sally"...there are showcase episodes for Kitty, Amanda Blake, Newly, Buck Taylor, Festus, Ken Curtis and Doc in some of their strongest individual performances...their is also the two part epic Snow Train, filmed in the Black Hills near Custer S.D., featuring Matt in a great action sequence, despite his war wounds and ongoing aches and pains, as James Arness has a pursuit on foot through the snow bound woods with the Sioux, including X Brands from Yancy Derringer chasing him...a great cast in this two parter, Clifton James, Gene Evans, Ken Lynch, Loretta Swit, Tim Considine, Dana Elcar and Ron Hayes among others...

    The virtues of season 17 are equally great, full details would take another post...but that season has the superb two parter Waste, filmed at scenic Kanab Utah (same locales as Branded, including Jason McCord's fort), and starring Ruth Roman, Jeremy Slate and Ellen Burstyn in a break out role for the young actress, just before her first Oscar nom for The Last Picture Show, and 2 years before her Oscar win for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore...and season 17 also has the 3 part saga The Bullet, with Matt, Kitty, Doc, Festus and Newly on another train journey under siege...filmed on the antique Silverton Colorado train, and featuring Eric Braeden again, Alexandro Ray, Katharine Justice and many, many more western stars including Harry Carey jr and Robert Hogan...

    Milburn Stone had a heart attack in March 1971, with subsequent bypass surgery, and missed 6 episodes in season 17...Pat Hingle replaced him for those episodes, and was expected to do another 6 at least...but ol' Milburn Stone proved to be a tough cookie and returned sooner than expected...

    As Glenn said, you really can't go wrong with any of the Gunsmoke seasons thus far released...but the lower pricing of the new S16 and S17 releases, at about half the cost of the recently released S15, with no drop in overall technical or artistic quality, makes these new releases much more attractive from the pricing perspective at least...I can't really prioritize either season as a recommendation to you Jeff...

    John, there does seem to be two camps of Gunsmoke fans... one group who prefer the first six seasons over seasons 7 to 19...and the contrarians who feel the exact opposite...I like the whole run, even though I haven't seen season 20 since first run, but I do remember the show fading enough to finally give CBS their final reason to end the series...although it wasn't until season 19 that Gunsmoke finally fell out of the top ten at #15...the final season saw the show at #28...so this series had strong Nielsens until the end...

    Ben, I checked the end credit sequence for both parts of Snow Train, and I can tell you that the end credits are not truncated at all, they are complete to beyond the CBS studio city card on the blue field with the theme music completing itself in it's totality. There is a slight technical anomaly with part one (that does not affect playability), where between chapters 4 and 5, and just after an obvious layer transition. there is a slight rhythmic brightness pulsation that I noticed...that anomaly, which lasts about 2 minutes, doesn't otherwise affect the rest of the picture or playability, but is noticeable...
     
  10. Message #350 of 440 Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
    Flashgear

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    Some more screen caps I took from Gunsmoke season 16, episode 2, The Noose, as with Chato, directed by Vincent McEveety, and guest starring Tom Skerritt in one of his best roles. He's seeking vengeance on Matt, Kitty, Festus and Doc for a long ago hanging of his father...and he takes all of them hostage in an abandoned jail cell, while threatening to hang them all...there is a never before heard revelation concerning the history of Dodge itself in this episode...
    Gunsmoke 12.JPG
    Gunsmoke 1.JPG
    Gunsmoke 2.JPG
    Gunsmoke 3.JPG
    Gunsmoke 5.JPG
    Gunsmoke 6.JPG

    Chato 29.JPG

    Gunsmoke 7.JPG
    Gunsmoke 9.JPG
    Gunsmoke 10.JPG
    Gunsmoke 11.JPG
     
  11. Message #351 of 440 Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the detailed info on season 16 and 17, Randall...and those screengrabs from "The Noose" certainly look dramatic!

    Thanks to Glenn and Paul for their thoughts, as well. Put the S16 set at the top of my Amazon wishlist.
     
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  12. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    GUNSMOKE SEASON 15

    Episode #8
    “The Still”
    written by Calvin Clements, Sr.
    directed by Gunnar Hellström
    music by Leon Klatzkin
    guests: Lane Bradbury, Anthony James, Shug Fisher, James Westerfield, J. Edward McKinley, Trent Lehman


    School teacher Merry Florene (actress Lane Bradbury) takes care of her pupils and asks them to read the life of president Thomas Jefferson when a wagon stops nearby. She meets two relatives—her uncle Titus (actor Shug Fisher) and her brother Elbert Moses (actor Anthony James)—on their way to produce moonshine whiskey in the cellar by building a still for the Bull’s Head saloon. The two ruffians arrive in Dodge City and Festus questions them and they answer that they are on their way to celebrate the birthday of Thomas Jefferson. The two rough necks head to the Bull’s Head saloon to ask an advance of $50 to Mr. Franks (actor James Westerfield) who refuses cold. Merry Florene goes see Newly at his gunsmith shop and asks him to participate at a Sunday’s picnic. Titus and Moses need $50 to start their business and decide to rob a bull and creates a sham in order to get a reward from the freight office. As usual, the two crooks are caught and fired …

    It’s the sequel to the previous season 14 “Goldtown” (also written by executive story consultant Calvin Clements) but without the character of cousin Smiley and another silly light one. This is the last episode with the season 13 hill people named Merry Florene and Elbert Moses.

    Actress Lane Bradbury (“Goldtown”), actor Shug Fisher (“Johnny Cross”), Anthony James (“Uncle Finney”, “O’Quillan”, “Goldtown”) return from season 14.
    Actor James Westerfield returns from the season 8 (“Anybody Can Kill a Marshal”).
    Actor J. Edward McKinley returns from the season 7 (“The Widow”).
     
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  13. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    Interesting thing about this one-- most of the players were Southerners!
     
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  14. Likecats

    Likecats Stunt Coordinator

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    Could you do screen grabs from."P.S. Murray Christmas"?
     
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  15. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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

    gunsmoke15_dvd3.
     
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  16. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    John, just want to let you know how much I'm enjoying your reviews! You are just about caught up to where I'm at in Season 15. Monday night is my Gunsmoke night, and this Monday I'm slated to watch Ring Of Darkness. So, when you get ahead of me, I'm going to have to put off reading the reviews until I watch that episode!
     
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  17. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    ¶ Thank you for your kind support, Paul.
    ¶ I publish reviews on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
    ¶ So don't worry, “Ring of Darkness” is planned for Thursday 19.​


    The guests from “Ring of Darkness”.
    ring1. ring2.
     
  18. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    GUNSMOKE SEASON 15

    Episode #9
    “A Matter of Honor”
    written by Joy Dexter
    directed by Robert Totten
    music by Harry Geller
    guests: John Anderson, Katherine Justice, Tom Simcox, Dan Ferrone, Richard Bakalyan, Walter Sande, Jack Bailey, Lawrence Mann, Bob Burrows


    People prepare the barn party at Dodge City when one man named Billy Holland (actor Richard Bakalyan) is attracted by Lydia Fletcher (actress Katherine Justice) but her two brothers CV (actor Tom Simcox) and Otis (actor Dan Ferrone) don’t like it and fail to beat up Billy when Doc pops up. Billy antagonizes them with his knife. That night at the party, Billy dances with Lydia and offers her a drink when her father takes her back home. CV and Otis Fletcher closely watch the activities of Billy who plays cards at the Long Branch and trades the watch of Louie against a bottle of whiskey. Bitter Louie heads to the barn to drink alone. After winning at the poker game, Billy goes straight to the barn to get his saddle when the Fletcher brothers surface and ambush him. A fight occurs, Billy is hurt by his own knife when Louie witnesses the deed and gets his watch back. Festus burst into the barn, sees Billy who weakly accuses Louie and dies. Louie ends up behind bars and doesn’t remember anything. Dillon investigates the case …

    It’s a decent Film Noir/whodunit/trial entry about a man (wino Louie) falsely-accused of murder and a tense and rough farmer family drama and directed by actor Robert Totten. At the barn party, Festus sings and four people play instruments including barkeep Sam at the fiddle. Matt Dillon wears his light grey tweed jacket at the party. For the anecdote, actor Tom Simcox ceases to play the self-conscious character from the previous seasons.

    Actors John Anderson (“Mail Drop”) and Jack Bailey (“Noose of Gold”) and Richard Bakalyan (“The Hanging”) return from season 12, Tom Simcox from the season 13 “A Hat”, Dan Ferrone from the season 14 “The Good Samaritans”, Walter Sande from this season 15 “Stryker”.


    End Credits for composer Harry Geller.
    d3_geller.
     
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  19. ClassicTVMan1981X

    ClassicTVMan1981X Screenwriter

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    Thank you... so regarding "Snow Train (Part 1)," they must have only done that for TV, then, I believe, for time reasons.

    ~Ben
     
  20. GMBurns

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    If you've been thinking about Gunsmoke but haven't pulled the trigger yet, Amazon has a "Limited Time Deal" on the two volumes of season 15 as well as seasons 16 and 17. It comes to about $8 off for each of those four sets.
     
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