- Oct 31, 2010
- Real Name
- John Hopper
Well, let’s continue our exploration of Gunsmoke! I come out of The Long Branch and walk down the streets of Dodge City and my next stop is… season 18 and as Matt Dillon used to say to his opponents: “Hold it right there”.
GUNSMOKE • SEASON 18 (1972-1973) (24 episodes • 50 mins • color)
It’s the return of the traditional showdown title sequence—that used to be stopped from season 14—but it is the old footage from season 12 that is placed at the end of the opening credits to introduce actor James Arness who looses his picture medallion credits. As usual, the orchestration of the theme music is renewed. The titles are modified: first the opening credits logo is bolder like the end titles one and the episode title shows up at the start of Act I and its color varies: white, yellow, blue, red, green. This is the season that features a future movie star who only works as a supporting actor: Harrison Ford in “The Sodbusters” and “Whelan’s Men”. For the record, “Quiet Day in Dodge” is actor James Arness’ favorite episode.
Find the usual directors like former Gunsmoke producer Philip Leacock, the McEveety brothers (Bernard and Vincent), Herb Wallerstein and two Wild Wild West artisans: Swedish-born actor Gunnar Hellström and Irving J. Moore. Four newcomers pop-up: Robert Butler, writer Paul F. Edwards, Swedish-born actor Alf Kjellin, producer Arnold Laven from The Rifleman and The Big Valley. Director Robert Totten works as an actor: see “Talbot”.
Judge Brooker returns just once in “Quiet Day in Dodge”. As in the previous season, find again a two-part episode: “The River”. The new character of bank manager Mister Dofeny (actor Charles Macaulay) appears twice: “Milligan” and “Talbot”.
As in the previous season, you find seven composers: newcomers as Academy Winner Elmer Bernstein (see The Magnificent Seven), Bruce Broughton, Jerrold Immel, Martin L. Klein and the usual people as Leon Klatzkin, Johnny Parker, Richard Shores. For the anecdote, composer Martin L. Klein used to work as a music supervisor during the fourth season of The Wild Wild West.
producer: Leonard Katzman
executive producer: John Mantley
associate producer: Ron Honthaner
executive story consultant: Jack Miller
assistant story consultant: Paul F. Edwards
directors of photography: Monroe Askins and William K. Jurgensen
Cinematographer Monroe Askins is replaced once by William K. Jurgensen in “Eleven Dollars”. This is the last season under the visual guidance of Monroe Askins (see his wonderful input on “Patricia”) who started from season 13, meaning working during six seasons.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Regular cast: James Arness (Matt Dillon), Ken Curtis (Festus), Milburn Stone (Doc), Amanda Blake (Kitty), Buck Taylor (Newly).
Supporting cast: Glenn Strange (Bartender/Fiddle player “Sam” Noonan), Ted Jordan (Freight agent “Nathan” Burke), Woodrow Chambliss (Woody Lathrop).
For the anecdote, the character of Nathan Burke has a longer haircut.
As usual, the strength of season 18 is the colorful guest actors that add weight to the story: see John Anderson, Jim Davis, Joseph Campanella, Alex Cord, Richard Dreyfuss, Ike Eisenmann (2), Jack Elam, Gene Evans, Harrison Ford (2), Steve Forrest, Anne Francis, Victor French, Mariette Hartley, Earl Holliman, Richard Kiley, Linda Marsh, Harry Morgan, Tim O’Connor, Susan Oliver, James Olson, Brock Peters, Slim Pickens, Robert Pine, Denver Pyle, Tom Skerritt, William Smith, Paul Stevens, Michael Strong, Don Stroud, William Windom, Morgan Woodward, Anthony Zerbe.
THE DVD SET
The prints are restored and look wonderful. In each episode and at the end of the first set of end credits, a voice-over announcer introduces the next week trailer. It features separated from the episodes and unrestored next week trailers and, also, English subtitles. As in the previous season set, you find a bonus: a 19 minutes discussion called Ben and Beckey Talk Gunsmoke: Season 18 in which the two hosts highlight a selection of season 18 episodes with specific guest actors. New extras are added: an audio commentary for “Quiet Day in Dodge” by actor James Arness and a photo gallery.
The titles are modified: first the opening credits logo is bolder like the end titles one.
Cinematographer Monroe Askins is replaced once by William K. Jurgensen in “Eleven Dollars”.
Find the seven composers credits like The Magnificent Seven.