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Museum Pieces

Second Unit
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Aug 20, 2020
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360
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Skylar
Trust me, Skylar, when I say that several of us cowpokes are reading along and greatly enjoying your reviews. I can't offer too much comment as, while I own the first four seasons, I've only watched a handful of episodes from them. Keep up the good work! (You're definitely earning your $8 a month ;) )
It will be interesting to see how far I can go before missing a day. :cool:

Warning: spoilers ahead for the episode. It was so brilliant I can't help it.

204 “The Round Up” – Saloon owners want Matt gone for a big cattle drive coming through.

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Matt does everything he can to keep order in Dodge.

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In the coming fight, Matt’s fast. He takes out five and only has one bullet left.

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Turns out one of the five he took out was his old friend who had come to Dodge to help him. Fast draw, fast killing.

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Matt never notches his gun. But at the end of this episode, he does, and it put a lump in my throat.

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I’ve now seen 44 out of 635 episodes, and so far, this one is my hands-down favorite.

When this show is on, it’s about as good a western as I’ve ever seen on TV.
 

Museum Pieces

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Skylar
205 “Young Man With A Gun” - Matt kills a gunfighter wanting to make his bones by gunning down the famous marshal of Dodge City. Not long after, a young kid appears wanting to know where he can buy a gun.

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He's never even touched one before but he aims to buy one, learn to use it, and kill Matt to avenge his older brother.

PATE: Everybody carries a gun.

MATT: Yeah, and most people would be a whole lot better off if they didn’t.

205c.JPG


Once again, social commentary that for me speaks to today as powerfully as it did more than six decades ago.
 

Museum Pieces

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Skylar
206 “Indian White” – I’m not sure why most of the episodes with “Indians” are less enjoyable to me. I like to believe if the script is good I don’t hold it against the filmmakers when they cast Whites as Native Americans.

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Such casting is proper to do here, and this one still didn’t work for me. It’s not a bad episode. Measured against some other westerns this could be considered pretty good; in my opinion, measured against the preceding episodes of Gunsmoke, it doesn’t cut the muster.

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As usual, the episode is saved for me by the everyday interactions of Chester, Doc and Matt, sitting, whittling, fiddling, talking. It, at times, reminds me a bit of Mayberry. Or, I should say, properly, that Mayberry reminds me of this.
 

Museum Pieces

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Skylar
207 “How To Cure A Friend” – One thing I love about Matt is telling Chester he can’t take the day off but tells him it’s okay to go fishing, and Chester doesn’t want to go alone, so Matt recommends Doc go with him. matt would be a good boss to work for.

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As for the episode, crooked gamblers come to Dodge wanting to run a game and pay Dillon to look the other way. We he refuses they hire a paid killer to take him out. Except he’s an old friend of Matt’s. Nice episode. Another one that didn’t end like I expected. I always appreciate that.

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My favorite part of the episode is when Kitty offers Matt a job as a bartender at The Long Branch, away from all the stress, pressure and death. They share a wistful smile at what might have been.

207a.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

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Skylar
And Pat Conway, moonlighting away from his own very good western series, Tombstone Territory!
I have never seen that show. Something to add to my list. Thank you.

208 “Legal Revenge” – This is a nice creepy episode. It’s shot with tension; the performances are filled with tension, and I didn’t figure it out in advance. Alfred Hitchcock could have directed this one.

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Also some great humor with Chester when he introduces Dodge to Limburger Cheese.

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And is still eating it out on the trail later with Matt. The craftsmanship in this episode was enjoyable to watch.

208.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

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209 “The Mistake” – It’s not like I’m spoiling anything given the title of the episode and what Matt says in the prologue on Boot Hill. Matt makes a mistake. A big one. And he owns it. The best line in the episode comes from Doc: “Any man can make a mistake, but it’s a rare man who doesn’t try to weasel out of it when he does.”

209.JPG


I love when they play the strains of the anti-hero.
 

Museum Pieces

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210 “Greater Love” – Doc is ready to leave Dodge, fed up with working all hours, traveling to people’s homes, rarely getting paid his full fee, in some cases getting paid nothing. Then the stage is held up and Doc must ride with Chester and Matt on the trail of the outlaws who were injured in the hold up.

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Great scene at the end where Matt and Doc put their lives on the line for each other. I won’t say more and spoil it, but I sure enjoy the episodes where our heroes stand up for each other, even at the risk of their own lives.

210c.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

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211 “No Indians”

“We’re gonna ambush ‘em,” Dillon says.

"Ambush?” Chester can’t believe what he’s hearing.

"If I have to answer to the law, that’s okay," Matt says, grim faced. "Right now I want six men dead."

They conceal themselves and prepare to shoot six unsuspecting White men. When the men appear, Matt and Chester open fire.

Bodies fall.

211.JPG


This is an outstanding episode of Gunsmoke. Definitely on my “best of” list. It’s hard to imagine another season two episode better than this.
 

Museum Pieces

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212 “Spring Term” Doc calls Matt by the name Matthew in this episode, I believe for the first time.

Harry Townes was so young in this I didn’t recognize him at first. He was about ten years older when I first saw him in Star Trek.

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Gunsmoke is fun for a lot of reasons. I’ve said before one of the reasons is seeing character actors I’ve always enjoyed looking younger than ever. Another is the unpredictable plots. I’m also enjoying hearing cuts from the CBS library that I’ve always associated with The Twilight Zone and The Fugitive. Both still years in the future.
 

Museum Pieces

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213 “Poor Pearl” A love struck farmer (Denver Pyle) comes to Dodge to marry a girl at the Long Branch. A former dealer there has other ideas. Despite a script by Sam Peckinpah, this one was a real downer to me. I appreciate that every story shouldn’t have a happy ending, but this episode just didn’t work for me.

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My favorite part of the episode is the opening scene when Doc and Chester are sitting on the street. Doc is chewing on a toothpick and Chester is trying to scratch his back on a hitching post because he’s been too long without a bath. I love scenes and details like this because they go a long way toward making me feel like the people and town are real.

213a.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

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Skylar
214 “Cholera” – Conflict between the men who tamed the frontier and the men who later came to homestead the land highlights this tense episode. Things don’t get any better when cholera is brought to bear as a weapon between them. I had no idea how this episode would come out, and even though this one ended as a downer, it rang true.

214a.JPG


Paul Fix is a particularly effective heavy in this one.

214b.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

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215 “Puckett’s New Year” Three nights twenty below outside of Dodge leaves an old buffalo hunter for near dead. Doc has to take off part of his foot, leaving him unable to hunt buffalo. So Puckett has to become civilized. I really believed his character.

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It was a fantastic performance by Edgar Stehli.

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In a nice scene between Matt and Kitty, she brings up Sacajawea and Matt says, seriously, “Now there’s a woman.”

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Merry Christmas from Dodge!
 

Museum Pieces

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Skylar
216 “The Cover Up” Kitty is all dolled up and never looking better than the beginning of this episode. If I have a gripe, I wish there were some episodes devoted to Kitty.

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Sod busters encroaching on a big rancher’s spread end up dead. The big rancher appears innocent. This is the first Gunsmoke episode in my current run that I remember figuring out about one-third of the way in. But I still enjoyed it.

216b.JPG
 

jdee28

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You know, you could sort of argue that the first few seasons of Gunsmoke (Seasons 1-3) are the best. The later half hour shows start to feel a little formulaic. The hour black and white shows did break the formula and focused more on the characters, but didn't quite pack the punch of the early 30 minutes shows. And the color shows are almost a different program altogether.
 

ClassicTVMan1981X

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You know, you could sort of argue that the first few seasons of Gunsmoke (Seasons 1-3) are the best. The later half hour shows start to feel a little formulaic. The hour black and white shows did break the formula and focused more on the characters, but didn't quite pack the punch of the early 30 minutes shows. And the color shows are almost a different program altogether.
Right... and that is when we consider that different studios were used to film the different seasons before settling in 1963 at the CBS Radford Studios (aka CBS Studio Center).

Seasons 1-5 (1955-60) were filmed at Filmaster Productions
Seasons 6-8 (1960-63) were filmed at Paramount Studios (season 6 was the last half-hour season); Have Gun - Will Travel also switched from Filmaster to Paramount for its season 4 run.
Season 9 and up (1963-75) were filmed at CBS Radford Studios; Rawhide switched from MGM to CBS Studio Center starting with season 6.

~Ben
 

Museum Pieces

Second Unit
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Skylar
You know, you could sort of argue that the first few seasons of Gunsmoke (Seasons 1-3) are the best.
Realistically my goal is to do the first three seasons for now and create a list of my favorite fifteen or so episodes. That's the minimum I hope to do, at least.

218 – “Kick Me” A bank robbery with no honor among thieves. Watchable enough but I knew who did it all along, and never really felt sure what the jeopardy was or who or what I was supposed to be rooting for other than the robber / killer to be apprehended.

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Some nice cinematography.

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