Gunsmoke Radio Show
Gunsmoke was so popular on the radio that after only 3 1/2 years, a TV series based on the radio show started airing on September 10, 1955. In fact, the radio show and the TV series were on the air simultaneously for nearly six years! William Conrad continued playing Matt Dillon on the radio and a relatively unknown actor named James Arness played the brave crime fighter on TV. Amazingly, the huge success of the Gunsmoke radio show with 480 episodes over nine years was trumped by the Gunsmoke TV show which racked up a whopping 633 episodes over 20 seasons!
The TV version holds the record as the longest airing TV series other than news or talk programs. When combined, the radio show and the TV show totally blow every other brodcast series away!
NOTE: Photo (from left to right) - Howard McNear (Doc), William Conrad (Matt), Georgia Ellis (Kitty), and Parley Baer (Chester)
First Episode: April 26, 1952 (Plus 2 earlier audition shows on June 6, 1949 and July 13, 1949)
Last Episode: June 18, 1961 (Fifteen years later, radio station WAMU-FM in Washington, DC broadcast a five hour special titled, "The Story of Gunsmoke" which was written by Jim Hickman and Norman MacDonnell! Of course, that broadcast is not considered to be a part of this series)
Number of Episodes: Approximately 482 regular broadcasts. There are additional recordings which include east coast versions, out-takes, and bloopers.
Network: CBS Radio Network
Cast Members: William Conrad (Marshall Matt Dillon), Parley Baer (Chester Wesley Proudfoot), Georgia Ellis (Kitty Russell), Howard McNear (Charles "Doc" Adams), Harry Bartell, Jeanne Bates, Richard Beals, Virginia Christian, Richard Crenna, John Dehner, Lawrence Dobkin, Sam Edwards, Virginia Gregg, Joseph Kearns, Lou Krugman, Ralph Moody, Jeanette Nolan, James Nusser, Vic Perrin, Barney Phillips, and many others
Producer: Norman Macdonnell
Director: Norman Macdonnell
Announcer: George Fenneman, Roy Royan, George Walsh
Sound Effects: Tom Hanley, Bill James, Ray Kemper
Music: Del Castillo, Rax Khoury
Writers: Marian Clark, Les Crutchfield, John Dunkel, Antony Ellis, Kathleen Hite, John Meston, Herb Purdum, and others
Sponsors: Chesterfield Cigarettes, L & M Cigarettes, Ligett & Myers Tobacco, Post Toasties
Typical Episode Length: 30 Minutes
Listen to a Gunsmoke radio show episode by clicking on a link below:
Beeker's Barn - December 23, 1956 - 25 Minutes
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