Product Description & Reviews
MARSHALL MATT DILLON IS RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING THE LAW & RESPECTABILITY IN DODGE CITY IN THIS WESTERN ACTION-DRAMA. Gunsmoke: 50th Anniversary Edition Volume 1 is a winning collection of episodes from the long-running CBS Western's first nine seasons, with an accent on special guest stars who had yet to find fame. A few key storylines are in the mix, too, including Gunsmoke's first episode, dated September 10, 1955 and introduced by John Wayne, who more or less suggests that the series' beefy star, James Arness, is cut from the same heroic cloth as the Duke himself. No matter who drops in for a guest spot, however, or whether Gunsmoke was a half-hour or hour-long program (the show doubled its running time by season 8), the running storyline and core characters are as constant as the prairie stars. Arness plays plain-speaking U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon, who keeps the peace over a wide territory from his perch in Dodge City, Kansas, a rough-and-tumble town where prospectors, farmers, bounty hunters, outlaws, and the occasional lunatic pass through. Dennis Weaver lends support as Dillon's deputy, Chester, a courageous clown; Amanda Blake is saloon keeper Kitty; and Milburn Stone plays irascible Doc, apparently Dodge City's only physician. Volume 1 highlights feature a couple of episodes with Charles Bronson, including "The Killer," in which the future Death Wish star portrays a psychopath preying on the weak. Mogul Aaron Spelling, at one time a character actor, appears as a spacey wanderer who nearly gets lynched in "The Guitar." Cloris Leachman is very good as a woman with a diabolical edge in "Legal Revenge," Angie Dickinson is memorable as an Arapaho Indian whose marriage to a white settler incites racial anger, and Jack Lord portrays a pair of brothers who threaten Doc's life. Burt Reynolds, who joined the cast of Gunsmoke as the half-white, half-Comanche character Quint, is introduced in the very effective drama "Quint Asper Comes Home," while Ken Curtis, whose goofy Festus effectively replaced the departing Chester in season 9, enters the series in "Prairie Wolfer." Volume 2 picks up exactly where Volume 1 ends, with the long-running series entering its 10th year, each episode an hour long and Ken Curtis now a permanent member of the cast as the buffoonish Festus. A couple of other actors will come and go as cast regulars, but the core group remains: James Arness as U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon, Amanda Blake as saloon keeper Kitty, and Milburn Stone as Doc. This collection of programs cherry-picks its way through season 19, emphasizing guest stars of note including Leonard Nimoy, excellent as a wry Indian and skinner in "Treasure of John Walking Fox," and William Shatner as a wily outlaw posing as a deputy sheriff in "Quaker Girl." (Arness, who provides a brief, vocal introduction to each episode, notes that Shatner was already starring on Star Trek by the time "Quaker Girl" was broadcast in 1966.) Bette Davis, Bruce Dern, and Tom Skerritt all appear in "The Jailer" (the first color episode in this collection), in which the legendary Davis plays a vengeful widow who kidnaps Kitty in order to lure Matt to his own execution. Ed Asner provides optional commentary for "Hung High," in which he stars, while a young Dennis Hopper turns up as a villain out to kill a bounty hunter (a charismatic John D. Barrymore, father of Drew). Carroll O'Connor is very effective in "The Wrong Man," Jon Voight (in the same year as Midnight Cowboy) makes a splash as a convicted murderer who saves Kitty's life in "The Prisoner," and Kurt Russell is solid and sympathetic as a young man determined to avenge the death of his father in "Trail of Bloodshed." Special features include a couple of gag/blooper reels, a 1968 Emmy Award presentation to Milburn Stone, and a pair of old television interviews with Amanda Blake. --Tom Keogh
Features & Highlights
|Item Weight:||1.3 pounds|
|Item Size:||5.5 x 1.75 x 1.75 inches|
|Package Weight:||1.05 pounds|
|Package Size:||5.5 x 1.8 x 1.8 inches|
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