‘Gunsmoke’ had a long and amazing runtime of 20 years

Gunsmoke is an American Western television drama based on the earlier radio show. The series was created by director Norman MacDonnell and writer John Meston and first premiered on September 10, 1955.

Gunsmoke began as a radio show that ran for nine years, from 1952 until 1961. Not long after the radio show started, talks about adapting it for television had already begun.

The network was not interested in bringing the radio cast over to television. Thus all primary roles were recast.

The show is centered on Dodge city in the 1870s, during the settlement of the American West. The central character is a Lawman, Marshall Matt Dillon, played by James Arness.

Marshal Matt Dillion is in charge of Dodge City, a town in the wild west where people have no respect for the law. He deals with cattle rustling, gunfights, brawls, standover tactics, and land fraud, all in a day’s work for the gunslinger.

The rest of the main cast included Dennis Weaver as Chester Goode, Milburn Stone as DR. G Adams, and Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty Russel.

James Arness and Milburn Stone portrayed their characters for over 20 consecutive years, with Kitty Russel being a part of the show for 19 years.

George Walsh, the announcer for Gunsmoke, was another long-time servant to Gunsmoke, who was originally on the 1952 radio show and continued until 1975.

The series ran for twenty years and amassed 635 episodes. The show is often considered one of the best Western dramas ever created.

When the show came to a close in 1975, Los Angeles Times wrote, “Gunsmoke was the dramatization of the American epic legend of the west. Our own Iliad and Odyssey were created from standard elements of the dime novel. It was ever the stuff of legend.”

CBS decided not to renew Gunsmoke for a 21st season without informing the main cast or producers. In turn, everyone was stunned at the decision and felt the show at least deserved a proper ending.

Gunsmoke television series was the longest-running, live-action series until 2019 when Law & Order: Special Victims Unit beat Gunsmokes twenty-season mark.

In 2017, he still held the record for the highest amount of scripted episodes for any U.S primetime series. The Simpsons would eventually pass the show for most scripted episodes.

It currently ranks fourth in history’s longest-running prime time shows, falling behind Doctor Who, Taggart, and The Bill.

The show won multiple awards during its long span. On April 17, 1993, it was TV Guide’s all-time best Western series. Entertainment Weekly ranked Gunsmoke as number 16 in their 100 Greatest TV Shows of all time.

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\'Gunsmoke\' had a long and amazing runtime of 20 years