Marshall Matt Dillon is responsible for keeping the law and respectability in Dodge City in this western action-drama. Gunsmoke captured the courage, character and spirit of the Western Frontier.
||James Arness, Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone, Dennis Weaver|
||Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC|
|Number of Discs:
|DVD Release Date:
||July 17, 2007|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 175 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
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220 of 223 found the following review helpful:
An Essential DVD Purchase!!Apr 27, 2007
By E. Hornaday
I applaud this release of the entire first season of Gunsmoke on DVD, and hope the remainder of the best TV western ever made will also be released.
Gunsmoke, the longest running western in TV history (or TV drama for that matter at 20 years and 635 episodes), is complex and textured, dealing with mature themes and unforgettable characters that became part of our culture. It was billed as the first `adult western.'
I grew up watching the series, which debuted in 1955 as a half-hour black and white show then progressed to an hour in its seventh season, and began being produced in color in 1966.
The original opening depicted the Marshall in a fast-draw gunfight against a villain he killed, but this was toned down years later after groups complained of violence. As a result, rather than seeing the villain fall dead, the camera instead stayed only on Dillon as he drew his `peacemaker.' In the 70's, the opening eliminated the gunfight altogether and depicted Dillon riding quickly across the range. In the 1960's, early episodes of the series were rebroadcast as `Marshall Dillon.'
The much-honored and beloved show went off the air in 1975. Thirty-nine glorious black and white half-hour shows comprise this incredible set.
Few need to be told what his western depicted: It's the story of Marshall Matt Dillon (played to perfection by James Arness) who tamed the lawless Dodge City, Kansas, in 1873. He did so not only with his six-shooter but with his courage, sense of honor, justice and irreproachable integrity behind the badge.
A radio show predated the TV series and aired from 1952 to 1961. The radio Marshall was voiced by William Conrad (who later portrayed the lead role of the portly private investigator `Cannon' in the 1970's.) When CBS decided to produce a TV series, Conrad wanted the role, but wasn't chosen because of his girth. The rumor that western icon John `Duke' Wayne was offered the pivotal role of Dillon, but he turned it down and instead recommended his good friend Arness, has largely been debunked.
In addition to Dillon, the core characters are Miss Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake), owner of the Longbranch Saloon and Matt's long-time love and lover; the crusty but sensitive Doctor Galen Adams (Milburn Stone); and Deputy Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver). Burt Reynolds also had a recurring role as Quint Asper from 1962-1965. Ken Curtis replaced Goode as `Matthew's' Deputy Festus Haggen, who portrayed the loveable deputy who couldn't read from 1959 through the end of the series. Gunsmith then deputy Newly O'Brien (portrayed by Buck Taylor) moved to Dodge City in 1967 and remained until the show went off the air. Pat Hingle portrayed hard-nosed Doctor John Chapman for six episodes in 1971 when Milburn Stone left briefly for health reasons.
Arness and Stone remained through the series entire 20-year run, while Blake brilliantly portrayed the red-headed Kitty for 19 seasons.
Weekly guest stars represented the cream of the acting crop for decades! Here's an example: Bette Davis, Victor French, Morgan Woodward, Jack Elam, Denver Pyle, Jeanette Nolan, Jim Davis, Warren Oates, Jacqueline Scott, George Kennedy, Ed Nelson, Michael Learned, Forrest Tucker, Paul Fix, Slim Pickens, Bruce Dern, Harry Morgan, Steve Forfest, Richard Kiley, Beverly Garland and Leonard Nimoy.
Here are the episodes included in this boxed set: Matt Gets It (Debut); Hot Spell; Word of Honor; Home Surgery; Obie Tater; Night Incident; Smoking Out the Nolans; Kite's Reward; The Hunter; The Queue; General Parcley Smith; Magnus; Reed Survives; Professor Lute Bone; No Handcuffs; Reward for Matt; Robin Hood; Yorky; 20-20; Reunion '78; Helping Hand; Tap Day for Kitty; Indian Scout; The Pest Hole; The Big Board; Hack Prine; Cooter; The Killer; Doc's Revenge; The Preacher; How to Die for Nothing; Dutch George; Prairie Happy; Chester's Mail Order Bride; The Guitar; Cara; Mr. and Mrs. Amber; Unmarked Grave; and Alarm and Pleasant Valley.
74 of 77 found the following review helpful:
Longest Running Episodic American Television Series Finally Makes It To DVD In A Full Season PackageApr 27, 2007
By Terence Allen
After waiting so many years and being teased by three compliation releases, Gunsmoke is finally being released on DVD in a complete season package.
By releasing the first season of the show on DVD, Gunsmoke is finally being accorded the honor due it but first given to many other shows who didn't last as long and/or weren't nearly as good. The show didn't last 20 years without capturing the imaginations of a lot of viewers. Back in 1955, CBS thought viewers were ready to see an adult Western - one that was not created and written for kids, but one that intended to tap into the large audiences that were rushing to theaters to see Gary Cooper, James Stewart, John Wayne, and Henry Fonda on the prairie.
Casting Wayne protege James Arness as Dodge City, Kansas US Marshal Matt Dillon, Gunsmoke set the stage for all of the great television Westerns that came after it, like Bonanza, The Rifleman, Cheyenne, and others. First, the hero or heroes were stalwart, salt-of-the earth types that resonated humanity and virtuosity, like Arness' Dillon (and also set the stage for very tall leading men like Chuck Connors of The Rifleman and Clint Walker's Cheyenne Bodie). Next, stock the show with a spectacular supporting cast - Milburn Stone as Doc, Amanda Blake as Kitty, and Dennis Weaver as deputy Chester Goode. Add a weekly blend of terrific guest stars, throw in superb writing and directing, and the Western television series had its blueprint. And television had one of its best shows of any genre.
55 of 59 found the following review helpful:
With a John Wayne intro; How can you go wrong?Jul 24, 2007
By G. Martin
I'll weigh in with this; Gunsmoke in the first season came from a very adult level. They showed us a West that was rugged, merciless, ruthless, lonely, grimy, dirty, sweaty, and corrupt! Along with varing shades of GRAY! It wasn't all black and white, good vs. bad!!
But on the flip side of that doulbe eagle coin, was justice, compassion, friendship, and hope.
Enjoyable from a nostalgic sense of view or as a first timer to Gunsmoke!
The dvds look great! Clean, clear and sharp black and white tranfers! Enjoy!
27 of 28 found the following review helpful:
At long last!Jul 21, 2007
By Samuel E. Spear
CBS-Paramount has finally released the entire first season of "Gunsmoke" on DVD. Speaking as a long-time fan of the series (particularly the heretofore seldom-seen half hour episodes), I couldn't be more pleased with this set. I unhesitatingly give it five stars and believe that it's a fantastic value for the price. All 39 first-season episodes are here and all 15 that I've viewed so far look exceptionally good, with crystal clear video and audio. The back of the box includes a disclaimer "Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions." However, I have yet to spot any instances of missing material and I believe that CBS-Paramount made a genuine good faith effort to include all surviving footage. All 15 episodes that I've viewed so far "timed out" between 26:10 and 26:30. In addition, fans who already own the previously released DVDs sold by Columbia House will note that footage missing from several episodes on those discs IS included on this set. They will also notice that the original (and correct) "Matt on Boot Hill" introductions have been restored and included with the episodes on this set. The only very minor flaw I've noticed is that some of the episodes are slightly mislabeled on the individual disc menus. "Night Incident" is labeled as "Night Visitor", "Unmarked Grave" is labeled as "Unknown Grave", and "The Big Broad" is labeled as "Big Broad". I would also note that the only "extras" consist of original sponsor spots. However, I personally found the L & M cigarette ads with James Arness and Milburn Stone to be far more fascinating than the interviews or "The Making of" featurettes that are included with most DVDs. Any fan of "Gunsmoke" will be thrilled with this set, and fans who've never seen the half-hour episodes (or those who haven't seen them in a long time), will be especially enthusiastic. If you enjoy "Gunsmoke", treat yourself to this set - you'll be very glad you did!
14 of 15 found the following review helpful:
The "Quiet-Cool" of Matt DillonJul 22, 2007
By John Robinson
James Arness portrayed Marshall Matt Dillon with a "quiet-cool" that has gone unmatched in the history of television. Arness himself had that "quiet-cool" quality in real life as well. When you pick up any show-biz/gossip magazine these days, you see the same old faces in EVERY magazine - they mug, they pose, they appear places just to get their pictures taken, they have "entourages", blah-blah-blah. Not James Arness. He didn't like the Hollywood party scene and only appeared in places he was expected to be. His picture in magazines was a rarity, but when we saw one, it was a real treat! Arness didn't have to pretend or try to be a star.....this man WAS a star, in the truest fashion of the term.
All right, on to this DVD package. There are only a couple of extras, those being original show sponsors. Imagine Marshall Dillon and Doc Adams talking about the great smoke you get with L&M cigarettes! John Wayne himself introduces the premiere GUNSMOKE episode, taking note that Jim Arness is going to be a huge star (he was right).
And get a load of this list of partial guest stars: Aaron Spelling, Barry Atwater (the vampire of "The Night Stalker"), Brett Halsey, Charles Bronson, Chuck Connors, Claude Akins, Dabbs Greer, Dan Blocker, DeForest Kelley, Ed Platt (the Chief on "Get Smart"), Howard McNear (Floyd on "The Andy Griffith Show"), James Drury, John Carradine, John Dehner, Keye Luke, Lola Albright (WOW!), Raymond Bailey (Mr. Drysdale on "The Beverly Hillbillies"), Robert Vaughn, Royal Dano, Sebastian Cabot, Strother Martin and William Hopper! (I wonder if guest star Raymond Bailey remembered his appearance on GUNSMOKE and got the name for "Milburn Drysdale" from Milburn Stone who played Doc? Just a thought.....)
Adding to the great guest line-up are a few episode screenplays written by future film director Sam Peckinpah.
Amanda Blake looks incredible in this season...it's a wonder why Marshall Dillon didn't take her up on her advances...or did he? As the episodes progress, you'll notice how Miss Kitty gradually adds more makeup. She also makes it known (more than once) to Matt that she'd like to be his wife - something that would continue throughout her stay on the show.
In this season, we get no clue as to what Chester is. Is he a deputy? He wears no badge. Is he just a sidekick? Whenever Matt introduces him to someone it's always as plain old "Chester Goode," never as "deputy" or any other title.....so what the heck is he? It's not even revealed what caused the limp in his leg...or is it wooden? Sometimes the leg is so stiff (especially when he's runnin'), it looks like it's supposed to be wood!
Milburn Stone dives right in as Doc Adams, all crusty & blustery right from the get-go.
This first season has the familiar GUNSMOKE theme but with the added "clip-clop" effect that was later dropped.
Bloopers left in include the gravestones at the beginning of most of the episodes; they wobble when the wind blows.....and listen for an airplane flying overhead in the episode "The Hunter." By the way, the opening to almost every show where Matt walks through Boot Hill was so identifiable with the show, it was even parodied in MAD (before it became a magazine, when it was still a comic book).
The last time I saw these first GUNSMOKE shows was when it was syndicated under the title "Marshall Dillon" and the shows were fuzzy. Now, it's like discovering lost episodes! The clarity is so crisp and clean, it's absolutely extraordinary.
The stories are not what you'd expect - Marshall Dillon doesn't always save the victims in time, he doesn't always have the right answer, the wrong people get killed and there are plot twists that you won't see coming - this is NOT one of those predictable 50's TV programs! No wonder this show lasted 20 years! There's even a show about drug addiction - opium, to be exact - that you wouldn't think they would even dare to do in sterile 50's television.....but GUNSMOKE did!
If you're alert, you may catch a few historical innaccuracies, but who really cares? This is extremely enjoyable stuff...so if one of the characters mentions a certain year that doesn't sound correct, just ignore it...IT DOESN'T MATTER...IT'S ONLY A TV SHOW!
I noticed some similarities between GUNSMOKE and "The Andy Griffith Show;" both programs had the wise-but-tough marshall/sheriff and the goofy-but-lovable sidekick/deputy. Even the episode titled "Chester's Mail Order Bride" could've easily been re-written as an Andy Griffith episode. In fact, I think it was! Watch it and see for yourself.....and I wish I had a dollar for every time some bad guy said "this ain't nunna yore bizness marshall," "stay out of this marshall," "you'll be sorry, marshall" or "just try and stop me, marshall!" I'd be rich.
I can't say enough good things about this set. Get it - and enjoy the "quiet-cool" of James Arness: an unmatched, truly great television star.
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