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HGun Smoke Trivia
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Gina Burrell
Marshal Matt Dillon (then-newcomer James Arness) tries to prevent lawlessness from overtaking Dodge City, Kansas. Helping to keep him grounded are saloon proprietor Miss Kitty Russell and Doc Adams. The television series grew out of the long-running radio serial of the same name, although for a short time they were both on the airwaves.
First episode date: September 10, 1955
Final Episode date: March 31, 1975

Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West. The central character is lawman Marshal Matt Dillon, played by William Conrad on radio and James Arness on television. When aired in the UK, the television series was initially titled Gun Law, later reverting to Gunsmoke.
The radio series ran from 1952 to 1961. John Dunning[3] wrote that among radio drama enthusiasts, "Gunsmoke is routinely placed among the best shows of any kind and anytime." The television series ran for 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975 and stands as the United States' longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes. In 2010, Law & Order tied Gunsmoke for most seasons for a live action drama series when it finished its twentieth and final season, but the show finished 179 episodes short of Gunsmoke's final total; regarding prime-time scripted series with continuing characters, The Simpsons is the only program to exceed 20 seasons. At the end of its run in 1975, Los Angeles Times columnist Cecil Smith wrote: "Gunsmoke was the dramatization of the American epic legend of the west. Our own Iliad and Odyssey created from standard elements of the dime novel and the pulp western as romanticized by [Ned] Buntline, [Bret] Harte, and [Mark] Twain. It was ever the stuff of legend."

The back stories of some of the main characters were largely left to the imagination of the viewer. Matt Dillon spent his early years in foster care, knew the Bible, was a wayward, brawling cowboy, and later mentored by a caring lawman. Kitty Russell, born in New Orleans and reared by a flashy foster mother (who once visited Dodge), apparently had no living family. (See "Miss Kitty" in the following section "Differences between the characters on the radio & TV versions.") Barkeep Sam was said to be married, but no sightings of a wife were made (In the episode "Tafton," he is seen side-by-side with a woman in a church singing). White scavengers killed Quint Asper's white father. Thad Greenwood's father, a storekeeper, was harassed to death by a trio of loathsome ne'er-do-well thieves. Chester Goode was known to be one of many brothers raised by an aunt and uncle, and he mentions his mother on one occasion; he referred to past service in the cavalry and years as a cattle driver in Texas. The cause of Chester's stiff right leg was never given, but it was shown on his leg and not a prosthesis. No direct reference was ever made to his disability in the script, although some oblique moments painted the free-spirited, comic deputy with a darker tone. Newly O'Brien was named after a physician uncle, who ignited his interest in medicine.
While Dillon and Miss Kitty clearly had a close personal relationship, the two never married. In a July 2, 2002, Associated Press interview with Bob Thomas, Arness explained, "If they were man and wife, it would make a lot of difference. The people upstairs decided it was better to leave the show as it was, which I totally agreed with." In the episode "Waste", featuring Johnny Whitaker as a boy with a prostitute mother, her madam questions Dillon as to why the law overlooks Miss Kitty's enterprise. It appears that bordellos could exist "at the law's discretion" (meaning the marshal's). Miss Kitty was written out in 1974. The actress sought more free time and reportedly missed her late co-star, Glenn Strange, who played her Long Branch barkeep, Sam. When Blake decided not to return for the show's 20th (and final) season, the character was said to have returned to New Orleans. She was replaced by the hoarse-voiced, matronly actress Fran Ryan (known to many as the second Doris Ziffel on CBS' "Green Acres").
For over a decade on television, a sign hung over Doc's office that read "Dr. G. Adams". Milburn Stone was given free rein to choose the character's first name. The actor chose the surname of an ancient Greek physician and medical researcher named Galen.He is first referred to in this manner by Theodore Bikel as "Martin Kellums" in the season 10 episode, "Song for Dying", aired February 13, 1965.