Gunsmoke: The Ninth Season, Vol. 1 [5 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

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Synopsis

Entering its ninth season on CBS, Gunsmoke has already made history as the first TV western series to surpass 300 episodes, and one of the few programs of any kind to rate as America's Number One series for four consecutive years. However, since expanding from 30 to 60 minutes two seasons back, and because of heavy competition from NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies, the series has been steadily bleeding viewers, and has dropped to 20th place in the overall ratings. Too, longtime Gunsmoke fans are upset by the defection of one of the series' most popular characters: Although James Arness, Amanda Blake and Milburn Stone are still around and about as, respectively, marshall Matt Dillon, Kitty Russell and Doc Stone, Dennis Weaver has made a firm commitment to forsake his familiar role as Matt's deputy Chester in favor of his own starring series, which will debut in the fall of 1964 under the title Kentucky Jones. In preparation for Weaver's inevitable exit, the series' producers have latched upon two potential "Chester" replacements: Muscular half-breed blacksmith Quint Asper, played by a pre-stardom Burt Reynolds, and skuzzy hillbilly Festus Haggen, played by Ken Curtis. While Reynolds is committed to the role of Quint, Curtis hasn't quite settled down as Festus: In fact, he appears in an entirely different role in the ninth-season episode "Lover Boy." Gradually, however, the actor and Festus fuse as one in the eyes of the viewers, and it is clear that, somewhere down the line, Marshall Dillon will have a deputy who prefers to call him "Matth-yoo" rather than "Muster Dillon." Among the well-known actors appearing in guest roles during Gunsmoke's ninth season are Sheree North, George Kennedy L.Q. Jones, George Lindsey (aka "Goober" on The Andy Griffth Show) and Strother Martin. This season also boasts the series' first two-part episode, Extradition, in which Matt Dillon heads South of the Border to catch an elusive murderer, only to butt heads with an enigmatic Mexican lawman played by Gilbert Roland. ~ Hal Erickson

Cast & Crew

  • James Arness - Marshal Matt Dillon
  • Milburn Stone - Dr. Galen `Doc' Adams
  • Amanda Blake - Kitty Russell
  • Dennis Weaver - Chester Goode
  • Ken Curtis - Festus Haggen

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