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Gunsmoke - 50th Anniversary Collection, Volume 1

4.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

MARSHALL MATT DILLON IS RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING THE LAW & RESPECTABILITY IN DODGE CITY IN THIS WESTERN ACTION-DRAMA.

Amazon.com

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." --Tom Keogh


Special Features

  • 17 episodes from the first nine seasons (1955-64) on three discs: Matt Gets It, Hack Prine, The Killer, The Preacher, The Guitar, Legal Revenge, Sins of the Father, Romeo, Doc's Reward, Lost Rifle, The Bobsy Twins, The Blacksmith, Little Girl, Chesterland, Quint Apser Comes Home, Ash, Prairie Wolfer
  • Commentary by James Arness on Matt Gets It
  • Commentary by Dennnis Weaver on Hack Prine
  • Commentary by Angie Dickinson on Sins of the Father
  • Commentary by Barbara Eden on Romeo
  • Commentary by George Kennedy on The Blacksmith
  • Commentary by Dennnis Weaver on Chesterland
  • Commentary by Adam West on Ash
  • Special episode introductions by James Arness
  • Special introduction by John Wayne on series premiere episode "Matt Gets It"
  • Gag reel
  • Rare home movies filmed on the set by Dennis Weaver
  • James Arness as Matt Dillon and Dennis Weaver as Chester on The Ed Sullivan Show
  • Westerns Channel Gunsmoke Memories
  • Museum of TV & Radio Q&A with cast
  • Emmy Award footage
  • Original CBS network promos
  • Photo galleries

Product Details

  • Actors: James Arness
  • Format: Full Screen, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: January 3, 2006
  • Run Time: 544 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BITUZ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,108 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gunsmoke - 50th Anniversary Collection, Volume 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim R. Niles on January 6, 2006
Format: DVD
The selection of the episodes is fine. The commentary by the stars varies between good and excellent.

Since I purchased almost all of the original 30 minute episodes of "Gunsmoke" from Columbia House (four per tape at $25), I am still disappointed that this amazing series was not released in sequence of broadcast, just as it was released by Columbia House.

"Gunsmoke" was so much more than entertainment 50 years ago. Families would gather around the "Cool Blue Fire" to share the stories (and morality tales) told by the actors and writers. Fifty years ago I was six years old, and obviously not cognizant of the great leap forward - into 'adult' territory - which "Gunsmoke" represented.

When I began watching the Columbia House 30 minute episodes, always in order of first broadcast ten years ago, I was amazed at the quality of the productions and the way that the totality had survived across (then) 40 years. Awed.

By selecting the 'best' of "Gunsmoke" the marketers imply that the rest of the series was like every other series on TV: there were only a few episodes worth watching, much less, worth BUYING. My view: that is not true.

This is one series that still deserves to be watched, and remains "must see" TV after 50 years.

I would encourage the release of "Gunsmoke" by seasons, just as "Have Gun Will Travel" is being released.

"Gunsmoke" was the primal American legend brought to black and white TV. It deserves to be seen as it was broadcast, not simply because the nostalgia quotient is higher but because it remains a seminal series.

The definitive episodic TV Western.
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Format: DVD
As most fans of "Gunsmoke" probably know, this set and the second set, representing the latter half of the series, include some very good episodes drawn from throughout the show's 20 year run, but are not season sets. But what you do get are 17 very good looking episodes from the first nine seasons, primarily the Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver) years, with the last episode introducing Festus (Ken Curtis). What distinguishes this collection is the inclusion of some truly great DVD extras, from John Wayne's introduction of the first episode to Dennis Weaver's home movies made on the set, as well as other great bonus material. The inclusion of so many extras should come as no surprise as this collection was produced by Paul Brownstein, who was also behind the great DVD releases of "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Considering the age of the episodes, it's wonderful to hear so many episode commentaries, not only from the likes of stars James Arness and Dennis Weaver, but from popular guest stars like Angie Dickinson, George Kennedy, Adam West and Barbara Eden, all of whom share wonderful memories of the show and their early days as actors working in the relatively new medium of television. Both James Arness and Dennis Weaver took active roles in this DVD release, with Mr. Arness providing audio introductions for every episode and bonus item, and Mr. Weaver sharing his "Gunsmoke" memories.

While it would have been preferred to have full season sets of "Gunsmoke" (and, who knows, maybe this will eventually happen), Paramount has delivered a mostly great release.
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Format: DVD
This is a very tough review to write because the shows, transfers, etc. are excellent. THE HUGE PROBLEM IS: WHY IS THIS SHOW NOT BEING REALESED SEASON BY SEASON? This is probably the most outstanding westerns ever produced for television. The transfers are clean and clear (except for a few spots-remember that these shows are roughly fifty years old). Also, to me, I'll take Chester over Festus any day, so, these shws are great for me from September 10th, 1955 through the first appearance of Festus on 1/18/64 (ninth season). In this episode both Festus and Chester appear together. There are only seventeen episodes for NINE SEASONS on these three discs! During that time period, the television season usually began in mid September to early October. There were probably somewhere around 25-30 shows per season. Why in the world is Paramount not releasing the entire show,season by season (granted, I'd probably only buy the season's up until Chester leaves). Still, I'd be buying nine full seasons of this wonderful show. (I'm certain that there would be others who would buy every single season). Paramount, you're releasing the complete full seasons of other shows. Why only a vol. one and a volume two of Gunsmoke? Have Gun Will Travel is being released season by season. Why not Gunsmoke?
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Wow !..The memories come flooding back with this 50th Anniversary set featuring James Arness and the gang in Gunsmoke.

I suppose die hard fans will want to know why complete seasons of this great old show haven't been released,but this collection of selected episodes gives a great flavour of what was one of TV's longest running sucesses. There are some good extras too ,..with John Wayne doing an introduction to the very first episode, James Arness does some audio only intros as well.

Here in the UK ,I think I'm correct in saying, not all of the series got shown by ITV who had the rights, so this is a really welcome set. I had also completely forgotten that the show started life as half-hour episodes in the early years before expanding to the hour format. This won't appeal to everyone of course,but if you are of "a certain age",you'll revel in memories of the late Dennis Weaver's Chester,Milburn Stone's charismatic Doc and the wonderful Amanda Blake's Miss Kitty.

What a pity the recent Warner Bros sets on Maverick and Cheyenne weren't this good.
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