Stamp Project: Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke was one of only two 1950’s westerns concerning factual places or events. Throughout the film industry, it is known to be among the best acted film series ever produced. However, perhaps most importantly, Gunsmoke was the longest running drama in Television history; from 1955 to 1975 with over 600 episodes. This fact in and of itself is indicative of the overall quality of the series. In fact, Gunsmoke was the #1 rated TV series from 1957 to 1961 according to viewership, and was rated among the top 10 TV shows for 13 of its 20 years of air time.
Though the television version of Gunsmoke was the most critically acclaimed version, there was a less popular, preceding (1952-1961) radio show, and a short-lived comic strip. The radio version was said to be reminiscent of Phillip Marlowe with a more somber script and more 2 dimensional supporting characters.
Obviously Gunsmoke was incredibly successful as a series, but it also acted as a launchpad for some notable actors, among them, Burt Reynolds, Buck Taylor, and Chips Rafferty. These men all went on to successful careers starring in other western films after just a few years with Gunsmoke. However, the real careers forged by Gunsmoke were those of the stars, James Arness as Sheriff Matt Dillon, Milburn Stone as Doc Adams, and Amanda Blake as Kitty Russel. Before his premier role on Gunsmoke, James Arness was virtually unknown as an actor, however, today his widely proclaimed as one of the best western actors in the history of the western genre.
Essentially, this series deserves a stamp because it is one of the greatest television shows of all time. It’s “industry first” as a serious and more adult oriented western was groundbreaking, especially considering the fanciful nature of the competitors (The Lone Ranger and HopalongCassidy among them). The sheer duration of the series alone warrants commemoration, yet Gunsmoke’s long track-record as one of the...