John Meston

Gunsmoke, Volume 1

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Gunsmoke was an adult western and was the creation of writer, John Meston, and producer-director, Norman Macdonnell. It absolutely took the country by storm. Variety Magazine, the show business journal, called it an amazing presentation, and The New York Times labeled it Something new and entirely exciting in radio. Listeners began sending in thousands of letters voicing their approval. Nothing like it had ever been heard on radio before and was a complete departure from earlier radio western programs such as Tom Mix, The Lone Ranger, and Red Ryder. The dialog, the sound effects, and the music were top notch. Program stories centered around the cattle town of Dodge City, Kansas in the 1870s, with William Conrad as Marshal Matt Dillon, Parley Baer as the marshal's assistant Chester Proudfoot, and veteran actor Howard McNear as country doctor Charles Adams. And the music of Rex Khoury added the final touches. If there ever was a program that accurately depicted the raw violence and danger of the early American west, radio Gunsmoke was it. On April 26, 1952, Gunsmoke aired for the first time on CBS Radio. Its effect was immediate and resounding.
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