1961: Gunsmoke airs its last radio broadcast
Like many of television’s earliest hits, the iconic Western—which at 20 seasons remains one of the longest-running series ever—has its roots in radio. Marshal Matt Dillon is most often associated with the performance of James Arness, but the lawman’s original radio version was voiced for nine years by William Conrad. Conrad would go on to find his own success on CBS prime time, as the star of Cannon in the 1970s and Jake and the Fatman in the 1980s.
Predating the Buffy the Vampire Slayer classic “Hush,” Gunsmoke’s radio version once attempted a nearly dialogue-free episode. The experiment was not well-received. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: Brian Benben, dreamer (56) ; Kim Dickens, bella madam (47); Roget Ebert, balcony big shot (70); Alana de la Garza, last L&O ADA (36); Carol Kane, Latka’s love (60).