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Genre: Television: Series
Release Date: 0000-00-00
Media Type: DVD
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Gunsmoke: 50th Anniversary Edition Volume 2 picks up exactly where Volume 1 ends, with the long-running series entering its 10th year, each episode an hour long and Ken Curtis now a permanent member of the cast as the buffoonish Festus. A couple of other actors will come and go as cast regulars, but the core group remains: James Arness as U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon, Amanda Blake as saloon keeper Kitty, and Milburn Stone as Doc. This collection of programs cherry-picks its way through season 19, emphasizing guest stars of note including Leonard Nimoy, excellent as a wry Indian and skinner in "Treasure of John Walking Fox," and William Shatner as a wily outlaw posing as a deputy sheriff in "Quaker Girl." (Arness, who provides a brief, vocal introduction to each episode, notes that Shatner was already starring on Star Trek by the time "Quaker Girl" was broadcast in 1966.)
Bette Davis, Bruce Dern, and Tom Skerritt all appear in "The Jailer" (the first color episode in this collection), in which the legendary Davis plays a vengeful widow who kidnaps Kitty in order to lure Matt to his own execution. Ed Asner provides optional commentary for "Hung High," in which he stars, while a young Dennis Hopper turns up as a villain out to kill a bounty hunter (a charismatic John D. Barrymore, father of Drew). Carroll O'Connor is very effective in "The Wrong Man," Jon Voight (in the same year as Midnight Cowboy) makes a splash as a convicted murderer who saves Kitty's life in "The Prisoner," and Kurt Russell is solid and sympathetic as a young man determined to avenge the death of his father in "Trail of Bloodshed." Special features include a couple of gag/blooper reels, a 1968 Emmy Award presentation to Milburn Stone, and a pair of old television interviews with Amanda Blake. --Tom Keogh
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