Gunsmoke on the Radio: Trivia
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  • To within one year, when was the first Gunsmoke audition show made?

    Answer: 1949 on June 11th

  • The name of the Gunsmoke audition show, which was never aired, was titled
    • "Billy the Kid".
    • "Jaliscoe Pete".
    • ''Mark Dillon Goes to Gouge Eye".
    • "Carmen".
    • "Matt Gets It".

      Answer: ... and yes, Dillon's first name was Mark in the audition show.

  • (T/F) The first audition tape of Gunsmoke is lost.


  • (T/F) The actor who played Dillon in the audition tape was named Rye Billsbury. A second audition tape was made on July 15th on the same year with the same script this time starring Howard Culver as Dillon. Howard Culver also starred as a regular on television's Gunsmoke as Howie, the clerk at the Dodge House. He passed away in 1984.


  • To within a year, when was the first radio broadcast of Gunsmoke?

    Answer: 1952 on April 26th

  • The name of the first episode of Gunsmoke On the radio was
    • "Chester's Hanging".
    • "Billy the Kid".
    • "Jayhawkers".
    • "Absalom".

      Answer: ... "Billy the Kid". The other titles were also radio episodes.

  • (T/F) Variety reviewed the first radio broadcast of Gunsmoke as "...without substance ... full of dead air."

    False. they said rather that the "series is presented with top thesping and scripting values that pull it way ahead of the pack of AM westerns."

  • At its peak, how many times each week was Gunsmoke aired over network radio?


  • When Gunsmoke first aired on the radio, which of the following weekly radio plays did it bump from its time slot?
    • Suspense.
    • The Jack Benny Show.
    • Lux Radio Theater.
    • The Shadow.
    • The Lone Ranger.
    • The Inner Sanctum.

      Answer: ... Suspense, which, at times, featured Ronald Reagan.

  • Radio's Gunsmoke was sponsored a majority of the time by the makers of the cigarettes
    • Lucky Strike.
    • L&M and Chesterfield.
    • Pall Malls.
    • Camels.

      Answer: ... L &M and Chesterfield cigarettes began sponsoring radio's Gunsmoke in 1954. George Fenneman, who was the announcer and straight man on Grouch Marx' You Bet Your Life typically did the Chesterfield commercials and George Walsh, Gunsmoke's announcer on both television and radio, typically did the L&M commercials.

      GunsmokeGeorge Walsh announced for Gunsmoke both on radio and television.

  • (T/F) Cigarette commercials on radio's Gunsmoke actually used the phrase "Just what the doctor ordered".


  • (T/F) So paranoid of the competition were the cigarette ad-men from Cuttingham & Walsh, that, for a time, no Gunsmoke character was allowed to be called Lucky.


  • (T/F) The drama on radio's Gunsmoke was so realistic, that the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Dodge City wrote the program and asked during what period of history was Matt Dillon their United States Marshal.


  • As on early television, radio's Gunsmoke was centered around four main characters: Matt, Doc, Chester and Kitty. Did the actors who portrayed these radio roles ever appear on the television version of Gunsmoke?

    Yes ... Howard McNear, who played Doc on the radio, appeared more than once on television's Gunsmoke.

  • (T/F) A television pilot of Gunsmoke was made using the radio actors in their radio roles ... but was rejected.


  • The producer of radio's Gunsmoke, who also produced the early television episodes of Gunsmoke, was
    • Norman Macdonnel.
    • Burt Lum.
    • Francis Holt.
    • John Meston.
    • Connie Mack.

      Answer: ... Macdonnel

  • The working title for Gunsmoke used by creaters Norman Macdonnel and John Meston was
    • Dodge City Marshal
    • Jeff Spain
    • Chester's Boss
    • Death Gun
    • Dillon's Dodge

      Answer: ... Jeff Spain

  • (T/F) Many of the early Gunsmoke radio plays were written by Rod Serling, the creator and host of The Twilight Zone.


  • (T/F) Many of the stories that were initially aired on radio were later redone on television.


  • (T/F) On the same day that Gunsmoke premiered on television, a radio episode was aired.


  • Was the television premier of Gunsmoke advertised on the radio version?


  • (T/F) Ronald Reagan played the role of a cattle baron in a 1956 radio episode of Gunsmoke.

    False ... Reagan never appeared on either radio's or television's Gunsmoke.)

  • (T/F) Stan Laural played a traveling circus clown on a 1954 Gunsmoke radio play.


  • (T/F) Many of the actors who played bit parts on the early Gunsmoke radio plays later became major television personalities.


  • What actor who later starred in the television The Untouchables was seriously considered for the radio role of Matt Dillon?

    Robert Stack

  • What actor who later starred in the title role of the television series Perry Mason auditioned for the radio role of Matt Dillon?

    Raymond Burr

  • (T/F) Before Gunsmoke appeared on televion, radio's Gunsmoke won Radio & Television's Mirror Daily's award for Best Radio Western.

    True ... Gunsmoke won the award each year from 1954 through 1958.

  • Three of the following were the sound effects normally heard at the beginning of each Gunsmoke radio play. Choose the three and place them in order:
    • a body hitting the ground.
    • rain.
    • ricochet.
    • approaching footsteps.
    • approaching hoofbeats.
    • cattle.
    • a single gunshot.
    • two gunshots.

      Answer: approaching hoofbeats, a single gunshot, ricochet

  • Fill in the blanks to the introduction given each week to radio's Gunsmoke: "Around Dodge City and the territory out west, there's just one way to handle the killers and the spoilers. And that's with a U.S. Marshal and the ______ _______(two words) Gunsmoke. Gunsmoke: the story of the violence that that moved west and _____ _____ (two words) that moved with them."

    "smell of" and "the man"

  • The first words muttered by Matt Dillon on the radio each week were in the show's introduction and were the same. Fill in the blanks of this weekly utterance: "I'm that man Matt Dillon, United States Marshal. The first man they look for and the __ __ __ __ __ __ six words). It's a chancy job and it makes a man watchful and a little _________"

    Answer: ``last one they want to see" and ``lonely"

  • (T/F) The governor of the state of Kansas condemned Gunsmoke radio plays as ``... overly violent (and) degrading to the history and traditions of the great state of Kansas".

    False ... He actually gave a short speech at a break in a Gunsmoke radio play praising the show. He was careful, however, to point out that modern Dodge City was nothing like that depicted on Gunsmoke.)

  • (T/F) To authenticate historical accuracy of scripts, history reference books were known to be brought to the Gunsmoke studio.


  • (T/F) Gunsmoke was the first western to be aired on the radio where at no time did the hero kiss his horse.

    False ... Hawk Larabie didn't either.

  • On what radio network did Gunsmoke air?

    CBS ... the same as on television

  • Did Dillon's office have curtains in the radio episodes?

    No ... Dillon once severely scolded Chester for hanging curtains and instructed he take them down.

  • What was the name of the classiest hotel in Dodge City?

    The Dodge House

  • The classiest hotel in Dodge City was located at the corner of the plaza and
    • Cowboy Lane.
    • Texas Street.
    • Arkansas Street.
    • Railroad Street.
    • Dust Lane.

      Answer: ... Railroad Street

  • To within 5, name one of the first two numbers to the combination in Dillon's safe.

    27 and 69 in that order

  • The announcer for radio's Gunsmoke's also announced the television series. His name was
    • George Walsh.
    • Conrad Elias.
    • Never Brands.
    • Jud Nellis.

      Answer: ... Walsh. Indeed, Walsh can be argued to be with Gunsmoke longer than any other performer.

  • (T/F) All of the scripts for radio's Gunsmoke were written by men.


  • John Dehner, veteran character actor, played a great number of characters on radio's Gunsmoke ranging from cold blooded killers to dull witted sod busters. He had a running joke with Conrad. When Dillon was walking somewhere, Dehner would ad lib a mumble ``Uh ... Hello Marshall" in the voice of a little old man. Conrad would invariably respond "Hello
    • Bruce".
    • Stinky".
    • John".

      Answer: ... John

  • The writer who wrote the largest number of early Gunsmoke scripts for radio was
    • John Meston.
    • Billy Wong.
    • Everett Dirkson.
    • Clyde Ware.
    • Paul Savage.

      Answer: ... Meston

  • (T/F) On the radio, Dodge City had an opera house.


  • (T/F) One prolific writer of Gunsmoke radio scripts was confined to a wheelchair.

    True ... Marian Clark wrote over 60 half hour scripts.

  • (T/F) When canceled, Gunsmoke was the last network radio drama to originate from Hollywood.


  • To within one, what was the last year in which Gunsmoke was aired over network radio?

    Answer: 1964 in June

  • When performing in the last Gunsmoke radio play, were the actors aware that it was the last show?


  • Was there an announcement on the last radio Gunsmoke play that the show was being terminated?


  • (T/F) After the show was cancelled, the members of the cast of radio's Gunsmoke have on occasion recreated the radio classic.

    True ... for example at the SPERDVAC (Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and Comedy) convention in November 1988, Parley Baer, Vic Perrin (who played a number of parts in the radio drama), Lillian Buyeff and George Walsh (the announcer) re-created a Gunsmoke radio drama. Micheal Rye played Dillon.




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