Gunsmoke on the Radio: Music Trivia
  • The name of the Gunsmoke theme is
    • 'Ol Trails. Melancholy Marshal. Dodge City Serenade. There's Blood on the Saddle.
    • Smoking Gun.
  • Answer: ... 'Ol Trails or Gunsmoke Trails

  • The Gunsmoke theme was written by
    • James Arness. Rex Koury. Ted Post.
    • John Meston.
    • Answer: b ... Koury. Spencer is also listed as a writer.


Rex Koury. Click HERE for a note from his daughter Gigi. Click HERE for Gunsmoke sheet music.

  • The publisher of the theme for Gunsmoke is
    • Herman Music Inc. Dodge City Music Limited. Koury Inc.
    • Cow Town Music Inc.
  • Answer: ... Herman

  • Music published in the United States either uses BMI, ASCAP or SESAC to collect royalties. The theme for Gunsmoke uses which?

  • (T/F) The theme for Gunsmoke was initially conceived in late 1950 and developed over a period of a year.
  • False ... the theme was written very quickly in order to meet a deadline.

  • Is the Gunsmoke theme played in a major or a minor key?
  • Major

  • (T/F) The theme to Gunsmoke was released on record and in sheet music form. These products were pitched on the radio.
  • True

  • (T/F) In the late 1950's, the Gunsmoke theme reached number nine on {\it Billboard's top 100 pop song list.
  • False

  • (T/F) The version of the Gunsmoke theme that was released on record was performed by Bill Paley and the Comets.
  • False ... Bill Paley was a cofounder and chair of CBS. Because he enjoyed Gunsmoke, he ordered the show returned to television after it had been canceled by CBS in the early 60's.)

  • (T/F) Chester would frequently whistle the Gunsmoke theme as he walked down Front Street.
  • False

  • (T/F) The same arrangement of the Gunsmoke theme was used the entire 23 years that Gunsmoke aired on radio and television.


  • On radio's early Gunsmokes, the music was performed live. What historical event popularized the use of canned (or prerecorded) music?

    The 1957 musicians strike

  • Interior music in a radio play is that music played between scenes or to highlight a desired mood. Rex Koury wrote much of the interior music for radio's Gunsmoke. Had he ever written such music for a western prior to this?


  • (T/F) The theme for Gunsmoke was written on the same day as its first radio broadcast.


  • Which did Rex Koury write first: the interior music for Gunsmoke or the Gunsmoke theme?

    Interior ... to get the feel what might make a good theme.

  • To within one hour, how long does Koury claim that it took him to write the theme for Gunsmoke?

    Ten minutes

  • (T/F) Koury graduated with a BS in music from the University of Washington and went to work immediately after for CBS. Gunsmoke was his first assignment.

    False ... Koury had been writing music since the '30's.

  • Was the interior music that Koury wrote for radio's Gunsmoke also used in the television version?


  • (T/F) After Gunsmoke, Koury toured the country playing organ for what type of events?

    The showing of old silent movies

  • (T/F) Koury worked his way through college as a silent film extra.


Rex Koury, 1996
Rex Koury
Rex Koury, composer of the theme for Gunsmoke, at the the 22th Annual Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention in Newark, NJ on October 23, 1996.