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How Many Years Was ‘Gunsmoke’ On TV?


‘Gunsmoke’ was one of my favorite TV shows. I would give anything to go back and relive a Monday night with dad in the living room watching it. Those were the days!

If you ever wondered how many years it was on, you will find the answer to be quite astonishing. No other TV series stacks up to the Western centered around Dodge City, Kansas.

The television show ran for 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975, and was the United States’ longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes. In 2010, Law & Order tied this record of 20 seasons (but only 456 episodes).

James Arness and Milburn Stone portrayed their Gunsmoke characters for 20 consecutive years. George Walsh, the announcer for Gunsmoke, began in 1952 on radio’s Gunsmoke and continued until television’s Gunsmoke was canceled in 1975.

There were a number of actors who played various roles on the show during it’s long run. But in addition to Arness and Stone, there were two characters of the program that were in the mainstream over the years making the show popular. They were Ken Curtis as ‘Festus Haggen’ and Amanda Blake as ‘Miss Kitty’.

The entire cast was stunned by the cancellation, as they were unaware that CBS was considering it. According to Arness, “We didn’t do a final, wrap-up show. We finished the 20th year, we all expected to go on for another season, or two or three. The network never told anybody they were thinking of canceling.” The cast and crew read the news in the trade papers.

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