On Sept. 10, 1955, the series debuted on CBS and spent 20 years on the air before going into rerun heaven.
According to Ben Costello, author of Gunsmoke: An American Institution (Five Star Publications), the series was the first adult western on TV because it was more violent and suggestive than the Lone Ranger.
Gunsmoke took place during the 1870s, but Costello says the show was affected by the real-life events of the 1950s and 60s.
As he puts it, After the 1963 JFK assassination, they toned down the violence.
Despite being off the air for 30 years, Gunsmoke reruns still attract big audiences, but there may be no bigger fan than Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who reportedly has several episodes in his possession.
By the way, on Saturday (Sep. 10), many surviving cast members will be visiting Dodge City, Kansas the setting of the show in order to be inducted in that towns Walk Of Fame.
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