Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday's Favorite OTR

Gunsmoke--"As Long As I Live" 12/08/57

Gee whiz, Gunsmoke was a great show. Great writing, wonderful acting and perfect sound effects. As good as the TV version usually was (and it was a rare example of classy, intelligent storytelling on television), the radio version beats it out hands down.

This episodes opens when Marshall Matt Dillon learns that someone has shot Doc Adams. This leads to a superb scene in which Doc tells Dillon that he (Dillon) must operate to remove the bullet before blood poisoning sets in. Doc will have to remain awake during the operation in order to instruct Dillon.

This alone was enough to build an entire episode around. But the story goes on, when Dillon learns who shot Doc in the first place and also learns why. It's yet another superbly written scene, dripping with real human emotion.

William Conrad is always excellent as Dillon, while veteran radio actor John Dehner more than holds his own as the shooter. (Dehner was one of several skilled character actors who regularly appeared on Gunsmoke, playing a different part each week.)

Taken as a whole, this was an exceptionally good episode from one of old-time radio's best ever series.

Click HERE to listen or download.

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