‘Gunsmoke’ Wins Big at Emmy Awards On This Day in 1958

by Joe Rutland
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“Gunsmoke” managed to pull off a major coup in beating out four other classic TV shows on this day in 1958 at the 10th Emmy Awards.

The popular CBS western, starring James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon, earned the “Best Dramatic Series with Continuing Characters” Emmy at the show. Entertainer and TV star Danny Thomas hosted the event, held at the famed Cocoanut Grove nightclub in the Ambassador Hotel in Hollywood.

What other shows did “Gunsmoke” beat out for the Emmy? Take a gander at this lineup. “Lassie” and “Perry Mason” from CBS, “Maverick” from ABC, and “Wagon Train” on NBC were in the same competition.

‘Gunsmoke’ Beats Out Stiff Competition For Emmy Victory

“Lassie” featured the ongoing challenges of a collie helping people in need. “Perry Mason” starred Raymond Burr as defense attorney Mason, along with Barbara Hale as Della Reese and William Hopper as private detective Paul Drake.

“Maverick” featured James Garner as Bret Maverick and Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick. “Wagon Train” had veteran actor Ward Bond leading a wagon train across the western trails.

These shows all had continuing characters in them all. Obviously, “Gunsmoke” had Arness as Dillon, Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty, Milburn Stone as Doc, and Dennis Weaver as Chester.

The Emmy win for “Gunsmoke” was one of 12 for CBS at that year’s Emmy Awards. As a network, CBS topped Emmy nominations with 57. “Gunsmoke” had four total Emmy nominations. That tied it with fellow CBS shows “The Phil Silvers Show” and “Studio One” and NBC’s “Tonight Starring Jack Parr.”

Future CBS Star Found Himself Appearing Twice On Western

Speaking of Emmy Award winners, if someone mentions the name Carroll O’Connor, then what comes to your mind? Archie Bunker.

It makes sense. O’Connor played the boisterous Bunker on “All in the Family” and made his character an icon on the small screen. But he, too, had to work his way toward that role.

Looking back at different TV series, you would be hard-pressed to not find some future big-time stars in supporting roles. O’Connor had two such appearances on “Gunsmoke.”

O’Connor appears in a 1966 episode called “The Wrong Man.” He plays Hootie Kyle, a man who has a hot temper. Kyle believes he was cheated out of $30 in a card game, so he punches out the guy he lost to and gets his money back.

He also appears in a 1967 episode called “Major Glory.” O’Connor looks different, too, and cleaned up from that previous episode. O’Connor plays Maj. Glenn Vanscoy in the episode. He demands Dillon turn over the man who clashed with one of his soldiers.

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