John Wayne
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John Wayne introducing the first episode of Gunsmoke

GUNSMOKE

and John Wayne



There's been a rumor going around for decades now that John Wayne was offered the role of Matt Dillon and turned it down because he didn't want to do TV. That, instead, he made a deal with CBS to introduce the first episode. Dozens of people have written to me to tell me that they have read that story somewhere - most say in an old issue of TV Guide.

According to the book by the Barabases (see the Other Links and Resources page), this rumor is just that - a rumor. It didn't really happen. The book quotes Charles Marquis Warren (the producer of the first season) as saying that he never offered the job to Wayne, and that Wayne did the intro to the first show as a favor to Warren (see pp. 79-80)

I don't know which story is the right one, but I'm inclined to believe Charles Marquis Warren myself.

There is another, rather full treatment of this subject on the Urban Legends page. Take a look.

John Wayne's Intro

Whatever the case, here is part of John Wayne's introduction to the very first episode of Gunsmoke. Why only part? Well, I don't really want to get in trouble with whoever owns the rights to that episode. Now at least you still have a reason to buy it on tape, right? (Like owning the first episode of Gunsmoke isn't reason enough.)

Anyway, this is a RealAudio file. You'll need the RealAudio player (not the plug-in) to play it. It should work with v. 3 or above. Visit their site to download the player, if you don't have it already. You can then choose to listen to the audio clip as it downloads; or, if your computer doesn't have enough memory to run the audio player and your web browser at the same time, choose to download and save it directly to your hard disk. Then you can play it back any time.

Listen:

Play as it downloads ::: Save to disk before playing

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