Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dodge City and Marshal Dillon

" The school-age population of Dodge City is 70 to 80 percent non-white, mainly Latino." That's from James Fallows writing about the impact of immigration to work in meat-packing plants in western Kansas.

Funny, I was thinking about Dodge City, which I've never visited, but I've spent many hours there. I was born early enough that we only had radio for entertainment, so the late 40's and early 50's I'd come home from school and listen to radio, also on the weekends.  I remember fondly "what evil lurks in the hearts of men, the Shadow knows", Sergeant Preston, Amos 'n Andy (I still think it was better than its historical reputation.  Around supper time there was "Our Miss Brooks" (an early feminist serial, IMHO, and One Man's Family.

But in 1952 Gunsmoke came on the air and quickly became a favorite.  Then late in the 50's we got TV and could see Matt Dillon, Kitty, Doc, Chester, and the others.  I recommend the wikipedia entry; the show was both very popular (the longest running show) and sometimes very liberal.  I wonder what today's historians are making of it.

Of course the Dodge City of Gunsmoke was different than the Dodge City of the 1880's, and different than today's Dodge City.  Things change.

Oh, and Marshal Dillon: he believed in strict gun control, no guns in town.

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