Like any popular culture, GUNSMOKE has been parodied so many times that it baffles the mind that anyone can keep track of them all. Fans of the television series MAVERICK remember the episode "Gun Shy," which spoofed the characters of Doc, Chester, Matt and Kitty. (For a quick glimpse and a laugh, visit this YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRR1-YUfZmM) In the March 1958 issue of Cracked -- the premiere issue by the way -- there was a spoof of the television series in what was described as a "parody." Finding a copy of the first issue in near mint condition will cost you a few hundred dollars so fans of Gunsmoke be prepared... you may find yourself spending a lot of cash just to read that parody.
|MAD Magazine spoof of the television series, Gunsmoke.|
MAD Magazine offered a number of spoofs including a funny one in issue #30 titled "Gunsmoked." It should be noted that MAD Magazine originally started out offering spoofs of popular radio programs ranging from Dragnet, The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Inner Sanctum and Suspense. By issue 12, MAD began spoofing television programs such as What's My Line?, Dave Garroway, Howdy Doody and Captain Video. For a quick read of the Gunsmoke parody in MAD, click here: http://long-branch.tumblr.com/post/65055004892/gunsmoked-from-mad-magazine.
|Gunschmuck audio CD: "Grinner's Biscuits"|
And then we get to Gunschmuck, a new parody recently made available on CD, promoted on the packaging as "parodied to within an inch of its life." Marshal Dillweed and Chester Proudfart find themselves facing the same obstacles that William Conrad and Parley Baer went up against on the radio program. I recently had an opportunity to listen to these parodies and these have to be, by far, the best I ever heard. The new and fresh plots are the same type of stories you expect to hear on the radio program, but with a twist. Funny one-liners, slapstick, expert sound effects, great acting and a superb music score make this parody a notch above the rest.
In "Grinner's Biscuits," Matt has to face off against a villainous criminal who beats his mother and expects Matt to make amends. But the cowardly marshal fears for his own life and allows the old woman to take a beating... against the protest and concern of Chester... until the old woman gets revenge in her own way. In "Fanny's Folly," an old flame returns to Dodge and tricks Matt into digging for buried treasure -- money unrecovered from a robbery years ago -- unaware that she and her team plan to take over Dog City. (Not Dodge, but Dog.... and a dog barks every time someone refers to the town by name.)
|Gunschmuck audio CD: "Fanny's Folly"|
The humor is not everyone's cup of tea but the jokes remain clean throughout that young children can listen to them without asking their parents what the joke meant. The only risqué joke featured Miss Kitty bragging about making a killing one evening, $300, and then apologizing to Matt for standing the rest of the night. And again, that's about as risqué and the only risqué joke that would be partially okay for young children... provided they don't understand the meaning.
The company responsible for these parodies is "Theatre of the Mindless" and they have a blog worth checking out. (Visit some of their older postings for a number of cool scans, recordings and photo captures of vintage radio drama fun such as I Love A Mystery, The Shadow, Little Orphan Annie and The War of the Worlds panic broadcast.) http://theatreofthemindless.blogspot.com
Or you can e-mail Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about purchasing a copy of the Gunschmuck audio CDs. There is no giant faceless "record industry" involved, only a handful of talented artists who would love to receive a few queries about purchasing copies. I am sure you will enjoy these parodies as much as I did.