Okay, so this happened. And the timing couldn’t have been better. I had decided to stop driving, and I needed a bolstering signal that not everything was heading in a surrendering direction. And I got one.
It happened like this.
As I prepared to write yesterday’s post, concerning a touching “character driven” episode of Gunsmoke – in which, stemming from Kitty’s frustrated annoyance, Matt and Kitty explore the depth and nature of their relationship – I decided to engage in some research, specifically, discovering the name of that episode so I could mention it in my post.
Clicking over to Google, I typed in, “Complete List of Gunsmoke Episodes.”
I got twenty seasons of episodes – six hundred and thirty-five titles.
Oh! “Wait” before that!
Scrolling backwards from Season 20, it suddenly occurred to me that I had seen “Chester” in the episode in question, and, knowing “Chester” (played by Dennis Weaver) had left the show (after
what I learned was nine seasons), I realized I could exclude seasons 10 to 20 from my “search”, halving the size the still arduous process. (Though not exactly “halving”, because earlier in its run, Gunsmoke made 39 episodes per season, and they later made fewer. But at least I could cut out eleven seasons. Pretty smart, eh? Okay, slow. But still smart.)
Now back to the first “Wait!”
Before immersing myself in Gunsmoke episode titles, I took a calculated shot.
Since the episode in question concerned Matt promising to take Kitty to the town “sociable” (and then backing out because of his work), I Googled “Gunsmoke Episode – ‘The Sociable’”, hoping maybe I’d get lucky.
Now, back where we were before the two “Waits!”
I scrolled through every episode title from the first nine seasons of Gunsmoke, looking for “likely contenders” that would lead me to pay dirt, something cleverly evocative of the show’s theme, like, “Kitty Flashes Her Claws.”
I found some encouraging “hopefuls”, like “Kitty’s Rebellion” – Season 4, Episode 22, of a, then, episode total of 139 – but it turned out that one involved, “An old friend’s brother attempts to ‘save’ Kitty from life as a saloonkeeper.”
So, “Dead End”, once again.
I was frankly ready to give up. “Who wouldn’t?”, as people say, having no idea of the answer but secretly hoping it’s “everyone.” You do not want to be the lone “quitter” in a Gunsmoke “episode search.”
Then, I remembered something.
I recalled the episode’s “Guest Actor”, playing the character Kitty originally falls for but later rejects when he tries to choke her to death.
The man’s face was definitely familiar, but, unhelpfully, I was unable to remember his name. I tried. But trying to remember a name is the worst way of remembering a name.
Another “Dead End”? It sure looked like it.
But wait! No!
Though I did not know his name, I recalled that actor had once starred in a short-lived TV series about truckers.
I thought, “Look at me! I am not giving up!”
I Googled “TV series about truckers.”
Which led to recent “Reality Shows” about truckers.
Rethinking my “Google”, I typed in “Fictional TV series about truckers.”
And there it was.
Starring Claude Akins.
The man who choked Kitty on Gunsmoke.
I researched “Claude Akins” on IMDB – offering actors’ professional credits – scrolling down his “TV Credits” to Gunsmoke.
Claude Akins appeared in ten episodes of Gunsmoke.
I went through each episode title, crosschecking with the “loglines” (thumbnail summaries) provided by the “Gunsmoke-episodes” website.
Finally, I found it.
“The Way It Is.”
Season 8. Episode 12. Of a, then, episode total of 279.
“Kitty meets an injured traveler after Matt breaks a date with her.” Featuring Claude Akins.
Talk about “meaningless episode titles.” But “Hooray!”
I typed in “Gunsmoke episode ‘The Way It Is’.”
And there, capping my grueling crusade, was an edited four-minute-and-twenty-nine second film clip of that episode. Including the dialogue I quoted verbatimly in my post. Which was incredible. Normally, because I can’t find what I’m looking for, I “approximate.”
These were the actual words!
And so, through fierce tenacity and grit, I completed the job.
There have been times in my life when I gave up too soon, and I threw in the towel.
And there have been times in my life when I didn’t.
It’s nice to know that, even today,
I can add to the list of “I Didn’ts.”