"Maverick" Gun-Shy (TV Episode 1959) Poster

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I Agree: This May Be The Best Maverick Episode Ever
ccthemovieman-13 February 2008
There are so many things to like about in this episode, I hardly know where to start. I'm so glad it was part of the three-episode DVD that was released a couple of years ago. Now, if they would just started releasing this old show in seasons instead of just giving us some teasers.

This particular show, which aired in early 1959, is pure satire as the writers spoof the most successful TV western of the era: "Gunsmoke." Right from the opening scene, a low camera show between the legs of a gunfighter, you think immediately of James Arness as Marshal "Matt Dillon" with the familiar opening of that great show. Instead, we get Ben Gage as Marshal "Mort Dooley."

This entire Maverick episode spoofs Gunsmoke and all its main characters, from Dillon to Doc to Kitty and finally to Chester, the latter a gimpy guy made famous by an actor who went to bigger-and-better things: Dennis Weaver. In addition, there is a quick reference to yet another famous western of the '50s: "Have Gun, Will Travel." Yup, the writers here must have really had a ball scripting this episode and hoping the other shows would appreciate their tongue-in-cheek humor. One wonders if Arness ever appreciated Gage's imitation of him.

Every time "Clyde Diefendorfer" (Walker Edmiston) opened his mouth, imitating Weaver's "Chester Goode," I laughed out loud. Edmiston's voice was hilarious. As for Kitty, I am sure Amada Blake laughed when she saw how they really milked her "Be careful" lines in this satire, although by the fourth time we got the joke. Finally, Marshall Kent was a dead ringer for Milburn Stone's "Doc."

Even though I really laughed at all the character imitations, I loved Reginald Owen as "Freddie," the Englishman who had a hilarious way with words. His dialog was easily the most humorous to me and made this so much fun to watch.

If - I repeat IF - you are familiar with Gunsmoke, this Maverick episode will be among your favorites of all time.
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Let's Take a Chance with Something New
dougdoepke7 September 2008
Marshal Dillon-- oops!-- I mean Dooley is looking for Bret and he's got his dander up. Bret better get out of Dodge-- oops again!-- I mean Wormwood before the Marshal puts another notch in his gun. Because, as every Gunsmoke-- I mean Gun Shy-- addict knows, the Marshal ain't never lost a gunfight since 1955, or was it 1958.

First-rate parody of what was then TV's most popular show. Apparently, no damage was done since Dillon, Chester, Doc, and Kitty would limp, drink-up, and fast-draw across the Kansas frontier for another 25 years! I don't think fans of that series were offended by the liberties taken; I know I wasn't. One reason is that the spoof is so darn well done. The Gunsmoke characters are sort of peripheral to the story anyway, which is really driven by the two over-age con-men, Reginald Owen and Gage Clark. Then too, the impersonations, especially Walker Edmiston as deputy Clyde (Chester), are so dead-on it's impossible not to at least chuckle at the caricatures.

It may be that much of the satire is lost on younger audiences unfamiliar with TV's earliest adult-level Western-- such as Dillon's contemplative little tour of Boot Hill that opened Gunsmoke's earliest episodes and is spoofed here. Nonetheless, the entry can be enjoyed on its own merits regardless of the puns intended.

Note in passing, the brief reference to the gunman who left his calling card-- a satirical shot at Palladin (Richard Boone) in the popular Have Gun--Will Travel. So successful was this jape, that Maverick would later spoof the hit-series Bonanza too. I may be wrong, but I believe this was the first time one TV series parodied another. A lot of the credit should go to director Leslie Martinson and script-writer Marion Hargrove for pulling it off so well. No wonder the series, by this time (1959), had separated itself from the rest of the TV herd.
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My favorite Maverick episode
lrcdmnhd7222 November 2007
This episode, 'Gun Shy,' is my favorite Maverick episode, which does a satirical portrayal of the old b&w TV series 'Gunsmoke.'

The overall architecture set of Gunsmoke was spoofed in this episode.

Mort Dooley is dressed exactly like Marshall Matt Dillon down to the stag grips and correct barrel length of his six-gun.

Clyde Diefendorfer is an excellent, comedic representation of Chester Goode, including his clothes, limp and especially his voice and speaking mannerisms. As far as I'm concerned, Clyde stole the show in this episode.

Doc Adams and Kitty Russell were also portrayed in a comedic fashion. Don't forget the 'Weeping Willow' (Long Branch) saloon. I like good quality satire where you can have a good innocent laugh. "Shall I stand a little closer, Marshall?"
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Gun Smokin'
zsenorsock5 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This legendary "Maverick" parody of "Gunsmoke" is as good as people say it is. Bret comes to town in search of buried gold, only to be run out of town by Marshall Mort Dooley (Ben Gage). He has to keep finding ways of sneaking in to town or getting the Marshall out of town so he can get in and find the gold before a couple of rivals do.

This episode is full of great moments as they parody Gunsmoke's opening showdown; Maverick notices Clyde Diefendorfer (a parody of Dennis Weaver's Chester Goode) has acquired a limp. He compliments Clyde on it,telling him it gives him "character". There's even a passing joke about"Have Gun, Will Travel" as Marshall Dooley compares Maverick to that"gunfighter who came into town passing out business cards to everybody"(HGWT also did an episode called "Gun Shy" but it was NOT a parody of"Gunsmoke"). The shots parody "Gunsmoke", the wardrobe is an exact copy, its great.

What really makes this parody work though is the dead on impression of Ben Gage. He totally nails James Arness' speaking voice. Walker Edmiston also does a pretty good job imitating Chester Goode, but he has the easier job, as Chester is more of a type. Edmiston later went on to appear on "Gunsmoke" four times as various characters and did voices for Hanna-Barbera characters like Squiddly Diddly and Yakky Doodle. Gage never appeared on "Gunsmoke". One wonders if maybe James Arness didn't like the impression.
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Great "MAVERICK" Episode; A Hilarious Send-up of James Arness & Company in the CBS "GUNSMOKE"Series in particular (as well as the whole Western Genre!, in general!)
redryan646 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
At the time of the release and Telecast of this Episode, "Gun-Shy" the Adult Primetime Western was probably at its very Zenith of popularity. At this time there were something like thirty or so Westerns on the Networks at any given week. And "MAVERICK" was consistently at or near the top. This was a 'trick' that they used in the production office to keep it so.

To begin with, the series "MAVERICK" started out with a top Creator/Writer in Roy Huggins. This little known, never seen writer had as prolific a career as any in Hollywood, Movies or Television. His Credits included THE FULLER BRUSH MAN(1948), THE GOOD HUMOR MAN(1950), "MAVERICK"(1957-62), "THE FUGITIVE"(1963-67)and "THE ROCKFORD FILES" (1974-80).

And in 'MAVERICK" anything would go. It was not so much a true "Horse Opera" as it was a parody of the very Genre itself. They even incorporated in little bits of throw-away business in stories to keep things light. Just consider: a Cameo by Studio Head, Jack Warner in a Saloon, bumping into Bret, who asks if they know each other. Or finding a Stable Attendant to be Edd Byrnes, "Kookie" on W.B.'s Detective Series, "77 SUNSET STRIP!", only the address of the stable reads "77 Cherokee Strip!" With this Episode, the Warner Brothers crew gave us a full blast of double barreled shotgun fun. "Gun-Shy" starts out looking very serious, that is following the little 'teaser' scene that all Warners series employed then.* They would give a little hint of what was to come in the story following. In this "teaser" a clip from a scene from late in the story is shown. It is a take-off of the weekly opening scene of "GUNSMOKE" with James Arness, the Marshall (Matt Dillon) facing down and shooting it out with some unknown Outlaw. But in the Maverick spoof, the Marshall (Mort Dooley),fires and there is a pause. Then, after a couple of seconds or so, we hear Bret Maverick (Janes Garner) shout, "...You want me to move in a little closer, Marshall?"

Other characters are Lampoons of Doc, Chester and Miss Kitty. The Narration is done by the Marshall, who even states that something reminded him of that hired gun who was in town, "..passing out his business cards!" (a reference to the fellow CBS Western Series "HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL", with Richard Boone as 'Paladin'.

An almost miss-able throw-away gag occurs toward the beginning of the show. A Gang of Outlaws are meeting up with some of the Local Indians. When the Outlaw Leader greets the Indian (Iron-Eyes Cody)with a raised hand and the verbal "How!", Iron-Eyes replies, "Can't complain!" It was that kind of Episode. See it if you can!

NOTE: * This sort of opening was quite common during this particular era in TV History. It's similar to what would be the function of the Cover of a Pulp Detective or Mystery or Adventure Magazine or the 'Splash' Page of a Super Hero Comic Book Story.
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Maverick: Gun-Shy
jcolyer122929 May 2015
"Gun-Shy," is a lampoon of Gunsmoke and the law-and-order ethic of Mort Dooley. Dooley, of course, is Matt Dillon. There are also caricatures of Miss Kitty, Doc and Chester. All reflect the apparent boredom of the Gunsmoke characters with their blank stares. Bret has come to Elwood, Kansas, to look for gold. Dooley hates card sharps and keeps running him out of town. After the third time, Dooley is ready to shoot Bret. But Bret is out of range, and Dooley gets frustrated. The gold turns out to be Confederate money. Maverick is set in the 1870s when Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes were presidents. "Gun-Shy" was written by Marion Hargrove.
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Excellent send-up; MAD Magazine would have been proud!
cranvillesquare17 November 2018
I saw "Three Queens Full" (the Bonanza send-up) and "Shady Time in Sunny Acres" which I firmly believe was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning movie, "The Sting." I've heard of this Gunsmoke send-up for years, and finally saw it this morning on MeTV. Well worth the wait! I now have seen the three best episodes ever produced of this irreverent, off-beat Western.

The visual cues are numerous yet understated, except for the gunfight outside the Weeping Willow Saloon, wherein Matt Dooley and Bret Maverick are so far apart they're clearly out of range of one another...yet Dooley empties his six-shooter at Maverick, then mopes about it thinking he had lost his touch with a revolver.

From the opening scene at Elwood's Boot Hill to the gunfight (shot just as the intro to Gunsmoke was, right down to the camera angles) one finds oneself wondering what show he/she actually is watching. Priceless. A bonus is the scene in which Dooley and Doc Stone - err...Doc Stucke - are talking about Elwood's growth and Dooley casually mentions that gunfighter who just the previous week had come through town, handing out business cards! (Can one say, Paladin?)

I've said enough. Well worth seeing - thoroughly enjoyable, and funny as hell to boot!
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Goofing on Gunsmoke
bkoganbing3 September 2018
One of the most well known and beloved Maverick stories is this one where another TV western classic gets a royal send off spoof. Ben Gage plays the marshal of Ellwood, Kansas straight arrow and thick as a brick Marshal Mort Dooley.

James Garner is in his town because of rumor of buried treasure, buried there by a Confederate army captain who allegedly ran off to Europe with the loot. But the discovery of a body has brought Maverick to town. It's also brought Irene Tedrow and Andra Martin to town who were the captain's wife and daughter. And Reginald Owen, a treasure seeker who is declaring himself in.

The problem for Bret Maverick is that the town of Ellwood don't cotton to professional gamblers and Gage keeps throwing Garner out of town. And Garner won't go into a gunfight with him, he knows he's overmatched. It all makes for a very funny story.

You'll cotton to this one I'm sure.
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Saw the convertible, love the episode!
jer-9412720 August 2017
I re-watched it a few moments ago and did indeed see the convertible.

You have exceptional eyes, my friend! It looked like a Pontiac to me.

The spoof of Gunsmoke was truly inspired. The scene where Mort tries to gun Maverick down in the street in a shootout was priceless. The camera shot through the spread legs of the marshal was almost too much to bear. The hopelessly naïve do-gooder qualities of the faux Gunsmoke regulars were guffaw inducing. I particularly liked the Miss Kitty stand-in mindlessly repeating "be careful" to Mort. The underlying brutality of the genre was also nicely parodied when Doc asks Mort how many men he's killed this month for aggravating him "less" than Maverick. The answer, after some finger counting (!), was 11…

Final comment: I loved the episode so much but I actually called Spectrum to find out if there was any way I could save this particular episode permanently on my DVR. I think we may have found a way by pushing the info button on the episode itself. We will see.
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Anyone see the convertible?
thelaudiens19 August 2017
Am I the only one who picked out the convertible car parked up the street when Maverick leaves the store and the Marshall pulls a gun on him outside on the sidewalk? I saw it this morning on MeTV and I think it was part one of Gun-Shy. You can see the cars headlights and all four wheels in the background as Maverick exits the store. It's actually in 2 scenes. I backed it up and froze it for my family members to see. The only question is was it an oversight during filming or did they stick it in there as a kind of spoof being the episode was a kind of spoof on Gunsmoke? Anyone else see it?
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Interesting plot amid the spoof
belanger7513 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The spoof of Gunsmoke on this Maverick was very obvious and it ran out of steam before the ep was over. Fortunately, it had a great 'real' plot which the spoof characters were rather non-involved with. I am highly fascinated with the lady who played ( not the spoof of Miss. Kitty that lady was ineffectual) the phony reporter. She later turns out to actually be the daughter of the man who buried the treasure that brings Maverick to town. I am fascinated at the way the beautiful young lady seems so different as the fake reporter than as the daughter figure even though the look is almost the very same as both. I guess it is the way she acts.
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chuck2617 November 2018
I rate this as 'H' for hilarious. I'm a fan of older 'Gunsmoke' shows and this was the best parody I've ever seen. You gotta have a little humor once in a while.
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