When blossoms fall
Known today as a Gunsmoke and CBS radio writer--
and husband of radio's Kitty, Georgia Ellis--
Antony Ellis was also an actor, director, and producer,
and worked in television as well.
Most of his acting is in miscellaneous supporting bits
scattered throughout shows like Suspense and Escape.
Two years before Gunsmoke started,
Georgia Ellis and Antony Ellis appeared together
as the main characters in the Romance adaptation
of The Apple Tree.
John Galsworthy's sad but enriching short story
was produced twice before on The Mercury Theatre.
But without the ego and the ham and the affectation,
Antony Ellis easily outdoes Orson.
Another place where Ellis' voice can be easily heard
is in the Suspense episode 'Telling,'
which he himself adapted from Elizabeth Bowen's short story.
In the Escape episode 'The Abominable Snowman,'
Antony Ellis puts the 'abominable' back into 'metohkangmi.'
Or rather, that's where it was, when this episode aired in 1953.
In our time when everyone is scandalized
by Hawking's gall in suggesting that aliens may not
land so benevolent and soft-footedly on our planet,
it's refreshing to hear a horror story unfettered
from the brainwashed, the naive, the corrected,
and the feeble-minded touchy-feely.
Experience a horror movie the way they were in the 50s--
with a monster murderous, evil, cannibalous.
Of the eight Gunsmoke episodes written by Antony Ellis,
Georgia Ellis appeared in four:
Kitty, Christmas Story, Pussy Cats, Gonif.
Any frontier Oprah will tell you
that in the last two months of 1959
and the first two weeks of 1960,
Georgia Ellis shook off her domestic shawl
and was credited as 'Georgia Hawkins'
at the close of eleven Gunsmoke episodes.
These were Westbound, Cavalcade, The Square Triangle,
Paid Killer, Hard Lesson, Big Chugg Wilson,
Don Matteo, Beeker's Barn, Pucket's New Year,
Trojan War, and Luke's Law.
This period of uncertainty lasted
from November 1, 1959 to January 10, 1960.
However, come January 17, 1960,
in the closing credits of 'Fiery Arrest,'
she resumed being identified as Georgia Ellis.
And, till the end of time,
i.e. when Gunsmoke's last episode
'Letter Of The Law' aired on June 18, 1961,
Kitty was still played by... Georgia Ellis.
Intentionally or not, Antony Ellis' script
for 'Kitty' (November 29, 1952) is structurally patterned
after John Meston's earlier script
for 'Never Pester Chester' (July 5, 1952 ):
-Matt gets Chester/Kitty into trouble
-Chester/Kitty is hurt
-Matt cannot exact a completely satisfying revenge
-Matt cries over Chester/Kitty.
Antony Ellis wrote a one-of-a-kind scene,
which can be found in 'Pussy Cats':
A Bonnie and Clyde-type couple wait
in a Hemingwayesque way for their pursuers,
and proceed to massacre them when they arrive.
So what's unique about this Texas Trail tableau?
Well, the deadly gunplay happens without Matt
being involved. He had been disarmed and he is behind
the bar like everyone else, trying not to get hit
and being covered by the glass from the bottles
exploding above. But let's get something straight--
Matt is dodging bullets, not dodging.
Everyone else behind the bar on their hands
and knees, hiding and cowering.
Matt is only... uh, taking cover.
January 3, 2006
Copyright © 2006-2011 E. A. Villafranca, Jr.
All Rights Reserved