Marian Clark is most known for the superlative 'The Piano,'
and for the two Kitty-titled episodes Kitty's Rebellion and Kitty's Injury.
But she wrote seventy-four other scripts for Gunsmoke,
and occupies a special niche in its history.
In the 1950s, radio writers--carried along by the larger herd
of movie and radio personnel--started migrating toward
the new territory of television, much as Easterners wagon-training
to the opportunities and gold strikes of the West.
Others like Marian Clark filled the vacuum they left in radio,
much as Kathleen Hite inherited the farm, or rather the fort,
in 1956 with Fort Laramie.
Examine, for instance, the 7th and 8th seasons of Gunsmoke:
With the Gunsmoke giants--main writer John Meston
and producer Norman Macdonnell--straddling the radio and television versions of the show, Marian Clark became the predominant writer
of the radio show, producing the majority of the scripts.
The irony, of course, was that a writer's ghost town
in the dying ex-frontier was taken over by a wheelchair-riding woman.
It was always felicitous for literary posterity
when a woman writer somehow took the reins
of a 1950s radio show, as Hite did with Rogers of the Gazette
and Fort Laramie.
Marian Clark maintained the Gunsmoke ghost,
exploring further the false fronts and prairies and homesteads
that had preoccupied John Meston, Les Crutchfield,
and Kathleen Hite, and consolidating the social breakthroughs
made by the original Gunsmoke writers.
Copyright © 2011 E. A. Villafranca, Jr.
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