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GUNSMOKE SET VISIT 1973


Lloyd Carrick
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In 1973 I got to visit the Gunsmoke set. The executive producer was John Mantley, the episode was called "The Widowmaker". One day location, one day studio. The whole main street of Dodge City filled a soundstage complete with dirt floor and forced perspective scenes at each end of the town with the road leading out of town to the right so they could ride horses and wagons (buckboards?) thru the main street and of course stage high noon shootouts.

Unfortunately I can't find the studio day photos but here are some of the location day.

Gunsmoke 1 Camera & Sound Van reduced.tif

Note the Nagra III and mono RCA mixer with 2 VU meters, one showing input level, the other reading tape out level. I was already using a Nagra IV in Melbourne.

Gunsmoke 6 Teamster Jeweller reduced.tif 

The teamster driving the camera/sound van made jewellery.

Gunsmoke 3 Andy Gilmore prod snd (92 eps) reduced.tif

They used RCA condenser mics, Andy Gilmore did not believe in "gun" mics. Andy had been a boom op for 13 years and a sound recordist for 12 years at that time.

Gunsmoke 4 Jim LaRue boom op reduced.tif

Jim LaRue had been a boom op for 12 years. Jim became a sound recordist and I believe he died not so long ago.

Gunsmoke 5 Cableman and Stills reduced.tif

Note the cable man/sound assistant about to run the duplex cable for the boom op. There were 3 x 100 yard runs of mic cable on the hooks. The boom op had a box that he plugged his earpieces into and that had a battery supply for the Mic.

Gunsmoke 9 Jim LaRue & Reflectors reduced.tif

Jim LaRue on ladder

Gunsmoke 14 2nd camera reduced.tif

An unblimped Michell camera was sometimes setup at a distance and operated by one guy. He would wrap it in a thick moving blanket.

Gunsmoke 17 James Arness,Steve Forest, Director reduced.tif

James Arness was very tall, Steve Forest centre and director right - don't remember his name.

Gunsmoke 20 Running the 4ought reduced.tif

Gunsmoke 21 Spider Box reduced.tif

I guess with the modern lighting units those heavy cable runs would be a thing of the past.

I should mention I have been retired for 9 years now. 

Cheers, Lloyd Carrick.

 

 

 

 

 

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This reminds me of a thought I had being around episodics shooting in Hollywood around that time: all the gear was very simple and very beat looking.  No "chrome-lug-nut" syndrome at all, no one cared what the gear looked like and all the gear was used until it literally fell apart.  Most of the location sound guys I'd come across on location in Hollywood were working off an apple box sitting on the ground, or off an old fashioned "AV" type folding cart (nothing mounted permanently), with a Nagra, a far less high-tech mixer than shown here (like Perfectone, if they even had a mixer), and a cardboard box with accs in it.  I should say that I figure that basically none of the sound crews I observed were working with gear they owned.  Like camera, grip, electric etc, everything was owned by the studio, and what gear the location guys got had been spec'ed by the studio dept. head.  But those folks all had such hugely long experience that it all worked out quite well, mostly....along with actors who could memorize a script, speak clearly and loudly, hit marks and do multiple takes that were pretty similar performances...

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