Give me some Gunsmoke, and Mayberry RFD

(A guest post from my brother Ed)

I watch America struggle with her social issues. I see the political and economic failures, the corruption and injustices, I see the deception, the confusion, the oppression and victimization of the middle class, and I keep up fairly well with global current events.

But, as I continue to watch my Smart TV, tablet, and IPhone, I can only take so much before I need a Gunsmoke break, — to catch up with Marshall Dillon, Kitty, Festus, and Doc.  Other times I might catch an episode of The Andy Griffith Show.

Now, we need to understand that the TV Dodge City, and Mayberry RFD, were towns full up with sinners — there was no shortage of sinners, both in front of, and behind the camera — sinners who all made a living entertaining a nation brimming with sinning viewers. Why were the shows so popular?

Unlike our culture today, back then, we knew down deep that we were sinners!, We knew we had our personal moral failures! — but, even so, back in those days, we wanted to watch shows where strong moral messages won the day.

Gunsmoke had a 17 year run of over 500 episodes. Dillon shot hundreds of bad people in cases of justified self defense.  Just like other 50’s and 60’s family sitcoms, the Gunsmoke plots had moral final messages, which were backed up by Marshall Dillion’s fists, or his Colt .44’s.  Dillon was a righteous-like figure who everyone in Dodge, and at home knew would deliver justice in the end

Sheriff Andy Taylor didn’t need a gun, as he, Barney, and Opie, brought us weekly adventures of Mayberry life, and Aunt Bee made sure the Taylor family behaved themselves!  In reality, we viewers oftentimes failed as we struggled with our deadly serious real life problems, but, we were always happy to see the Mayberry, RFD residents solve their problems with happy and moral endings.

So, what happened? What in the world is the difference between now, and back then??  I think maybe it’s that back then, we had a respect for morality that we’ve somehow lost today!  

I think we had a sincere respect for moral behavior, even when we behaved immorally. 

Thank you Marshall Dillon, and Sheriff Taylor! 

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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