1.26.2011

Television 'Pioneers' reflect again

James Arness, TV's biggest Western star, is in town for a grand event. Arness starred as Marshal Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke" for 20 years.

Arness is in Green Bay for the dedication weekend of New City Stadium, today Lambeau Field.

The rest of the fascinating episode taps into numerous stars of the genre, including Arness, James Garner, Robert Culp, Robert Conrad, Fess Parker, Linda Evans and Rosey Grier.

Over time, more than 100 Western series ran on TV, the program says. The genre was part of America.

· Special screening: The award-winning TV documentary "The Hidden Homeless" will have a public showing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Neville Public Museum of Brown County.

Made in Green Bay, the documentary features four homeless Wisconsin teenagers.

If there weren't, Nick at Nite and TV Land likely wouldn't exist, nor would have the 2008 PBS miniseries "Pioneers of Television." -- "Star Trek."

On Jan. 25, "Westerns" recalls, among others, James Arness' long-running "Gunsmoke" and James Garner's "Maverick" and has Johnny Crawford waxing nostalgic about playing Chuck Connors' son on "The Rifleman."

"Finally, "Local Kids' TV" on Feb. 8 salutes children's shows including "Romper Room" and "Bozo's Circus" -- with "Today" staple Willard Scott having been one portrayer of the clown.

That said, "Pioneers of Television" is an informative and affectionate capsule of many moments in showbiz history, reaffirming the value of remembering the past.

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