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Be Quiet — ‘Gunsmoke’ Is Coming On

May 19, 2012
By HEATHER ZIEGLER , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

My sister kind of laughed when she popped in for a visit the other evening. We were watching an old episode of "Gunsmoke" on the tube. The show is telecast in black and white and not high-definition, wide screen or anything as modern as that. If Miss Kitty dresses in something colorful, we'll never know. And even though every episode ends with a gun battle of some sort, we don't experience a scene with explicit blood in living color.

Some things are better left to the imagination. Let's face it, nothing is more powerful than an image conjured up by our own minds.

The most memorable love stories shown on the big screen and made by Hollywood's late and great stars left most sex scenes up to the imagination of the viewers. There was a time when movie stars had to keep both feet on the floor when filming a bedroom scene. The scenes were about love, not just physical attraction.

Movie directors today have forgotten the art of a great fade-away shot that allows you to dream a happy ending to a movie or to just imagine what happened when the lights went out. Today, very little is left to the imagination.

A generation of in-your-face rudeness appears to be the norm, too, in the world of entertainment. Some "stars" have made careers out of acting like jackasses or seeing who can outdo one another with denigrating remarks.

Humor is one thing; cruelty is another. And we wonder why bullying has become a bigger issue than ever in our schools and playgrounds.

There have been few films in recent years that have caused me to applaud at the end and leave the theater with a smile. Last weekend's showing of "The Artist" at the Towngate Theatre was just such a movie.

I went into the theater with a preconceived notion that I would dislike it even though it was an award-winning film with a twist. It was a silent movie. Imagine that, in this day and age, a silent movie that could win awards.

Yet at the end, I and several others applauded the show. This was a drama and a love story, but nothing to make you cringe when seated next to your mother while watching the movie. How often can you say that?

Perhaps it's because my youth was spent in the tumultuous '60s and out-of-control '70s that I crave a milder slice of life these days. I hated the world around me during some of those youthful years because there were so many mixed messages being sent out by "the establishment."

"Free love" was never free. Streaking was just downright silly. Swinging had nothing to do with a playground and "my old lady" was a term of endearment for many men toward their better halves. It was not an easy time to discern right from wrong, good from bad or cool from not-so-cool.

Give me 30 minutes with Marshal Dillon and Festus any day.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via e-mail at

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