Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Open Letter to Jesse Stern - Co-Executive Producer of NCIS

Hi Mr. Stern,

I just read your blog post on the CBS website entitled, "Enemies Foreign," and I wanted to share a story with you that very few who know me knew until now.

When I was a little kid, my mother loved, "Gunsmoke," and so I started watching as well. Since the show ran for 20 years, I pretty much grew up knowing Marshall Dillon, Festus, Doc, and Miss Kitty.

There was one episode I will never forget entitled, "Snow Train." What happened in the episode isn't as telling as what happened after the episode. The plot is basically that our heroes are on a train in winter and some Native Americans (or Indians as they were called at the time) dropped a tree onto the tracks and tried to take over the train. It turns out that someone spiked their liquor and they wanted revenge, etc. So, there's a shoot-out, a conference, a small whodunit and Marshall Dillon taking off into the woods to get help. Did he succeed? TO BE CONTINUED.

Well, Mr. Stern, you hit the nail on the head when you wrote about, "disappointing little kids." Being a little kid at the time, kid-life trumped Gunsmoke and I missed the conclusion. Disappointed that I had missed it, I really wondered how it all turned out.

Jump forward 20 years... my husband is working a late shift and I am falling asleep on the couch when I notice in the TV guide that there's an episode of Gunsmoke on TV and it's SNOW TRAIN! YEAH! So I turned it on... and it was Part One again! Doh!

I waited all week for Part 2 but since this was late-night syndicated TV, instead of Gunsmoke, it was an episode of Combat! Double-Doh! As you might have imagined, by this time, I am thinking of heading to New York just to see the TV museum in hopes of finding Part 2.

Jump forward to 2002. I'm on the internet looking at the TV Land website and, amongst the episodes of Gunsmoke scheduled, I scan the listings and I see SNOW TRAIN!! HA! Then I realized that I'd just missed it by 3 weeks. ARRRRGH!!!

I calculate approximately how many weeks it will be on again if they hold to their current schedule and I estimate it'll air again in the Spring of '03. I start looking for it in early Spring and sure enough, there it is. Years after I first saw Part 1, I'm FINALLY going to see Part 2.

Except then I noticed that it'll be on in the afternoon and I'm committed to doing Boston's Walk for Hunger!

That's okay. We finally have technology to address this issue. I set up the VCR, gave strict instructions to my husband not to touch the VCR and later that day, after 20 miles of walking and nearly 35 years of wondering, I sat on the couch with my dinner and finally saw Part 2 of Gunsmoke's Snow Train.

It turned out okay. Marshall Dillon is a man of honor who keeps his word and everyone that counted, including guest star, Loretta Swit, was safe.

And that, Mr. Stern, is why I hate "To Be Continued."

So maybe now you can understand why, no matter what your explanation of slicing up NCIS, I am deeply disappointed in you this week.

Will I still be disappointed after next Tuesday?

To Be Continued...