George Walsh, a longtime newsman and announcer for the “Gunsmoke” radio and television programs, died Dec. 5 of congestive heart failure in Monterey Park, Calif. He was 88.
He became the “Gunsmoke” announcer in 1952, introducing the live, weekly radio series with the following words: “Around Dodge City and in the territory out West, there’s just one way to handle the killers and the spoilers, and that’s with a U.S. marshal and the smell of ‘Gunsmoke.'” He remained the announcer when the show moved to television in 1955.
In the Los Angeles area, Walsh was a longtime fixture at KNX-AM radio, serving as an interviewer, sports reporter, newscaster and announcer from 1952 to 1986. His voice also was used in the Smokey Bear forest fire prevention campaign and on the now-closed Disneyland rides Flight to the Moon and Mission to Mars.
In June 1947, he scored what appeared to be a huge scoop while working at a radio station in Roswell, N.M., breaking a story about a UFO landing based on an Air Force press officer’s claim that a flying saucer had been captured near the city. The military eventually determined that the UFO was in fact a radar target, but the story by then had spread worldwide.
He is survived by his wife Charlotte, three daughters, two brothers, two sisters, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.