November 8: Happy Birthday Norman Macdonnell! Norman Macdonnell with William Conrad Norman Macdonnell, born in Pasadena, California on November 8th, 1916, was a radio and television and producer best known for helping to create the hit TV and radio series Gunsmoke . Macdonnell served in the military during World War II and took part in the invasion of Normandy . Macdonnell and writer John Meston helped to create Gunsmoke the first major adult western program on radio and TV. The program was launched on CBS radio in 1952. The stories for the program took place in and around Dodge City, Kansas during the development of the American West. The program was starkly somber, a sharp contrast from the childish nature of many other western programs on the radio. Macdonell went on to produce other popular radio dramas including Fort Laramie , Philip Marlowe and more! Macdonnell died on November 28th, 1979.