To western fans, he will always be best known as Festus Haggen, the grizzled and cantankerous sidekick of Sheriff Matt Dillon on the CBS television series Gunsmoke. Complete with a three-day growth of beard and a dry-throated voice, Ken Curtis co-starred on the series for 11 years and became one of the best-loved comedic actors in television history. But even die-hard fans of Dodge City may not realize that, in the years just after World War II, their favorite western deputy was, in fact, a singing cowboy - the star of his own movie series at Columbia Pictures and a musical radio favorite to boot. Joining Ken Curtis on this new series of shows, titled Chuck-Wagon Jamboree, was a batch of talented studio musicians called The Novelty Aces, who would support Curtis musically in his solo numbers, appear as laughing and joking hillbilly hicks between songs, and also be featured in their own musical numbers. Art West was both announcer and performer.
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