Gunsmoke: an American Institution Ben Costello, Five Star Publications, $75, Hardcover; 866-471-0777.

gunsmokeEvery post-war baby boomer with a TV was weaned on Gunsmoke.

The show ran for an amazing 20 years, from 1955-1975. Marshal Matt Dillon, Miss Kitty, Chester, Festus and Doc were like extended family. The show was even more popular than I Love Lucy! This book is a colossal encyclopedia of facts about the production, the cast, the writers and behind-the-scenes gossip. It is peppered with photos and ads for the show. For the diehard fan, the second half of the book has credits and a synopsis for every single episode. —Cynthia Green