James Arness and Ken Curtis
I’ve spent so much time in Dodge City in my life that looking at pictures of its stars (James Arness, Ken Curtis, Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone, Dennis Weaver, Buck Taylor, Glenn Strange…) is kind of like looking at pictures of family! My love for this series and its larger than life characters knows no limits.
A little Gunsmoke Trivia:
- In the show’s twenty-year run, James Arness (Matt Dillon) was the only actor who appeared in every episode.
- James Arness and John Wayne were friends. It was after a talk with the Duke that Arness decided to accept the role.
- Dennis Weaver (Chester) said that he actually regretted giving Chester his limp. Apparently it became burdensome to maintain the limp in everything Chester did!
- After sixteen seasons, the producers decided to let Milburn Stone (Doc Adams) choose Doc’s first name, as he had always simply been known as Doc Adams. Stone chose Galen, which was the surname of an ancient Greek physician and medical researcher.
- James Arness and Milburn Stone are the only two regular cast members to stay with the show for its entire twenty-year, six hundred thirty-five-episode duration on CBS. In 1971, however, after Milburn Stone suffered a heart attack, Pat Hingle (portraying the character of Dr. John Chapman), replaced Stone for six episodes while he recovered. You can’t keep a good man down, though, and Stone AND Doc Adams returned.
- During the show’s 20 seasons, Matt Dillon kissed only one lady and it wasn’t even Miss Kitty! He kissed Michael Learned’s character in the episode Matt’s Love Story (1973). Those of us who lived for his romance with Miss Kitty can take solace in the fact that he had suffered amnesia!
- At 20 years and 635 episodes, Gunsmoke is the second longest-running American primetime television series to date. Unfortunately (for those of us who wanted Gunsmoke to retain the title), The Simpsons surpassed it.
- The series was the final film project of Glenn Strange, who played the part of Sam, the bartender.
James Arness and Amanda Blake
The complete series of Gunsmoke is available on dvd. Obviously, because it’s TWENTY seasons, the price can be a little high. Worth it? Absolutely… but kind of high nonetheless. It is available “used,” however, for less money. I think what I’m going to do (which will probably cost more money in the long run) is buy each season individually. I desperately want the series in my collection, though, so one way or another I’m going to buy it!
Gunsmoke’s Perfect Cast: Milburn Stone, James Arness, Amanda Blake, and Ken Curtis