'Gunsmoke': 15 Facts About The Legendary Western Show
The show Gunsmoke revolves around Marshall "Matt Dillon" and his ongoing quest to keep the peace in the small town of Dodge City. Click on to to find out some cool facts about this TV western classic!
Our first fact of the day is actually kind of a sad one. Gunsmoke was in danger of being canceled back in 1967 after slipping out of the Top 30. In a desperate attempt to save the show, William Paley, the president of CBS, decided to move the show to 7:30pm on Mondays, which in turn saved the show, but got the show Gilligan's Island canceled. Sometimes old shows need to end in order for newer ones to live on....
Did you know that the show had a comic stirp in the UK? That's right! Instead of Gunsmoke, the strip was called Gun Law and ran in the Daily Express newspaper from 1957 until 1978.
Before the actual TV show existed, Gunsmoke was a popular radio show. When the TV series finally hit the masses back in 1955, the radio show wasn't canceled immediately, running for over 400 episodes before coming to an end in 1961.
Here one for all those Star Trek fans out there! Surprisingly enough, all four senior officers in Star Trek, that means "Kirk", "Spock", "Bones" and "Scotty", all made guest appearances in this western classic.
Fun Fact: Dennis Weaver was actually the first character to be cast on the show. You have to understand that the producers already knew who would be filling "Chester Goode's" shoes before they even considered thinking about the main character of the show. Weaver went onto win an Emmy for his role on the show in 1964.
With a show like Gunsmoke, with over 600 episodes, you can imagine that numerous amounts of people were killed on the show, but the one and only Gary Busey was, in fact, the last man killed over the course of the series. What an honor!
Funnily enough, Raymond Burr and William Conrad were almost cast for the lead role in Gunsmoke. In the end, producers considered the two actors too fat for the role. Even John Wayne was also a prime candidate, but he didn't feel like returning to TV which led him to recommending his friend James Arness for the part.
What most people don't know is that, almost all of kids appeared at some point during Gunsmoke's 20 seasons. What a coincidence!
James Arness is the only actor to appear in all 600 episodes of the show, while Milburn Stone, who played "Doc", is one of the only characters to appear in all 20 seasons of the show!
Surprisingly enough, James Arness was one of the first American soldiers to storm the Italian beach at the Battle of Anzio during the second world war. It was there where his leg was hit by heavy machine gun fire. This limited his time on foot which made filming some of the scenes in Gunsmoke a challenge sometimes.
Did you know that "Doc" or "Doc Adams", the second leading character in Gunsmoke, didn't even have a first name for the first 16 seasons of the show? Milburn Stone, the actor playing the role, eventually chose the name, which ended up being "Galen".
Man, times sure have changed! Back in the day during Gunsmoke's prime, the show's first seven seasons where sponsored by L&M Cigarettes.
"Miss Kitty Russell's" actual job was never really mentioned while the show was on the air. We now know that the producers intended the show to be family friendly, but subtle hints implied that "Kitty" did in fact work as a prostitute.
Gunsmoke still holds the record for "most episodes ever" of a prime time show with a grand total of 635 episodes. At the moment, The Simpsons are slowly closing in, but Gunsmoke still remains in the No.1 spot.