And, even today, reruns of the series continue to pop up everywhere. Here are some things that you may not know about the making of the show and the people involved in it.
The Leading Man
Matt Dillon, the series protagonist, is famously portrayed by James Arness. The U.S Marshal works hard to keep criminals at bay on the streets of small-town Kansas in the 1870s.
The fictional city of Dodge was full of shenanigans and interesting characters. There was always something happening to pull viewers into the world of the show, relieving them of the stress of their own.
Amanda Blake played the fiery-haired saloon owner, Kitty Russell. And those who watched the show know that her hair is far from the only fiery thing about her. But Blake wasn’t the first actress who was up for the saucy saloon proprietress. Originally, the show’s creators offered the role to Polly Bond.
Fortunately for Blake, Bond declined the role, and it was then all up to her to bring Kitty to life – and she did just that.
The Romance That Never Happened
Those who may have been expecting things to heat up on screen between Kitty and the leading man were destined to wait a long time.
In fact, even though it may have been implied that the saloon owner was secretly working a job that was a little more, well, secret, they never actually showed anything happening between them, no matter how badly fans may have wanted it to happen.
Before James Arness became known for his role in "Gunsmoke", he was playing a very different kind of role in his real life – a soldier in the United States military during World War II.
His vision for his future was to become a fighter pilot, but something would hold him back. He did, however, become a rifleman. And he would find himself deployed to fight in the Battle of Anzio.
During his time at war, Arness wounded his leg pretty severely and was evacuated home for medical care.
He was lucky to be alive, but, sadly, his wounds would haunt him throughout his entire life. While he did heal from the injury, he suffered from chronic pain in his right leg for the rest of his life. Still, he didn't let that stop him from having a successful career.
Where Did Kitty Go?
When season 20 of the show began, there was an important character missing, and questions to be answered. The saloon keeper was nowhere to be found. But where had she gone, and why?
Rather than being written off of the show, Amanda Blake’s character was simply left entirely out of the season following her last performance. Kitty was tired of seeing Dillon nearly killed on a regular basis, which was one of the reasons that she left.
Where Did Amanda Blake Go?
After 20 seasons, Blake decided she longer wanted to be a part of the show. But why? Was it a fight with the production team over her salary? Maybe she didn't get along with one of her co-stars? Well, the truth was actually a lot more tragic.
Amanda did not want to return to the show because her friend and co-star, Glenn Strange passed away. Strange was 74 when he lost his battle with lung cancer.
A Disappointing Ending
Fans of "Gunsmoke" were seriously invested in the show. After all, it was on the air for two whole decades, and so many people grew up watching it and continued to watch it into adulthood. So, most were pretty upset when the show ended the way it did.
After 20 years on the air, the show suddenly stopped playing new episodes. The last one ever aired was called “The Sharecropper,” and played in 1975. There was no tying up of any loose ends and no closure.
Adding Goode's Accent
Chester Goode was the first character cast during the first year of the show's production. Goode is played by Dennis Weaver who is known for his heavy accent and noticeable limp. The accent was an afterthought during the audition process, after Weaver’s first go-round when he was told that they wish he would’ve brought “more humor to the role.”
He added the accent to his line delivery the second time around – along with the famous limp – and producers were on the floor laughing.
Weaver Had to Audition With Everyone
Weaver was the first actor cast for the show, which meant that he had the privilege of setting some of the tone when it came to casting the other actors. What does that mean?
Well, he had to do chemistry checks with all the other actors, which meant he was present and reading with almost everyone who came to audition for the roles of Matt Dillon and Doc. Luckily, they ended up filling these roles too.
Roger Ewing is probably most well-remembered for playing deputy marshal Clayton Thaddeus Greenwood, AKA, “Thad,” on the show. He stuck around for two seasons before the show was temporarily canceled in 1967. When it came back on the air – Thad was nowhere to be found.
Ewing decided to try and stay off-screen as much as possible after his days on "Gunsmoke". Being an introverted person, he wasn’t thrilled about living life as a celebrity.
Casting Matt Dillon
Before James Arness landed the leading role of Marshal Matt Dillon dozens of other actors were up for the part. Among the others who almost played the show’s protagonist were actors you know and love from other projects.
Raymond Burr ended up playing the title characters in both "Perry Mason" and "Ironside" was considered for the role. William Conrad was considered first since it was he who voiced Dillon’s role on the original "Gunsmoke" radio program.
Too Big To Be Dillon
Producers considered actors like Raymond Burr and William Conrad but they both ended up losing the role. The reasoning behind not casting them? Producers believed them both to be too big-boned to play the part of the marshal.
They also reportedly asked John Wayne to take on the role, but he had little interest in performing on television. But guess who John Wayne recommended for the role, instead? You guessed it: his buddy, James Arness.
After producers told Dennis Weaver to “bring the funny” into his role as Chester, he decided to kick things up a notch. He threw in a heavy country accent – and limp. But he didn’t exactly realize that by doing these things, he’d have to keep them up for 20 years.
As far as his character was concerned, Chester had gotten the limp after an injury he received fighting in the Civil War. Although some say that they believed he created the limp due to his height (six-foot-two,) after he was told executives wanted him to appear much shorter than the leading man, who stood six-foot-seven.
Polly Bond was offered the role of Kitty before it was filled but she turned it down. Have you ever heard of anyone turning down a job because they were offered too much money? Yeah, neither have we, but that’s exactly what happened in this scenario.
At the time she was offered the role, Polly was married to fellow actor Tommy Bond, who played Butch on 'The Little Rascals'. Had she accepted the role of Kitty, she would have been the breadwinner in the marriage, which she apparently had no desire to do.
When a show is on the air for 20 years, it’s bound to leave its mark on the world. In the case of "Gunsmoke", this happened in several ways, one of which is through the show’s catchphrases. “You ain’t never going to find out, Curly,” is perhaps one of the most well-known ones.
Another phrase you may remember from the show is, of course, “get out of Dodge.” In fact, it’s actually been added to the online slang terminology site, Urban Dictionary, since it’s heard so often.
Festus Haggen is Matt Dillon’s second deputy, and one of the most beloved characters on the show. Festus brings a unique personality (and vocabulary) to the scenes he is a part of. The role is played by the late singer and actor, Ken Curtis.
Curtis grew up on a ranch in Colorado and played quarterback on his high school football team. After college, he started his career in entertainment by signing on as a vocalist with the Tommy Dorsey Band.
Gunsmoke Killed Gilligan’s Island
In 1967, "Gunsmoke" was nearly canceled, and its spot was given to someone else. But when President Lyndon B. Johnson reportedly told CBS he was a fan, they had to reevaluate. Around this time, "Gilligan’s Island" was enjoying its prime-time slot on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. Unfortunately for fans of that show, "Gunsmoke" needed somewhere else to go – and just like that, it replaced Gilligan and his crew.
Luckily, it worked like a charm, and the show's ratings skyrocketed. It became the 4th most watched show in the U.S.
Committed to the Role
If you have a job for two decades, you’re bound to miss at least a few workdays over the years. Things happen. People get sick, there are family emergencies, weather issues, etc. But James Arness was wholly committed to his role as Matt Dillon. In 20 years of filming, he was the only actor to appear in each and every episode of the show.
It is possible that, because he was the star of the show, producers and the rest of the cast worked around his sick days. But, it’s also possible that he simply pushed through and showed up no matter what the circumstances were.
Turning to Art
Buck Taylor is most well-known for his eight-year stint as Newly O’Brien. But the actor is also a multi-talented man. Before he even went into acting, Taylor pursued a path as an Olympic gymnast.
At the same time, he was studying art at the University of Southern California. Then, he landed his breakthrough role and his entire life changed. Plus, the show wouldn’t be quite the same without him.
Buck Taylor After "Gunsmoke"
Although Taylor has continued to act straight into the 2000s, appearing in 2004’s "Tombstone", he’s shifted his focus back to art.
The actor can still be seen on film and TV from time to time, but he spends most of his days working on his paintings, which he sells on his website, bucktaylor.com. His work can also be seen displayed in several places throughout Texas.
(Not) Letting Go
After you’ve become so invested in playing a character over the span of several decades, it can’t be easy to just walk away from it. After all, James Arness was Matt Dillon for 20 years. So when the time came to film the follow-up films, of course, he was all in. He wasn’t the only one of the original cast members who was excited about the reunions, either.
Buck Taylor and Amanda Blake both appeared with Arness in the made-for-television film, '"Gunsmoke": Return to Dodge', alongside Arness.
The reunion films weren’t the only productions made to try and bring the world of Dodge back to life. In 1974, a year before the original series’ ultimate cancellation, a spinoff show called 'Dirty Sally' was released. It follows a junk collector from Dodge (Jeanette Nolan) who heads west to California in search of gold.
In the series, Nolan plays the title role, an older woman who chews tobacco and meddles in the lives of everyone she encounters on her way west. The show was only on the air for a single season, though Nolan received an Emmy nomination for her work on it.
Difficulties on Set
James Arness was no doubt one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood for his 20 years in the industry. He made every episode and did several of his own stunts, which required all kinds of prep work and training. But in the later years of filming, he was dealing with severe arthritis, which made working quite hard on him a lot of the time.
It was apparently so bad at times that producers tried to get all of his scenes for an episode shot in one day. That way, the actor had plenty of recovery time before the next time they needed him.
Who Was On The Other Side?
For nearly the entirety of the show, the opening credits remained the same. Each week, the show opened with a gunfight scene between the leading Marshall and another man. But who was that man, who was there fighting with Marshall every week?
"True West" magazine revealed that the man on the other side of the fight with James Arness happened to be fast draw expert, Arvo Ojala.
The gun pro taught Arness everything he knew about guns, and he also appeared on the opening credits of the show. He first moved to Hollywood early on in the 1950s, during the Golden Age. He opened up a leather shop in town where he patented and sold the first fast-draw holster.
He trained a lot of western stars on how to utilize them for scenes in major hits. Aside from Arness, Ojalla taught James Garner, Paul Newman, Kevin Kline, and Robert Culp to shoot, among several others.
Emmy Award Winning
You don’t make it for 20 years as one of the most popular shows on television without at least winning or being nominated for a few Emmys. And of course, "Gunsmoke" was no exception. The show and its cast and crew garnered 15 nominations over the years and won five, including Best Dramatic Series in 1958.
In 1959, Dennis Weaver won the Primetime Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series. And nearly a decade later, in 1968, Milburn Stone received the same honor.
The Radio Show
The show's origins began in the form of a radio show that aired from 1952-1961. During the original years, William Conrad played Matt Dillon.
Like many stars of his time, Conrad was a World War II veteran who turned to the entertainment industry after his time serving in the military. He appeared in several films and television shows, including 'Cannon' on CBS, in which he starred in 1976. Although Conrad passed away in 1994, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame a few years after his passing, due in large part to his work as Marshal Matt Dillon.
While most that have achieved the number one spot on the Nielsen ratings have done so by being aired on weeknight primetime television, "Gunsmoke" did something even more impressive. The show aired on Saturday nights, which isn’t one of the best nights for TV, and it was still able to reach the top spot.
The only other show to do that in the history of TV is "All in the Family." Both shows reached number one despite their weekend slot, and both were able to hold the number one rating for several years in a row. "Gunsmoke" was the top-rated show from 1958-1961.
The Show’s Evolution
You don’t get to stay on the air for two decades in a row by playing outdated scenarios on dead technology. Rather than roll over for the times, "Gunsmoke" continued to evolve, changing along with what audiences were looking for.
Starting from making the switch from radio to TV to changing the show’s introduction to appease the time’s politics, creators tried to keep up with the way of the world as much as possible.
When color television became a reality, the show made the evolution along with it. It was originally a 30-minute long show when it was first on TV, but when it changed to color, it also added length and became an hour-long.
The show’s creator, Charles Marquis Warren, wanted to make sure that "Gunsmoke" stayed ahead of the times so as not to become irrelevant as things shifted. It seems like he did an amazing job.
A Face for The Ages
If there was one person on the show that a person from each generation in every household would recognize, it’s Burt Reynolds. Reynolds played Quint Asper and got his start on the series when it was still being shown in black and white.
The actor then went on to create quite an impressive career for himself in Hollywood. After his time on the show, he got into acting on the silver screen.
James Arness Almost Turned Down The Role
It was John Wayne who recommended James Arness to the show executives. Of course, no one is absolutely sure if the stories are true or not, although one quick search through Google will prove just how many publications are discussing it.
The stories also note that hesitant Arness was to take on the role in the first place. In one interview it reveals that someone close to him in the industry told him that if he got stuck in a series, he’d be “used goods.” However, Wayne reportedly convinced him to go for it.
William Shatner on "Gunsmoke"
There were several famous guest stars who appeared on the show throughout the years. But some of those stars wouldn’t really become well-known until after their time on "Gunsmoke". Take for instance future "Star Trek" leading man, William Shatner.
He wasn’t the only one from that particular show, either. James Doohan (Scotty) and DeForest Kelley (Dee) appeared in one episode with their future cast-mate and captain.
"Gunsmoke" Guest Stars
Any show's guest stars are a big part of its success. Having big stars agree to be on your show shows that it's perceived as good and valuable.
"Beverly Hillbilly" star Buddy Ebsen made an appearance on the show over the span of a decade, starting in 1960 and for the last time in 1971. Bette Davis, Richard Dreyfuss, and Alan Hale Jr (Skipper) all popped up in different episodes during the series as well.
Milburn Stone was the man behind the face of Dr. G. “Doc” Adams on the show. Stone grew up in Burrton, Kansas, which is a small town just like Dodge, so he felt right at home playing the role of Doc. Everyone in the fictional town on the series simply referred to him by his nickname, which left fans wondering if he even had a first name at all.
Finally, before season 17, the creators decided to give the doctor a first name. But, since at that point, Stone was the person who best knew Doc, the decision was left to him. He went with the name Dr. Galen Adams.
A Future Indiana Jones
A (very) young Jodie Foster made an appearance in episode 19 of season 17, which aired in 1972. And she wasn’t the only one, either. That same year, Harrison Ford would pop up in his first episode of the series.
Ford appears in the episode titled "The Sodbusters," in which he plays the role of an outlaw named "Print." Although his character gets shot – twice – he returns the following season. But when he comes back, the marshal is out of town and it’s up to Miss Kitty to handle him and his gang.
Meet the Pre-Brady Bunch
A few future "Brady Bunch" cast members were on "Gunsmoke." In fact, three of the main cast members appeared in at least one episode of the series. The youngest Brady, played by Susan Olsen, was one of them.
Olsen first made an appearance on "Gunsmoke" in a 1968 episode titled “Abelia.” On the show, Festus must nurse her character, Marianne, back to health after she’s bitten by a rattlesnake. Marianne returns to the show the following season for another episode as well. The same year that Olsen first appeared on the show, her fellow 'Brady Bunch' cast member, Christopher Knight, popped up in an episode, too.
The future film star played a role that was particularly special to fans. It wasn’t a huge role, but it was just two episodes prior to the final one that would air. In the third-to-last taping, he plays Harvey Daley, a character who dies after he decided to ride a wild horse.
Daley’s death was the final one in the series, and many say he was the last person killed on the show.
"Gunsmoke" is by far one of the longest-running shows in television history. In fact, if you Google “longest running TV shows,” you’ll find that it pops up at the top of almost every list. It actually held the record for having the most episodes of any show – until it was beat out.
"The Simpsons" is still creating new episodes today, while the western favorite stopped at 635 episodes. But, "Gunsmoke" is still in second place on the “longest running shows” lists.
Over the two decades that the show was on the air, it only ever held two time slots. While shows often jump around, and/or are shifted around, "Gunsmoke" as a television show, more or less remained in the same place for fans to enjoy.
When it was first released, it aired on Saturday evenings from 7:30-8:00 pm, a schedule which it held throughout the first six seasons. Then, in 1967, it was moved to Monday nights, where it remained for the rest of the show’s running.
The Stunt Double
Although James Arness did a large number of his own stunts throughout the years, once his arthritis really took hold, it became harder for him to do so. A stunt double, Ben “Big Ben” Bates, was hired in 1972 to do the more dangerous stunts.
Bates landed the gig as Arness’ stunt double for his impressive horseback riding abilities, first and foremost. Everyone was so thrilled with his work that he was invited back to perform the stunts in all of the follow-up films, as well. In the 1982 sci-fi hit, 'Swamp Thing', Bates plays the evil creature that fights Swamp Thing.
Amanda Blake Loved Animals
Miss Kitty was aptly named, considering how much the actress who played her loved and supported animals. She extended her time and money to try and help animals, and, if you ever saw her in a fur coat, you can bet that it was fake.
Blake often donated and worked to support animal rights and welfare organizations, many of them in Arizona, where she lived before her death.
Donating in Her Death
Amanda Blake passed in 1989. She left all of her remaining money (around $400,000) to PAWS. The clever acronym stands for Progressive Animal Welfare Society. The organization was owned by a friend of Amanda.
It's still active today and it works to rescue and care for unwanted animals that have been working in the entertainment industry. In 1997, they opened the Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge and Museum in California in her honor.
Dennis Weaver’s Departure
Weaver played his role as Chester Goode for over half of the show’s existence. But in 1964, he was offered a starring part in his own show, which he accepted.
"Kentucky Jones" is a dramedy about a horse trainer/veterinarian who adopts a child from China. It was only on the air for 26 weeks before it was ultimately canceled. He then went on to star in the title role on NBC’s police drama, "McCloud."
Follow Up Films
In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, there were several "Gunsmoke" films made to continue the world of Dodge. Among them were 1992’s "To the Last Man", and 1993’s "The Long Ride."
"The Last Apache" was released (on television) in 1990. In it, James learns that he fathered a daughter by a woman he met a very long time ago. The woman, whose name is Mike, tells him that their daughter, Beth, has been kidnapped, and Dillon of course goes to find and rescue her.
James Arness had a famous older brother, one who actually happened to work with him on "Gunsmoke" from behind-the-scenes.
James and his brother, Peter Graves, grew up together in Minneapolis. The "Mission Impossible" star also directed a 1955 episode of the show. Both James and Peter passed away within around the same year of each other in 2010 and 2011.
Outside of the Box
When you play the same role for 20 years, it can be hard to break away from that image. But that doesn’t mean Arness didn’t take on some additional roles outside of the show, too.
In the early 1950s, the actor appeared in two sci-fi films; "The Thing From Another World" and "Them!." In the first film, he is made up to appear as "The Thing," a role in which he appears completely different than the way his "Gunsmoke" fans are used to seeing him.
The Arness Family
James’ son Rolf was born three years before the first episode of "Gunsmoke" ever aired, and he had a sister named Jenny that was a few years older than him. He also adopted his wife's son, Craig, who eventually went on to become a successful photographer for National Geographic.
Unfortunately, things between him and his wife Virginia weren’t exactly great, and the two wound up filing for divorce. The couple ultimately split in 1963, in the middle of season 9 of the show. Things got even harder for James about 12 years later, when Jenny took her own life just a few years after the series ended.
Although most of the cast members of "Gunsmoke" have passed away, they will forever live on in the 20 years’ worth of episodes that they helped bring to life.
They will also live on in the hearts of their fans, many of whom grew up along with the characters in Dodge. The only regular cast member of the show who is still alive these days is actor and artist Buck Taylor.
The Opening Scene
Every episode opened with a gunfight between Matt Dillon and an undisclosed gunman. What not many people know is that it was shot on a main street that was also featured in other notable media.
The street was also used in 1952's "High Noon" as well as in Laurel and Hardy's 1937 film "Way Out West." When the 70s brought with it an anti-war and violent movement, the opening scene was changed to one of Matt riding a horse.
Miss Kitty's Questionable Profession
Some changes were made in the series when it made the move from radio to TV. One of them was Kitty's profession. In the radio show, it was clear that the Miss was a madam for working girls...
While in the first seasons of the TV adaption, her original profession was hinted at, at some point it was decided to drop it in order to make the show more family-friendly.
Staying for 20 Years
When a show lasts for two decades it's very unlikely that the same cast will remain with it for its entire run. James Arness the main star and Milburn Stone were the only two cast members who stayed with the show for its whole 635 episodes.
Milburn did miss out on six episodes, but he actually has a pretty good excuse. In 1971 he had a heart attack and had to be replaced for a few episodes until he could recover. Once he did, he got right back to work on the show.
How Do You Say "Gunsmoke" in Spanish?
The show did not enjoy success only in the United States, but also in other countries. A fun fact about the show is that when it showed in Spanish-speaking countries it actually had a different name.
Instead of "Gunsmoke", it was called "La ley del revólver." This translate to "The Law of the Revolver" which you have to admit is a pretty cool title that keeps the spirit of the show.
The Beginning Sequence
When it came time to adapt the show to TV, it only made sense to rely on the successful radio show as much as possible. This is why the show's opening sequence, which features James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon walking around Boot Hill was adapted directly from the radio show.
Considering how well "Gunsmoke" did on the radio, there was no reason to change anything at this point of the series.
Most successful and unsuccessful shows feature a romantic storyline. Romance is just a part of human nature and it's something that audiences definitely want to watch. Still, weirdly enough, in the entirety of the show's twenty seasons, the main character, Matt Dillon only kissed one woman.
That woman was American actress Michael Learned, who is known for 1972's "The Waltons." The kiss happened in 1973's episode "Matt's Love Story."
Twenty-Six Matt Dillons
The search for Matt Dillon, the show's main character, wasn't easy. In fact, in a 1975 issue of TV Guide, it was revealed that there were 26 different actors who auditioned for the desired role. John Pickard who, even after his death, is still known for his incredible work on TV westerns almost got the part but then didn't.
What happened? Well, when he had a chemistry test with Miss Kitty, he totally missed the mark. He did get to guest star in the show later.
Putting Westerns on the Map
Any show that lasted for two decades is bound to make a huge cultural impact somehow. The show had already made its first notable impact in the 50s. Together with 1955's "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp," it helped inspire and spark an interest in TV westerns.
Westerns actually became so popular that by the end of the decade there were over 30 westerns that inhabited the desirable primetime slot.
Dennis Weaver's Gumption
They say that making it in the entertainment industry is not merely about talent, but, it's about the ability to continue fighting even after all you've faced is rejection. Dennis Weaver is a great example of how grit and gumption can change an actor's life.
After he felt in his heart that his audition for Chester did not go as he wanted it to, Dennis Weaver contact the show's producers and asked for a second chance. This time he got the part.
Canceled Without Knowing
One terrible truth about Hollywood is that it's a ruthless place. A prime example of that is the fact that many shows are canceled without having the chance to know in advance. Many times, cast members only find out with the public itself.
This was the case for "Gunsmoke." After spending 20 years of their lives on the show, cast members were not told anything about the show's cancellation. In fact, they were sure they had three more seasons in store.
Firing the Writers
"Gunsmoke" creators took it upon themselves to make sure that their show stays fresh and innovative. Sadly, it seems that they went about it in an ungrateful way.
Every time they felt that the show's crew and the show's writers became tired and ran out of new ideas, they were fired and replaced by a new crew. While this helped to keep the show interesting for viewers, we imagine it was incredibly complicated for the crew and not great for the team's morale.
In order to make sure a show is successful in other countries, it many times has to go through a name change. This is simply because different cultures responded differently to the same thing. A name that works perfectly in America would not work the same in the UK. This is why when the show made it to the United Kingdom it received the name "Gun Law."
When the show first aired in the United Kingdom, it was known as "Gun Law". The opening title sequence was also re-shot with Dick Vosburgh as James Arness' double.
A Change of Name
Chester's last name wasn't always Goode. In fact, on the radio series, he had a completely different name. He was called Proudfoot, a word borrowed from J.R.R. Tolkien's work. One reason for the name change was all about ownership issues.
Nobody wants to go against someone as great and powerful as Tolkien. Also, the name wasn't even originally written for the radio show but was improvised by actor Parley Baer, when he was asked about his character's last name.
Steven Spielberg Was Inspired
In his 1971 film "Dual," Spielberg placed what we would call a nice Easter egg for "Gunsmoke" fans. In a certain scene, you can see a character played by Dennis Weaver stropping at a filling station.
After he drives off, the person who filled up his car tank can be seen walking back toward the station. He has an unmistakable limp, just like Weaver's character from this show.
The West Had It All
You can only assume that there was a limited enough pool of good actors who were into Westerns back in the 50s. Even though the genre was on the rise, not everyone wanted to be a part of it. But those who did would want to come back for more and more.
That's why James Arness and Dennis Weaver had actually been together in yet another western, 1952's "Horizons West."
Businesses in Dodge City
Looking at the show you will see different reassuring businesses, and while it might be easy to assume they are all a part of the set the truth is that at least some of them were actually local businesses that were used as filming locations.
The Dodge House, Lady Gay, and Long Branch were actual businesses in Dodge City.
Dennis Weaver Has No Regerts
Interviewers always love to ask tough questions and did not spare Dennis Weaver such questions when he decide to leave the show.
One time when he was asked about regret, he replied saying that he has regrets about leaving the series. His reasoning behind leaving was that his character, Chester, kept doing and saying the same things and it got repetitive.
Many Different Production Teams
Here is some production trivia for the nerds out there: The show was originally produced by Filmcrafters at the Producers Studio (now the Raleigh Studio). In 1960, CBS moved the production to KTLA studios which were then owned by the famous Paramount Pictures.
In 1963, the production saw yet another change, moving to CBS Studio Center, formerly Republic Studios. That's where they stayed till they were shut down.
Music in "Gunsmoke"
What would this show be without its opening theme? The "Gunsmoke" radio show theme called "Old Trails" later became the theme for the TV show.
It had no lyrics and it was composed by Rex Koury. The radio version was also conducted by the composer while the one on TV was most likely conducted by Lud Gluskin who was CBS' west coast music director.