How Much Do You Know About Gunsmoke?

William Conrad played Marshall Matt Dillon on the radio.  He was considered too big for the TV role.

John Wayne was offered the part of Matt Dillon, but he wanted to stay in movies so he suggested James Arness for the role.  He then convinced Arness that he should play the part.

John Wayne introduced the first episode of “Gunsmoke”, September 10, 1955

Gunsmoke started as a 30 minute show and was later expanded to 1 hour

James Arness real life brother is Peter Graves who starred in “Mission Impossible”

James Arness was a WWII veteran who was wounded in the foot and leg in Italy when he was one of the first soldiers to storm the beaches.  He received a medical discharge but his injury caused him to have problems  with his legs.  He received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, the European–African-Middle Eastern Campaign medal with 3 bronze stars, the World War II Victory Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge

James Arness was 6 feet 7 inches tall

Matt Dillon would often sit in a chair in front of his office and snooze with his hat over his eyes

Marshall Dillon slept in his office

Buck was the name of Matt Dillon’s horse

Miss Kitty was the red headed saloon owner who was Matt Dillon’s girlfriend.  The part was played by Amanda Blake who had been a telephone operator before she was an actress

Amanda Blake died August 16, 1989

It was Dennis Weaver’s idea that Chester have a limp.

Chester had a brother named Magnus

Dennis Weaver was only 6 feet 2 inches tall.  He was an environmentalist and vegetarian

Festus Haggan’s twin brother was named Ferges.  He died before Festus met Matt

Festus had a male cousin named Maude

Festus mule was named Ruth

Doc’s  name was Galen Adams

The jail, Doc’s office and the Saloon were all on Front Street which was the main street in Dodge

The population of Dodge City during the time of Gunsmoke was  approximately 1000 people

Harve Daley (Gary Busey) was the last man killed on the show

President Lyndon Johnson’s wife Ladybird was a huge fan of the show.  When she learned Arness was a Republican she felt personally betrayed

Gunsmoke was scheduled to be cancelled because of low ratings in 1967. CBS president William Paley and his wife were big fans of the show so he tried moving it to Monday from Saturday (knocking out Gilligan’s Island in the process).   The TV show got back in the top 10 rankings for another 8 years.

Dennis Weaver, Milburn Stone (Doc) and Amanda Blake teamed up to sing together.  They broke the attendance record at the Albuquerque Arena during the 1960 New Mexico State Fair

Gunsmoke ran for 20 years.  It was TVs longest running prime time drama until the 2009/2010 season when it tied with Law and Order


  1. Richard Buckles says:

    It’s James Arness, not Arnez.

  2. Roger D Craft says:

    Festus’s brother was named Fergus nor Fergen

  3. Bob Wilson says:

    James Arness was awarded th Bronze Star, not Bronze Starr.

  4. Gayle Mull says:

    Was there an episode about how Chester hurt his leg?

    • Dodie says:

      I believe there was an episode that explained the limp. Can’t for the life of me remember why thou. :)

      • Kerrée says:

        I think it had to do with him being wounded in “the war.” I can’t remember which episode it was though.

      • steven says:

        he was an army cook and in a early season 1 episode i have the first nine seasons i believe been a while since i seen this one. but he was shot by a deserter. i will have to look that one up and watch it. but it is in season 1.

  5. Ricky Edwards says:

    Lorne Greene, Ben Cartwright, also rode the horse “BucK” on Bonanza. Matt and Kitty never kissed each other on the series.

  6. helen says:

    I love gunsmoke I can watch it 24-7 if it was on.

  7. Til this day I watch Gunsmoke and also the episodes of Matt Dillion. I was so shocked when I realized there was a 30 minute show “Matt Dillion” and began taping all of the shows. I love them so much. RIP James Arness.

  8. Papa says:

    Why was Doc’s office was up on the second floor? Sick/hurt people had to climb or be carried up a flight of stairs.

  9. ron victor says:

    I saw a copy of a girlie magazine on ebay with Amanda blake in it
    I think it was pin-up girls (non- nudity)
    it may have been frolic magazine

  10. sharon kelley says:

    I have watched this show many times, but some way I keep missing the final episode that Kitty was in. How did they explain her leaving?

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