One of the most well-loved shows of all time, Gunsmoke ran for 20 years on CBS. It focused on Matt Dillon, a United States Marshal who had to maintain order in Dodge City.
The show’s main character was played by James Arness, who later passed away at the age of 88 in 2010. In addition to Arness, other stars who appeared on the series include Milburn Stone (Doc Adams), Buddy Ebsen (Beverly Hillbilly), Bette Davis, and Richard Dreyfuss.
Dennis Weaver, who played Chester Goode, was an actor who had a lot of grit and gumption to fight for his success. After he was rejected in his initial audition, Weaver went back to the studio and contacted the producers to try again.
When he did, Weaver was cast as the lead character on the show. He decided to make his character more authentic by adding a limp and speaking in a Midwestern twang.
Despite his popularity, Weaver left the show during Season Nine. Production brought in Ken Curtis to replace him as Festus Haggen.
The reason why Weaver limped on the show is a mystery, though many fans believe it had something to do with his height. Weaver was six-foot-two, which was considered short for a leading man on the show.
Weaver also said he thought about mechanically freezing his right knee to commit completely to the role. But ultimately, he realized that it was too hard to keep up with the limp for all of Chester’s scenes. Plus, the showrunners didn’t enforce it all of the time, which led to several slip-ups.