Gunsmoke, the television western series, originally started on
radio in 1952 with William Conrad the voice of Matt Dillon. When it was decided to move to television John Wayne
was asked to be Marshall Matt Dillon but he turned it down because he didn't want the rigors of doing a weekly
television show. John Wayne recommended James Arness, a relatively new actor. John Wayne introduced the first
episode when it aired on CBS in 1955. There was a total of 233 thirty minute episodes and 402 sixty minute episodes
produced. It is still the longest running western ever produced.
Gunsmoke was set in Dodge City, Kansas. Although Marshall Dillon
and Kitty Russell, who own the Long Branch Saloon, had a flirtuous relationship, they never got together in the
entire 20 years on TV.
Doc Adams was the town doctor, who just like everybody else hung
out at the Long Branch.
There were many cast changes over the years. Chester, the
deputy, (played by Dennis Weaver) left the show in 1964 and Festus Hagan, a hillbilly by definition of the
word, became the deputy and remained for the rest of the show.
A young Burt Reynolds played the town's blacksmith for short
period of time. The series began in 1955 and ended 20 years later.
CBS aired the reruns as Marshall Dillion.
Marshall Matt Dillon
Deputy Chester Goode
Miss Kitty Russell
Deputy Festus Haggen
Galen 'Doc' Adams
Sam, the bartender
Clayton Thaddeus 'Thad' Greenwood