Trivia / Gunsmoke

  • Corpsing: James Arness could control his laughter better than most actors, but often during filming the crew had to stop shooting because Arness got an uncontrollable case of the giggles.
  • The Danza: Howard McNear as Howard, general store clerk, in the TV version.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Dennis Weaver directed four episodes.
  • Executive Meddling: The show was to be cancelled after the 1966-67 season due to declining ratings, but it was the favorite of Barbara Mortimer, who just so happened to be married to William S. Paley, chairman of CBS; it was renewed at the last minute. To make place for it in the schedule, Gilligan's Island got the axe. Another attempt to cancel it was made after the 1970-71 season as part of The Rural Purge, but the decision was reversed due to Barbara's favoritism and the show's still-excellent Nielsen ratings (#5 in 1970-71; it went up to #4 in 1971-72); this time, Mayberry R.F.D. and Family Affair took the bullet instead.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Aaron Spelling appeared in one of the early episodes as a guitar player, a young Kurt Russell appeared in season 8, and Burt Reynolds was a long-running recurring actor on the series.
  • The Other Darrin: Various secondary characters were played by whoever was handy at the time- bank manager Mr. Botkin has at least three actors, sometimes rotating. The desk clerk at the Dodge House also rotated (occasionally with one of the men who played Mr. Botkin).
  • What Could Have Been: Ken Curtis was offered a chance to be in the TV movie sequels, but declined to reprise his role as Festus, feeling that Miss Kitty should be in the spotlight with Matt instead. If he HAD taken the job, it'd would've been Festus serving as Dodge's marshal rather than Newly.
  • You Look Familiar: Over the 20 season run, a few actors came back to play other characters.