Though Chester Goode walked with a permanent limp, the “Gunsmoke” actor Dennis Weaver says it was all a part of the act. However, that didn’t stop concerned fans from sending letters to Weaver asking if he was really hurt.
According to Me TV, Weaver decided to add Chester’s limp as a part of the audition. He did this to give the character a little more depth and a backstory. He even once shared that he wanted to make Chester seem more like a real person.
“I thought I would correct [the part]…would use all of my Actor’s Studio technique, and method, and all of that. I would correct that character. I’d make him real,” he said.
The “Gunsmoke” actor was careful to make sure his stronger leg (left) was in working condition – thus adding a stiff-legged limp with his right. He formerly said this was because he knew he needed to mount horses and would need his left leg. And so Chester’s limp was born.
And apparently, hundreds of concerned fans had to find out if that limp was real. They did this by writing directly to the actor – who shared that he was flattered so many people were looking out for him.
Additionally, in 1957, a fan named Jane Mucke decided to write to a column then-called “Please Ask.” She wanted the columnist to address the “Gunsmoke” actor directly.
“Are you really lame, or is the limp you use playing Chester Goode in ‘Gunsmoke’ an act? If you are lame, how did I happen?”
“Gunsmoke” Actor Shares Interactions with Fans
The question may not have gone over as well these days, but Weaver was more than happy to share the truth about his leg.
“No, I’m not really lame. His stiff leg is just a character touch, thank goodness. However, I still get hundreds of letters asking if the limp is real. This is rather flattering to me as an actor,” he said.
Further, Weaver said that many “Gunsmoke” fans just assumed his limp was real and sent letters of encouragement.
“Some people don’t even ask, they just assumed I have a bad leg,” Weaver said. “One nice lady wrote and told me she thought it was wonderful that CBS had given a disabled veteran a chance.”
And while the lady obviously had no idea Chester’s limp was just a creation from Weaver, it certainly was sweet of her to write to the actor.
Dennis Weaver had a successful career thanks to “Gunsmoke.” The program ran for 20 years and gave him a huge platform. Additionally, the part of Chester Goode was Weaver’s first long-running role in television. The actor passed away at the age of 81 in 2006.