‘Gunsmoke’ Star Dennis Weaver’s Next Show After Iconic Western Was a Major Flop

by Joe Rutland
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Dennis Weaver had a great role on Gunsmoke as Chester Goode. When he left the CBS western, Weaver had another show but it didn’t work out.

To be honest, Outsiders, this show was a complete flop. Let’s take a look at how all of this went down with some help from Amomama.

Weaver’s show was called Kentucky Jones. It didn’t get a lot of support from TV audiences and ended up on the cancellation heap.

But he didn’t miss out on another role. Dennis Weaver started playing Marshal Sam McCloud in the NBC series McCloud. At one time, it was part of a rotation called the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie. It also would go on and be a series unto itself.

Funny, though, that Weaver claimed later on it was similar to Chester on Gunsmoke.

Weaver also played Tom Wedloe, a Florida game warden, between 19676-69 in Gentle Ben. The show starred Clint Howard as Mark Wedloe and, well, a black bear as Ben.

‘Gunsmoke’ Star Had Starring Role In First Picture From Steven Spielberg

Way before he got famous for Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a young director named Steven Spielberg released his first film.

Weaver of Gunsmoke fame had a starring role.

As we said earlier, Weaver, buy 1970, started playing Sam McCloud. He’d gotten some name recognition.

Yet also appeared in movies, too. Spielberg was looking for someone to star in his first film called Duel.

Weaver took the role in the 1971 TV film and it gave the director a leg up in the industry. Weaver was a salesman who gets hounded by a crazed tanker truck driver.

The director talked about getting Weaver in the book, Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Film Career.

Spielberg said he had always been a fan of Dennis Weaver “because he played the night watchman in Touch of Evil. I probably wouldn’t have thought of Dennis Weaver, had it not been for Touch of Evil.”

Actor Talks About Audition Process For Iconic Chester Role On TV Western

Weaver had an interesting story about auditioning for Chester in Gunsmoke.

The veteran actor talked with TV Legends about the process of trying out for the role.

Weaver said he showed up and they asked him to read for Chester. He stepped out of the room and looked over the script they gave him. “It was so inane. I thought, ‘No one could be this silly.'”

He asked if they didn’t want him to read for Matt Dillon. No, they replied.

Weaver tried using his Actors’ Studio training. That didn’t go over well.

Then, he tossed in an Oklahoma accent, read again, and the rest is history.

Outsider.com