‘Gunsmoke’ Star Milburn Stone Once Voiced His Displeasure With Changes on the Show

by Joe Rutland
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Never let it be said that Gunsmoke star Milburn Stone was a wallflower when it came to things on the show. Some changes did not sit well.

Stone played trusty Doc Adams for 20 seasons on the CBS Western drama alongside James Arness. Still, what caused his displeasure? Let’s take a look at an article provided by GunsmokeNet.com.

Geez, old Milburn sure could be cranky. His beef this time was around then-producer Norman Macdonnell, who originated the Gunsmoke series with writer John Meston, was told to take a hike by CBS.

“We were all stunned,” Stone said. “They called Norm over to CBS at 6 o’clock one evening and told him the news.”

Philip Leacock, a native of Great Britain who only had been a director before now, was named producer. “And,” Stone said, “the scripts coming through now are written by people who don’t understand the show at all.”

Yikes, it sounds like Doc Adams needed some bicarb or Asprin to deal with the changes. But his complaints became a big less as time went on and he actually started getting along with Leacock. Or maybe it was vice-versa.

What we do know is that Gunsmoke lasted for a long, long time on CBS. Stone had a heck of a run on the network and, well, at one point he even sold back his residual contract to the network. That brought Stone a nice, tidy sum of cash.

Oh, if you want to catch Gunsmoke on a TV near you, then look for any network with a Western theme of programming. It’ll be running somewhere as Matt Dillon looks to keep Dodge City safe from bad guys.

Where can you see all 20 seasons of Marshall Dillon, Miss Kitty, Festus, Doc, and more? The INSP Channel will be your TV home for those color episodes that aired originally on CBS.

A total of 480 episodes make up the show’s library. Look for INSP on your TV options at home. While we are talking about those episodes, it might be good to point out that guest stars galore showed up on Gunsmoke.

Some even would go on and star in their own Western shows. We get an assist from MeTV to help us out.  

There was Dan Blocker, who played “Hoss” Cartwright on Bonanza. Blocker appeared in two small roles in the CBS series.

Also, Pernell Roberts, who played Adam Cartwright, appeared on Gunsmoke before and after his time on the Ponderosa. Lee Majors and Peter Breck did guest-star turns before ending up on The Big Valley with Barbara Stanwyck and Linda Evans. Even Jack Kelly from Maverick popped on over in Gunsmoke for an episode.

Outsider.com