“Gunsmoke” is known for its classic Western-themed crime and punishment narrative. Bad people roll into the town and Marshal Matt Dillon is responsible for making everything right.
While gunfights and violence became trademarks of the classic show, three stars actually found a completely different passion during their time on the show.
Three actors actually started a singing group together while on “Gunsmoke.”
‘Gunsmoke’ Singing Trio
According to IMDb, Dennis Weaver, Milburn Stone, and Amanda Blake formed a singing trio in 1958. The three went on to perform at the Albuquerque Arena during the New Mexico State Fair.
The “Gunsmoke” trio actually broke the house record for the venue at the time. The trio was formed only about three years into the release of the show. During the show’s run, characters like Miss Kitty and Chester would sing on occasion.
While they weren’t playing Miss Kitty, Doc, and Chester, the three had some other attention-worthy talents. An old newspaper article from the Desert Sun in 1959 titled “‘Gunsmoke’ Stars Kitty, Doc and Chester Are Trying To Revive Vaudeville With Their Act” discussed some of their achievements.
The three had a song-dance-and-comedy act that was popular for rodeo and state fair circuits. The group also did telethons. It was originally Milburn Stone’s idea to get the performing act started.
“We do singles, doubles and triples including a soft shoe. We have a western group backing us bass, guitar and accordion called The Frontier Boys and Joanie. Joanie plays the guitar,” Milburn said.
Dennis Weaver would also go on to record a series of albums in the 1970s. The albums tapped into his country roots.
Dennis Weaver Environmentalist
Outside of “Gunsmoke” and being a performer alongside his co-stars, Weaver was also a devout environmentalist.
According to MeTV, Weaver and his wife built a home in Ridgway, Colorado. It was referred to as an “Earthship,” which was a type of house designed by Michael Reynolds. His house consists of all recycled materials, specifically car tires and metal cans.
These “Earthships” can range from expensive million-dollar homes to smaller projects in developing countries. There are only about 1,000 in existence.
“When you build a house out of cans and used automobile tires, it gets a lot of attention,” Weaver wrote in his memoir, “All the World’s a Stage.”
Weaver promoted the use of alternative fuels. In fact, he had his own nonprofit organization called the Institute of Ecolonomics. In 2004, he led a large fleet of alternative-fueled vehicles across the U.S. It helps raise awareness for America’s growing dependence on oil.