Festus was left out of the 1978 Gunsmoke reunion

Ken Curtis was snubbed when CBS turned 50.

On Now
MeTV Presents the Best of Festus Haggen
Up Next:

A 1978 article in the Indianapolis Star details the difficulties Milburn Stone had with retirement. Fans of classic westerns will likely remember Stone as crusty ol' Doc Adams on Gunsmoke. In the interview, Stone points out his struggles with inactivity, and the ways not working had affected his life. It turns out, not everybody pictures a leisurely later life filled with golf and lounging. While he had plenty of time for fishing trips, the golf was driving him crazy, and the lack of activity was, to Stone, "grating."

However, a more interesting detail included in the article concerns another cast member from Stone's Gunsmoke. In '78, Milburn Stone had just returned from a rare trip to Hollywood where he participated in the CBS-TV 50th anniversary celebration. As the network capped its fifth decade, CBS aired a series of two-hour specials to pay tribute to its 50 years of TV highlights. Of the 120 stars that flocked to Hollywood for the celebratory tapings, there were several actors from Gunsmoke.

Stone's appearance marked a reunion with Gunsmoke's James Arness, who played Marshal Matt Dillon. They were joined by Dennis Weaver, who played Deputy Chester Goode.

 "I felt bad because Ken Curtis —who played Festus— wasn't included," Stone told the Indianapolis Star.

No details were given for the snub, but Curtis wasn't alone among Gunsmoke stars who weren't in attendance.

"Amanda Blake (Kitty) was invited, but she couldn't make it," said Stone.

"But Jim and Dennis and I spent the whole day talking about the good times we had together.

"Jim said, 'I guess we didn't know how lucky we were,' And I told him, 'Maybe you didn't, but I sure as h— did!'

For our money, no Gunsmoke reunion could be complete without the patron saint of not washing oneself, Festus. As played by Ken Curtis, Festus was an irreplaceable part of what made Gunsmoke so special in the first place. Excluding Festus is unpatriotic.

Watch Gunsmoke on MeTV!

Monday - Saturday at 1 PM & 1:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

8 Comments

LynCarrigan 3 months ago
Back in the days of our favorite Westerns nobody washed very much. Maybe I really wouldn’t have liked to be picked up and cuddled by Matt.
cperrynaples 4 months ago
A correction: 1978 was the 50th anniversary of the CBS radio network! It would be another 20 years before they would expand into TV! "CBS:On The Air" did acknowledge some of the radio years but basically ignored the William Conrad audio version of Gunsmoke!
RedSamRackham 4 months ago
* Dennis Weaver quit Gunsmoke to escape being typecast as Chester. Ken Curtis filled the gap well as Festus keeping the series going for many more seasons. But was Ken actually snubbed or did they just have trouble locating him?
CelticTwilight 4 months ago
"Excluding Festus is unpatriotic."
Unpatriotic?
You keep using that word, I don't think it means what you think it means. 🤣🤣🤣
AgingDisgracefully 4 months ago
I still can't understand why golf is considered reward, enjoyment or necessary.
WGH 4 months ago
I always liked Dennis Weaver's character Chester better.
Runeshaper 4 months ago
Ken Curtis should have been invited. That's not cool.
cperrynaples 4 months ago
Yep, he should have been there! He died before the reboots!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?