Dennis Weaver was born ninety years ago today.
Weaver was born and raised on a farm in Missouri. He was a track and field athlete at the University of Oklahoma, then served as a Navy pilot in World War II. He was a 'registered' Cherokee and a respected actor.
He starred in the television movie, Duel, which some say launched Steven Spielberg's career and is still one of the greatest movies ever made for television. He starred in the successful television series
Gentle Ben, and later, as McCloud. Wonderful accomplishments, but to me, he will always and forever be Chester Goode from Gunsmoke.
Oh, didn't we love him? Mr. Dillon! Mr. Dillon! The faithful sidekick, with a drawl and a limp, who always came through just in the nick of time when Mr. Dillon needed him. In fact, I loved him so much, I wrote a poem about Gunsmoke when I was in the sixth grade. The assignment was to write an original poem that rhymed. Of course, I don't have a copy of the poem, but I can remember most of it. It has only been about fifty years, after all.
Would you like to have lived
in Gunsmoke days,
Where the gun was the law
in the old western ways?
Matt Dillon was the marshal
of Old Dodge City;
The owner of the Long Branch
was called Miss Kitty.
There was old Doc Adams
with his little black bag
and funny Chester Goode
with his stiff wooden leg,
There was lots of excitement
and many a thrill,
and most of the bad men
wound up on Boot Hill.
It seems like there was another verse but I can't pull it up right now. By the way, my teacher loved the poem.
Chester spread a lot of joy in the nine years he was on Gunsmoke. We still see reruns of Gunsmoke sometimes, but they are usually the ones that were made after Chester left the series.
I'm wondering which television stars our children will remember fifty years from now.