CBS (ended 1975)
|In the earlier appearances of Festus he was, (for him) more down to earth. Later with the color ep he seemed to change. As once was put by someone on this forum "a buffoon". As I remember, my family and friends grew tired of him fast, he became very irritating. As I look again at some of the ep today, and see how Matt, Kitty and Doc react to some of his actions, and "yarns", I wonder how much of those disgusted facial expressions from the other three were real, rather than acting, especially Matt and Doc. There was a period where it almost became the "Festus Show", where he was in ep 80-90% of the time. I understand there are many out there who liked his character, if not, I'm sure he would have faded from sight.|
|Yes, I think you are showing your personal preference there, Al. lol. But, I also think you're right that at the time dennis weaver left the show, the producers, and cast for that matter would have preferred that he stay with the show rather than threaten to break up the chemistry that had proven so successfull.|
I've watched Gunsmoke from the beginning and think the addition of Ken Curtis was a stroke of brilliance. The character ofChester wore thin in short order.He tended to whine too much and the 'limp' got annoying too. Chester was Dodge City's Beaver Cleaver. (Gee Mr. Dillon) No offense to Jerry Mathers. Chester wasa one dimensionalcharacter whereas Festus had a dark side, a mysterious side if you will. His was morerounded thanthat of Chester.
Ken Curtis fashioned his character of Festus afterhis part in The Searchers. His father in law, John Ford insisted he use the accent he'd overheard Curtisusing while kidding around with Harry Carey Jr. Curtis objected, however,no one has ever won an argument with John Ford; not Henry Fonda or Ben Johnson to name a few of Ford's combatants.
The bottom line is Festus was a welcomed addition to the cast of Gunsmoke.