Why Milburn Stone Hated the ‘Gunsmoke’ Show Creator More Than Anybody in the World
Gunsmoke actor Milburn Stone was very passionate when it came to his performances. However, he had a certain way he liked to do things. As a result, he would butt heads with other creatives who also had the same level of stubbornness when it came to creative decisions. Stone once explained why he hated Gunsmoke television show creator Charles Marquis Warren.
‘Gunsmoke’ actor Milburn Stone played Doc Adams for 20 seasons
Stone was already a fan of the radio iteration of Gunsmoke before a television adaptation was on the table. So, when the opportunity came for him to play Doc Adams, he was incredibly excited to have the opportunity to audition. Stone never guessed that the show would explode to the level of popularity it did, ranking at the top of the rating charts for years.
The Western television show began with an introduction from movie star John Wayne. However, Gunsmoke would ultimately succeed thanks to its incredible cast, including Stone, James Arness, Amanda Blake, and Dennis Weaver. The show ran for a staggering 20 seasons between 1955-1975, becoming one of the most iconic television shows to ever grace the screen. Unfortunately, an initially planned Gunsmoke retrospective never happened.
In an interview with Kansas History, Stone talked about his experience working with Gunsmoke network CBS and Warren, who specialized in Westerns. Bringing this particular show from radio to television was one of his major career achievements alongside creating Rawhide, which starred Clint Eastwood and Eric Fleming. However, Stone absolutely couldn’t stand to exist in the same presence as Warren to the point where he nearly quit the show. However, his wife ultimately managed to keep him from leaving.
“In all fairness, I must say that I don’t know anybody in the world I dislike with the same fervor that I do Charles Marquis Warren,” Stone said. “I tried to get out of the show on account of him because he finally pushed it to a breaking point about the end of the first year. It grew until my wife, Janie [Garrison], used to say as I was going to work, ‘Now don’t have any trouble.’ Fortunately, Bill Warren wasn’t there very long.”
Gunsmoke was no different from other television shows in how it saw a revolving door of directors coming and going over the course of its run. However, this was another issue that the Doc actor ran into, but he also saw the value in working with different artists behind the camera. Stone called working with different Gunsmoke directors both “frustrating and gratifying.”
“Andy McLaglen and Ted Post and many of the other directors were just great,” Stone told Kansas History. “But there were a few who were totally incompetent. Later, a director didn’t really have a hell of a lot to do in Gunsmoke. Once it got going, and the characters and their relationships to each other were established, the director wasn’t that important.”