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The primary roles were all recast, with James Arness taking the lead role of Marshal Matt Dillon (on the recommendation of Wayne, who also introduced the pilot). Dennis Weaver playing Chester Goode; Milburn Stone being cast as Dr. G. “Doc” Adams and Amanda Blake taking on the role of Miss Kitty Russell. MacDonnell became the associate producer of the TV show and later the producer. Meston was named head writer.
Chester and Festus Haggen are perhaps Dillon’s most recognizable sidekicks, though there were others who would become acting-deputies for two and a half to seven and a half year stints. Quint Asper (Burt Reynolds) (1962–1965), Thad Greenwood (Roger Ewing) (1966–1968) and Newly O’Brian (Buck Taylor) (1967–1975), who served as both back-up deputy and doctor-in-training, having some studies in medicine via his uncle which then continued under Doc Adams.