In 1955, Wright King got a big break when he was cast as a recurring character in Gunsmoke. And a few years later, so did his three sons.
That’s because four episodes later, the producers invited his kids to join Dennis Weaver’s three sons in an episode that was all about them.
In Little Girl, Ricky, Robby, and Rusty Weaver and Meegan, Michael and Wright, Jr. King played the sons of Wright King’s character.
The story followed a young girl named Charity Gill who lost her father to a cabin fire. And Marshal Dillon found her a home with King’s family.
Starring in the classic Western ended up giving four of the boys the acting bug. After filming the episode, all of Dennis Weaver’s sons continued to appear in television shows. And so did King’s boy, Meegan.
Wright King also stayed in the business, and his first major role came about the same year that his sons made their debut.
In 1960, he landed a regular spot alongside Steve McQueen on Wanted: Dead Or Alive. And McQueen sang praises for his new castmate.
“Wright King brings to our series an unusual ability to portray in full dimension a young man seeking to find the delicate balance between financial satisfaction – the reaping of a bounty – and the upholding of law and order by bringing criminals to justice,” he told The Daily Capital News.
Dennis Weaver’s Post ‘Gunsmoke’ Project Was a Flop
Dennis Weaver ended up staying with Gunsmoke for another four years before moving on. But unlike Wright King, his following project wasn’t successful.
Weaver went on to take the starring role in a series called Kentucky Jones. It followed Kentucky, a war veteran, who finds out that his late-wife adopted a son. The series didn’t get much love from audiences. And it ended up getting the ax after one season.
However, the flop didn’t stop Dennis Weaver from continuing his illustrious career. It didn’t take long for him to rebound and pick up a regular job with the show Gentle Ben. Then the actor kept himself busy with various shows and movies until he landed the part of Marshal Sam McCloud in the NBC series McCloud.
Upon its debut, the network only intended it to be a Sunday Mystery Movie. But because it was so popular, NBC turned it into full-on series that ran for seven years. McCloud ended up getting a handful of Emmy nominations its first year, including a nod for Dennis Weaver’s lead acting skills.
And it made sense that Weaver would be recognized for his role. Because as he later shared, Marshal Sam McCloud was very similar to his character in Gunsmoke.