This particular show, which aired in early 1959, is pure satire as the writers spoof the most successful TV western of the era: "Gunsmoke." Right from the opening scene, a low camera show between the legs of a gunfighter, you think immediately of James Arness as Marshal "Matt Dillon" with the familiar opening of that great show. Instead, we get Ben Gage as Marshal "Mort Dooley."
This entire Maverick episode spoofs Gunsmoke and all its main characters, from Dillon to Doc to Kitty and finally to Chester, the latter a gimpy guy made famous by an actor who went to bigger-and-better things: Dennis Weaver. In addition, there is a quick reference to yet another famous western of the '50s: "Have Gun, Will Travel." Yup, the writers here must have really had a ball scripting this episode and hoping the other shows would appreciate their tongue-in-cheek humor. One wonders if Arness ever appreciated Gage's imitation of him.
Every time "Clyde Diefendorfer" (Walker Edmiston) opened his mouth, imitating Weaver's "Chester Goode," I laughed out loud. Edmiston's voice was hilarious. As for Kitty, I am sure Amada Blake laughed when she saw how they really milked her "Be careful" lines in this satire, although by the fourth time we got the joke. Finally, Marshall Kent was a dead ringer for Milburn Stone's "Doc."
Even though I really laughed at all the character imitations, I loved Reginald Owen as "Freddie," the Englishman who had a hilarious way with words. His dialog was easily the most humorous to me and made this so much fun to watch.
If - I repeat IF - you are familiar with Gunsmoke, this Maverick episode will be among your favorites of all time.