Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dennis Weaver

I've mentioned several famous and semi-famous people from the Ozarks in past posts. Another person who comes to mind is Dennis Weaver, who grew up in Joplin, where I currently live. The house where Weaver lived as a boy, in the 600 block of Brownell, is still standing, and Joplin has a street near the airport named after Weaver. As a young man, Weaver attended Joplin Junior College (which grew into Missouri Southern State University).
Weaver is mainly remembered for his roles in three TV series: Gunsmoke, Gentle Ben, and McCloud. One of my most vivid memories of the McCloud series is the time Weaver's character was being tracked by radar and, to his boss's alarm, it showed him going across New York City on a diagonal at over 100 miles an hour. Come to find out, he had somehow managed to get himself into a predicament that forced him to be hanging on to the bottom rails of a speeding helicopter. Another vivid memory is the made-for-TV movie Duel, in which Weaver was being chased by a seemingly driverless semi-trailer truck.



Anonymous Daniel R. Baker said...

I remember Weaver mainly for two roles. One is the trail boss R.J. Poteet in the miniseries Centennial. The other is an outstanding but forgotten performance from a very intense, disturbing and well-done Western called Duel at Diablo. Duel at Diablo also stars James Garner and Sidney Poitier, and casts Weaver as a villain, where he manages to be truly vile while still being recognizably human. It may be the best job Weaver ever did.

December 4, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

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