Miss Kitty’s mole on Gunsmoke was not real, but it could have been one of Amanda Blake’s real freckles which they simply enhanced for the show.
Marshal Matt Dillon may have been the lead in Gunsmoke, but Miss Kitty quickly became a favorite among fans who watched the show.
The behind-the-scenes details of Miss Kitty’s iconic mole have never been explained, but since it was not part of the character’s design from the beginning of the show, it was likely not real.
Why Miss Kitty is a fan-favorite to this day
Old western television shows were traditionally more focused on the male cowboys than their female counterparts and in Gunsmoke, Marshal Matt Dillon was certainly the show’s star.
However, not being the show’s lead character never stopped the fiery red-headed saloon owner, Miss Kitty, from stealing the spotlight, Dillon’s heart and ultimately the hearts of countless Gunsmoke fans over the years.
In fact, Amanda Blake’s iconic character was such an integral part of the Gunsmoke narrative that many believe that her exit from the show in its 19th season is the real reason why it was cancelled only a year later.
Was Miss Kitty’s mole real on Gunsmoke?
Over the 20 years that Gunsmoke was on the air, the series had to adapt to stay ahead of many of the new trends, changes and fads.
The show transitioned from half-hour episodes to full-hour episodes and even made the transition from black and white to color film in 1966. One thing that stood the test of time, however, was Miss Kitty’s mole.
Beauty marks, moles and freckles have a history in the beauty world which stretches all the way back to ancient Egypt, Rome and Imperial China.
And by the time that Gunsmoke started airing in 1955, modern starlets like Marilyn Monroe had already brought this look back into fashion.
Like many of the behind-the-scenes details of the Gunsmoke set, the legitimacy of the mole on Miss Kitty’s right cheek has always been highly debated.
Some fans have even gone as far as speculating that Blake just covered the mole in real life, which is why it never shows up on any of her non-Gunsmoke-related photographs.
However, Miss Kitty’s mole did not appear in the first few episodes of the show (and it even often moved around a few times after that).
Hence, it is highly likely that Blake did not have a mole on her cheek in real life, and that the show’s costuming and make-up department simply painted one on for the character.
When did Miss Kitty’s mole first appear?
When you look back now, it is evident that Gunsmoke was still finding its feet in the first few episodes.
Several of the iconic details that we now automatically associate with the show – including Miss Kitty’s mole and the “Buscadero” holster (which later became a standard part of many of the cowboys’ costumes) – were only introduced a few episodes in.
Miss Kitty’s mole first appears in the 27th episode of the first season, titled “Cooter.” But in the 36th episode, her mole disappears and reappears sporadically.
Later, in the “Kitty Caught” episode from the third season, her mole is completely missing (oops!).
The mole was not the only change made to Miss Kitty’s character
Miss Kitty’s mole was not the only detail about the character which was changed in Gunsmoke’s first season.
When the show first made the leap from radio drama to the small screen, CBS reportedly allowed the producers and writers to keep some jokes which alluded to Miss Kitty’s original, and much more scandalous, job.
However, pushback from conservative fans ultimately convinced them to turn Miss Kitty into the entrepreneurial Long Branch Saloon owner that we know and love today.
The Freckle Theory
Although you may have not noticed this whilst watching the first few seasons of Gunsmoke, one of the many traits that Blake transferred from her own life into the role as Miss Kitty, was the fact that she was a natural redhead.
As a result, she also had many naturally-occurring freckles on her face, including one very noticeable freckle on her right cheek.
Many Gunsmoke fans believe that the show’s make-up department simply grew tired of covering up this freckle by the time that they shot the 27th episode of the first season.
And that as the show continued (and Miss Kitty’s character became more integral to the plot) they simply decided to enhance Blake’s freckle instead.
This would also help to explain why Miss Kitty’s mole moved up or down a little sometimes and why Blake could hide this feature so easily on other sets and in photographs.