Monday, June 6, 2011

James Arness

I've tried to avoid turning the blog into "Obituary Central," but there are times when there are simply things worth noting.

You've probably heard by now that James Arness died Friday.

He played Marshal Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke" for twenty years, beginning in 1955.  It was an amazing run.

First, Matt Dillon was one of TV's all time great characters.  He fired only when absolutely necessary.  He had a big heart, although he tried not to show it.  Matt Dillon was a man of integrity, decency and common sense. 

You always suspected he had something going on with Miss Kitty, but it was never made clear.  Matt was the strong, silent type.

Second, there is the business of television.  There were 635 episodes of "Gunsmoke" produced.  That's an average of 32 per year-- and "Gunsmoke" was an hour long!  These days, you're lucky if you get 20 new episodes of a series per season.

The shows still hold up today.

James Arness was 88.