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R.I.P. Matt Dillon

posted 6/3/2011 8:59:24 PM |
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  RevDocLove

James Arness of 'Gunsmoke' fame dead at 88
By FRAZIER MOORE AP Television Writer The Associated Press
Friday, June 3, 2011 6:37 PM EDT
It takes a special kind of lawman to carry on for 20 years in the Wild West of TV.

Matt Dillon, the mythical marshal of Dodge City, stood tall — all 6 feet, 6 inches of him — on "Gunsmoke" from 1955 to 1975. He outlasted dozens of other Western heroes while making history on TV's longest-running dramatic series, a record that held until NBC's "Law & Order" tied the CBS Western's record in 2010.

Through all those gunslinging years, James Arness, who died Friday, kept Marshal Dillon righteous, peace-seeking and, most of all, believable.

Fickle viewers can kill a TV hero as surely as a bullet from an outlaw's six-gun. But Arness knew how to maintain order not only in circa-1870s Dodge City, but also among the TV audience, whose itchy fingers on their channel changers he knew how to calm.

In an era when TV actors typically chewed the scenery, Arness had a credible, commanding presence by hardly uttering a word. A typical scene found a dozen cowboys riding up to the town jail intent on busting out a prisoner pal.

Dillon faces them all down.

"The first move anybody makes," he says, with a slight shake of his head, "I cut you in two."

Arness' defiant but rueful delivery is so understated, he makes Clint Eastwood seem like a loudmouth.

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Wordsofwit

Jun 3 @ 9:16PM  
We did not watch Gunsmoke primarily in the early years of say 1955 to 1965. My dad preferred Maverick, Cheyenne, and Sugarfoot for his prime time western fare. It was our secondary show, however. What I mean by that is we watched it when our primary show in its time slot went into reruns. I liked all of the characters on that show. Arness was a very humble and nice man from all accounts. As a trivia piece, his younger brother was Peter Graves known for Mission Impossible. Here is the bio for Arness.
sugarnspice005

Jun 3 @ 9:57PM  
Dammit!! That title to this blog about gave me a heart attack Rev!!! I thought for a second you meant THIS Matt Dillon:

Matt Dillon

I had heard about James Arness earlier on the news. My Dad used to watch Gunsmoke when my sisters and I were kids. I remember some of it. It wasn't a show I really watched a lot of. I always liked Bonanza more.

But yes, another great has passed.

R.I.P James Arness, aka, Matt Dillon.
Wordsofwit

Jun 3 @ 10:02PM  
I thought for a second you meant THIS Matt Dillon:

That was my first impression until I read what was below it in the listing on the blogs page.
PinkToeNails

Jun 3 @ 11:17PM  
Jack Kevorkian died today too.

And like sugar, I thought Matt Dillon when I first read this!
flavorbuster

Jun 4 @ 1:37AM  
Jack Kevorkian died today too.
And he is probably accepting lap dances from the fires of hell about now.
samclaunts

Jun 4 @ 1:43AM  
when I was young I tried to outdraw Mat Dillon at the start of each new gun smoke, that is until I shot my Dads television set was the only time in my life my Dad ever spank me I stii love the reruns even today and yes I still try out my quick draw on the older shows
1bunny629

Jun 4 @ 2:28AM  
I loved watching Gunsmoke with my Dad...Miss Kitty was the bomb digity. I liked Bonanza too...i had a crush on Haus...Little Joe was to much of a weenie for me. Rip Matt.
My Mom turned 87 Friday.

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R.I.P. Matt Dillon