Friday, June 3, 2011

Marshall Matt Dillon a/k/a Actor James Arness Dead, at 88

Actor James Arness died today. 

Ohmygoddess.  I don't know what it was about that show that gripped me so -- 

I don't remember watching it while I lived at home, growing up.  The very first time I remember watching it was when I lived with a roommate, a high-school chum, Linda M., in a 2-bedroom place off Cambridge Avenue on Milwaukee's trendy East side.  That had to be about 1971 or 1972.  I don't know how we started watching the show, but I think it was on Friday nights.  Watched it a few times and thereafter watched it faithfully until it went off the air.  I thought it was later than 1975.  Wow.  I remember good story lines and fine acting. 
From IMDb.
 We were totally enamoured of the relationship between the Marshall and Miss Kitty.  So much of it was unspoken - but that they loved each other intensely, and respected each other greatly, was apparent in the words they did say, and each and every nuanced gesture between them.  It was the great love story that spanned 20 years that I remember first and foremost, and then - the stories themselves, week after week. Such fine writing!  Oh, I know it sounds ridiculous that a hot chick in her early 20's was hooked on Gunsmoke, but you know, back then, like EVERYONE watched that program! 

Now that I'm taking a trip down memory lane to those years, I remember how pissed I was when the network took the show off the air.  It was on CBS - the network with the big "eye" logo that was always just a bit spooky - too much like 1984, I guess. 

There were lots of westerns on when I was growing up.  My friend Ann loves watching re-runs of The Big Valley today - she loves the character of "Nick Barkley" - he's her true idea of what a real man should be (can't say I totally disagree).  I remember growing up watching Bonanza.  There were also rotating western series that I remember -- Bronco (Bronco Lane), Maverick, Wyatt Earp, Daniel Boone (not really a "western"), probably a few others.  And such shows as Have Gun Will Travel (Paladin was the last name of the main character), Wagon Train, and The Rifleman. 

An era is truly gone now.  My Dad, a WWII vet who died just a few days before Veteran's Day in November, 2002, used to speak highly of James Arness and his war record. Even as a young inexperienced chick in the early 70's I could appreciate a man that my Dad spoke highly of.  Marshall Dillon never disappointed.


Orlando said...

Hace un par de años estaba jugando al ajedrez por INTERNET con una persona con quien establecí un diálogo y dijo ser James Arness, el Sherif Matt Dillon de la Ley del Revólver. Personalmente me impactó su humildad, pero siempre me quedó la duda. James Arness jugaba ajedrez por INTERNET? Saludos desde Argentina!
It does a pair of years was playing chess by INTERNET with a person with whom I established a dialogue and he said to be James Arness, the Sherif Matt Dillon. Personally his humility he impacted me, but always the doubt he remained me. James Arness played chess by INTERNET? Greetings from Argentina !

Jan said...

Hola Orlando.

I believe that James Arness was an avid amateur chessplayer. So perhaps the person "James Arness" that you played chess with online was Marshall Mat Dillon. Thank you for posting this wonderful story!

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