RIP Marshall Dillon

James Arness, a bigger-than-life actor who kept the peace as Marshal Matt Dillon on 'Gunsmoke' for its 20-year run, died Friday of natural causes at his home in Brentwood, Calif.
Probably a bit too ‘yesterday’ to attract much response rebel, unless you’re around the Bus Pass stage :omg:

‘At-the-time’ Gunsmoke – or Gun Law as I first knew it – was considered adult and heavyweight TV. It edged towards lethal violence while being less ‘plastic’ (though by no means completely) than the Boys Own children’s programmes like the Lone Range, Range Rider, etc. - though going from b/w to colour didn't help.

Everyone knew where Dillon got his cocoa three times a week, courtesy Miss Titty, sorry Kitty, but a bit of suggestive eye-to-eye was as far as was shown.

Kitty was probably the least credible character, with top fashion apparel and hair-do’s, in her luxuriant saloon establishment and never a hint she made her money laying on her back.

The ramshackled ‘Doc’ was quite plausible, though not shown as the implied drunken old sot. Although he never said ”I’m a doctor, not a magician.”, he really was a forerunner of Star Trek’s ‘Bones’ McCoy.

Doc – Festus – Titty - Dillon

Looking back at cast members over the years (20 of them), Dennis Weaver and Burt Reynolds are impressive, but these went on to be mega stars and did not come to the show as such.

Along with the Doc, Weaver’s ‘slow’ Winchester toting Deputy character with a limp, Chester, was one of the lesser ‘plastic’ characters.

Least ‘plastic’ had to be Ken Curtis (whose father was a real County Sheriff), another of Dillon’s ‘odd’ deputy’s, Festus, who rolled his earthy character out for so many other Westerns.

Shame Arness didn’t attract more of an accolade at his passing. Considering American TV rules and restraints of the day, Dillon was probably the ‘Dirty Harry’ of that time. Dirty Harry was the modern cop version of the ‘Fist full of Dollars’ character, who was Italian, who was nicked from the Japanese samurai, who was inspired by American Westerns – e.g. Matt Dillon :wink:

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