Tuesday, May 26, 2009

James Arness


One of my heroes turns eighty-six today. I was looking to post my favorite Gunsmoke episode, Mannon, where Steve Forrest gets the drop on Matt Dillon. Couldn't find it but TV Land has several fine episodes here. And The official James Arness Website has some interesting offerings and a place to leave him a message. Anyway, Happy Birthday Mr. Arness.

14 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Ah, Mannon is my favorite episode as well. It was so tense knowing the guy was clearly faster than Matt.

James Reasoner said...

Gunsmoke holds up better than many shows of its era, and James Arness is clearly a big part of the reason why. Happy birthday to him!

G said...

A definite big happy b'day to him.

Personally, I like the early B&W episodes that used to be shown on the Encore Westerns movie channel as opposed to the color ones on TV Land.

In my eyes, he still holds the record for the longest continuous portrayal of one character in t.v. history (and not Kelsey Grammer).

David Cranmer said...

Charles, The way Miss Kitty plays with Mannon's head after she had been raped is very powerful and when Mannon shot Matt Dillon in the last few minutes of the show its jaw-dropping.

James, I like the way they played around with the structure of the show, even later episodes when Matt Dillon's part was minor and the secondary characters or a drifter passing through had the limelight for the day.

G, They are probably the stronger episodes but I grew up on the color shows and those are the ones I gravitate to today. Ah, heck I like 'em all.

Barbara Martin said...

I watched Gunsmoke faithfully when it was on. Of course, the horses were a draw too. This is a wonderful birthday tribute to a good actor, David.

Diane said...

And I see where it's his friend John Wayne's birthday today.

Leah J. Utas said...

I loved Gunsmoke. Matt Dillon's 85? Damn.
I'll have to stop in at the Longbranch (in my mind) and toast him.

Bill Crider said...

And don't forget his great role as The Thing from Another World.

David Cranmer said...

Barbara, A very fine actor and his performances in ISLAND IN THE SKY and HONDO are terrific.

Diane, Yes and if you get a chance Jack Martin has a nice write-up for the Duke at The Tainted Archive.

Leah, I’m with you at the bar having a toast. And speaking of raising a glass check out this gag real Arness did during Gunsmoke’s run: http://video.aol.com/video-detail/james-arness-gunsmoke-dvd-clip-gag-reel/918521288

Bill, I forgot that James Arness was THE THING. And, of course, then there’s his role as the FBI agent in THEM. Ha! He ruined his monster career with those darn westerns.

Don Ward said...

I am partial to the earlier episodes with Dennis Weaver but have to side with you and Charles Gramlich that Mannon was the ball knocked farthest out of the Gunsmoke park. The reunion films were fairly well done and I wouldn't mind catching a second viewing.

Clare2e said...

Arness was great, and Christopher Lee just turned 87. Apparently, being kick-a$$ is good for longevity.

David Cranmer said...

Don, I saw the first one called RETURN TO DODGE where the character of Mannon is once again after Matt. Well done but I haven't seen the others in the film series and I'm not sure why. I just might have to look for them on DVD.

Clare, I agree.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi David,

Thanks for this. It's been a long time since I thought about Gunsmoke. It clearly was a treasure among the western TV shows. I'm going to check the links.

Terrie

David Cranmer said...

Terrie, It was fun for me returning to Dodge City. The episode Coreyville was pretty good and I think you will enjoy it.