James Arness 1923-2011

Friends, dim the lights a little in your living room because we’ve learned that TV Legend, James Arness, passed away yesterday.

How awesome must it have been to have your very first episode be introduced by John Wayne? A huge thanks to the Gunsmoke channel over on YouTube for this treat!

Now the first time I ever saw James Arness was as the titular alien ‘carrot’ being, the Thing From Another World!

James Arness was 88 years old, surviving his brother Peter Graves by 15 months. Arness played the role of Marshal Matt Dillion from 1955 to 1975 and even though his friend, John Wayne, suggested him for the part he almost didn’t take it. As his career in motion pictures was gaining steam he was worried that the only TV westerns to crack the top market were the Lone Ranger and the Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, it didn’t seem like a path he wanted to travel, buy Wayne convinced him to change his mind and agreed to introduce the first episode.