Obituary

 

I never was a big fan of Westerns, so I'll leave it to others - the Commander, most likely - to talk about his role on Gunsmoke. As for myself, I'll always remember the man for his parts in two of my favorite sci-fi films. 

 

Arness played the title role in the 1951 classic, The Thing from Another World.  I think that I can say without fear of contradiction that no man ever gave a finer performance as a giant, inarticulate, bloodthirsty space carrot.

 

Arness also played G-Man Robert Graham in 1954's Them!, in my opinion the best of the 1950's "giant insect" films.

 

His brother, the late Peter Graves, was in a bunch of great old sci-fi films, too.  They just don't make actors like them, anymore.

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I have Them! in my pile of movies to watch right now. (It's about 2 down from being watched.) I always loved it as a kid, and will certainly have a moment of silence for Mr. Arness before I view it.

He will be missed.

Them! and The Thing From Another World are two of my favorite movies, well-acted and tightly plotted. James Arness made those pictures memorable (for different reasons, of course).

I grew up watching Gunsmoke -- how could you not? It was on forever ... it started on TV before I was born, and before that began on radio before my parents were born. It was the king of the TV Western, outlasting Wagon Train, Bonanza, The Virginian, The Big Valley, etc., etc., and so forth.

 

That's right, 20 years on the air, from 1955 to 1975, a record matched, but not surpassed, by Law & Order. But, unlike Law & Order, Gunsmoke did it with the same leads through most of its run. James Arness and Milburn Stone stayed through all 20 seasons, although health problems kept Stone out of some episodes here and there, especially in the final year; Amanda Blake was in the first 19 seasons.

 

I remember Gunsmoke for Arness and his quiet dignity; his Marshal Dillon was tall, strong, fair, could handle himself in a brawl. 

 

The thought occurs to me -- did he and his brother, Peter Graves, ever appear in anything together? That would have been interesting ... 

Rats.
Last I heard, Peter Graves might have directed an episode of Gunsmoke, but can anyone contact Mark Evanier to find out for sure?
Accorcing to the IMDb, he did direct a second series episode, Which Dr.

The thought occurs to me -- did he and his brother, Peter Graves, ever appear in anything together? That would have been interesting ...

 

I don't remember which one said it, but the joke they never appeared together is that they were stuck in different times. Or something to that effect.

So long, Mr. Dillon.  My father loved your time on Gunsmoke.

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