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James Arness: Passes At Age 88

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Bloviating Zeppelin: James Arness: Passes At Age 88

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

James Arness: Passes At Age 88

James King Arness, TV and film actor, passed away yesterday (Friday, June 3rd) at the age of 88 at his Brentwood home in Los Angeles.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 26th of 1923, James was the older brother of -- you guessed it -- Peter Graves.

Peter Graves was born Peter Aurness on March 18th of 1926 -- and passed away of a heart attack on March 14th of last year (four days prior to his 84th birthday), at the age of 83 -- before his older brother, James. Peter was 6'3" tall. You likely remember Peter Graves as the IMF leader in Mission Impossible (great score by Lalo Schifrin), as well as his classic portrayal as Captain Clarence Oveur in the 1980 movie "Airplane!"

Few people realize this, but the first famous screen appearance of James Arness was in the 1951 Howard Hawks film "The Thing From Another World" (later shortened to "The Thing"), starring Kenneth Tobey. At 6'7", Arness was the perfect size for a looming creature (which you only glimpsed briefly). The film was from the 1938 novella "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, Jr.

Arness, however, was best known for his portrayal of western Marshal Matt Dillon in the TV series "Gunsmoke," which ran from 1955 to 1975, in an amazing series of 635 episodes! This qualifies the show as the longest running prime-time series to date in the US. [I should care to point out that the bartender in the Gunsmoke series, Glenn Strange, portrayed Frankenstein in the 1948 film, "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."]

It was his friend, John Wayne, who actually recommended Arness for the title role of Marshal Dillon because, at the time, Wayne had taken the time to personally record an introduction to the television series. Wayne and Arness had made four films together in the 1950s. It was via that friendship that Arness was introduced to the TV media at large.

In 1989, People magazine chose the top 25 TV stars of all time. James Arness was number 6.

Being well into my sixth decade, I can clearly remember James Arness standing tall and solid.

God bless you, sir.

You provided many people, for many years, with an entertainment form and series that cannot possibly be reproduced in terms of quantity or quality. Those are facts in evidence. May you rest in eternal and comforting peace, sir.



My father passed at age 88, just a few days prior to his 89th birthday.


Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

Kanab, Utah, hosted many movie crews and actors. James Arness was well regarded there. The residents regarded him as one of their own.
Just a good human being.

Sat Jun 04, 06:11:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

When I was a child, I had a crush on "Matt Dillon." In fact, he was my first crush. So, I am saddened by his passing, but know that he's released now from his living like a recluse these past years.

Sat Jun 04, 07:03:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

WSF, I would heartily agree!

AOW, his children had some problems and two of them passed away, one by suicide. That's extremely tough.


Sat Jun 04, 08:03:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

Amazing how far down the sewer American TV has gone. Gunsmoke is one of my favorites of my childhood. the lessons on moral values such shows espoused then are sniped at, made fun of, and vilified today.

Sat Jun 04, 09:02:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Trekkie4Ever said...

RIP, sir.

Sat Jun 04, 01:39:00 PM PDT  
Blogger TexasFred said...

My favorite show for many years!

Sat Jun 04, 05:38:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Diller said...

A man who made TV entertaining and worthwhile for years,unfortunately as Mark,pointed out,in todays TV,they would probably try to place him in a survivor,or dancin with the stars,God help us.

Sun Jun 05, 08:16:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Old NFO said...

I'd always heard he was good people, not lording his position over anyone. He was also an excellent shooter!

Sun Jun 05, 09:16:00 AM PDT  

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