|Ken Curtis and James Arness|
Over 20 years and 635 episodes James Arness created a television legacy that I believe is only matched by Alan Alda's role as Hawkeye Pierce on MASH. But I digress. What helped make Gunsmoke such a great television series was the amazing number of up and coming actors soon to become stars that cut their teeth on the show. Look at the names and some impressive ones pop up... Burt Reynolds, Warren Oates, Buddy Ebsen, Ellen Burstyn, Jon Voight, Jodie Foster, need I go on?
What makes me chuckle is I was born and grew up in Kansas. Yet I never have set foot in Dodge City. I've been to every major city in the state of Kansas save for two, Great Bend and Dodge City. It's kind of embarrassing as much as I worshiped the show. I even grew up grew up in a small town, Abilene, that was a rough and tumble cattle town much as Dodge City was in the 1860's and 70's.
You can still see Gunsmoke on TVLand. I catch it once and a while I feel the nostalgia for my youth. RIP James Arness, you were a true star, unlike the reality show buffoons that now provide so much of the fare that passes for television these days.