Like many of you, I spent my childhood watching ‘Gunsmoke.’ It was my dad’s favorite show, and as I recall, it aired on Saturday nights. The entire family — my mom and dad and us four kids — would gather around our cabinet-style RCA TV set (it had a record player on one side) and watch Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty do everything BUT get together.
I guess we were supposed to draw our own conclusions on that. I kind of think they did, but it’s not the kind of thing a family talked about back in those days! Instead, we just watched Marshal Dillon right the wrongs of the Wild West, get patched up by Doc Adams (Milburn Stone), and trade friendly banter with Chester (Dennis Weaver) and Festus (Ken Curtis). And, of course, protect Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) from all bad things.
James Arness (who was the older brother of Peter Graves) died today at the age of 88. Thanks for a great childhood, Marshal Dillon. In your honor, here’s the very first episode of ‘Gunsmoke,’ ‘Matt Gets It,’ which aired on Sept. 10, 1955, and was introduced by The Duke himself, John Wayne.