‘Gunsmoke’ Star James Arness Once Got Pranked by Neighborhood Kids Outside of His Home

by Megan Molseed
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For two entire decades, from 1955 until 1975, the popular western series Gunsmoke brought viewers some of the most unique and memorable characters on television. From Amanda Blake’s Miss Kitty; to Milburn Stone’s Doc; and Dennis Weaver as Chester, Gunsmoke brought western fans some truly colorful moments on television. Making television history as the settlers of Dodge City, Kansas deal with daily struggles as only a Western can. The supporting players on the popular classic television series are certainly ones to remember.

But, none of the storylines would be possible without the quintessential lawman. Marshal Matt Dillon was portrayed by actor James Arness for the show’s run.

Of course, on television Jame’s Arness’s Marshal Matt Dillon worked tirelessly to keep the peace among the citizens and visitors of Dodge City, Kansas. But, in real life, actor James Arness took a much calmer approach to his daily life. That is, however, until a group of mischievous neighborhood children decided to give the television lawman an unexpected run for his money one evening outside his Pacific Palisades home.

‘Gunsmoke’s’ James Arness Nearly Had to Bring His On-Screen Talents Home

According to reports, Gunsmoke star James Arness was returning home in Pacific Palisades one evening after a long day of shooting the long-running series.

Those who know Gunsmoke and Matt Dillon know a day on set of the popular series means action and gunshots. Something the actor, while accustomed to the action on set, certainly wasn’t accustomed to at home.

James Arness was entering the front door to the home he shares with his wife and three young children. Then, he hears an unsettling sound.

“Hands up!” shouts a voice behind the popular actor.

For a swift moment, the Gunsmoke actor thought he was about to channel his on-screen character, facing trouble head-on in his own neighborhood.

However, he soon realized the threat was nothing for which he should be worried. It was simply a group of kids from his neighborhood. The rambunctious youths had been waiting for their famous neighbor for some time. The children were lying in wait for hours, hoping to startle televisions most famous lawman.

Gunsmoke was a weekly western television series that aired through the 1950s into the 1970s. The series has the distinction of being one of the longest-running primetime dramas in television history. The show brought viewers some exciting drama moments as the popular Marshal Matt Dillon worked tirelessly to keep the peace in his hometown.

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