If you get an image of Marshal Matt Dillon from “Gunsmoke” in your mind, then it’s one of a stoic man. James Arness wasn’t always that way.
Arness portrayed Dillon for 20 seasons on the hit CBS western. It was one of those TV shows which found its way from the world of radio onto the small screen.
People could always count on Dillon to remain calm, cool, and collected when rough guys and tough gals came through Dodge City.
Yet if you are an actor who spends hours each week shooting scenes, then there are going to be moments where things don’t work out. Even the most professional actors have been known to break character at inopportune times.
James Arness Handled Lead Role On ‘Gunsmoke’
“Gunsmoke” is one of those classic TV westerns which remains popular in reruns all over the world. The entire cast plays their roles quite well, keeping it together when a scene calls for it.
Arness was carrying the powerful position of being the lead character on “Gunsmoke.” He kept it together a whole lot. You know, no laughing, no messing up lines, no misplacing pieces of paper.
Yet there are those moments actors and actresses will find themselves simply unable to keep a straight face. Arness is just like many other actors who are consummate pros. Still, he fell into moments of laughter and missing lines.
These bloopers and outtakes, when put together, simply show a bit of a human side to Arness.
It’s also just doggone funny.
Sit back for a few minutes and watch Arness do his best to stay in character yet end up filing up a blooper reel from scenes in “Gunsmoke.” At least, it will put a smile on your face.
Now Arness, as you can see, was pretty human and even broke character at times. Why? Well, when you are working so many days and hours in a row on a set, things are going to happen.
James Arness, Milburn Stone Stayed On TV Western Til End
Arness and his co-star, Milburn Stone, actually have quite a record between them. Both Arness and Stone, who played Doc on the show, were the only two characters who remained with it from beginning to end.
“Gunsmoke” first hit CBS’ airwaves on TV in 1955. Arness and Stone were among the first cast, yet remained on the show until the network canceled the show in 1975. That is a strong 20-year run and goes right to the popularity of this classic TV western. It was the longest-running, live-action drama series of the 20th century.
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” starring Mariska Hargitay, passed the western’s record in 2019.
Arness and Stone were locked into TV pop culture. Now Kelsey Grammer has a similar spot, too, in the pop culture world. He played Frasier Crane for 20 years, but he did it on two different shows, “Cheers” and the spinoff “Frasier.” Mariska Hargitay, who plays Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” has passed them all.
Yet “Gunsmoke” remains popular all these years later. Arness and Stone, through their characters, are etched in the hearts of viewers all over the place.