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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


James ArnessJAMES ARNESS (1923-2011), born James King Aurness is a western icon, known to most for his role as Marshall Matt Dillon in "Gunsmoke" (1955-1975), the longest running western series in American television history. James Arness was associate producer for 45 episodes of this series, the executive producer for one, and the executive producer of two "Gunsmoke" made for television films. What you may not know however is that James Arness acted in over forty films. This list includes the made for television movie, The Macahans (1976) and its following two television mini-series called "The Macahans" aka "How the West Was Won" (1977) and "How the West Was Won" (1978-1979), all three of which he played Zeb Macahan. James Arness also starred as Jim McClain in the police drama "McClain's Law" (1978-1979) that lasted only sixteen episodes. James Arness made four films with good friend John Wayne. To think all four are suggested here. It was John Wayne who suggested Arness for the leading role of "Gunsmoke" and actually filmed the introduction for the show's first episode. The rest, as they say, is history.

Haven't you seen The Sea Chase (1955)? James Arness plays Schlieter in this World War II drama starring John Wayne, Lana Turner, and David Farrar.

Watch this and then see these other four films.

Hondo (1953) James Arness plays Lennie, Army Indian Scout in this action/drama/romance, starring John Wayne, Geraldine Page and Ward Bond, based on the Louis L'Amour short story, The Gift of Cochise.
Island in the Sky (1953) James Arness is Mac McMullen, pilot in this adventure drama starring John Wayne, Lloyd Nolan and Walter Abel.
Big Jim McLain (1952) Starring alongside John Wayne in this action spy film, James Arness plays Mal Baxter.
The Thing from Another World (1951) James Arness is "The Thing" in this sci-fi/horror film, also starring Kenneth Tobey and Margaret Sheridan.

*Contributed by: "Tim Smith" Date: Wed, Jun 15 2011 / 19:48:12 PST

James Arness backstory written by: "Elizabeth Van Cleve".