July 13, 2024
Audio Features
Sokolsky on the Arts and Entertainment
A weekly program focusing on the arts and entertainment
Arts and Entertainment Editor Bob Sokolsky pays tribute to Jim Arness who starred in the “Gunsmoke” series that ran for more than 20 years on CBS.

Arness, Sokolsky notes, never won the prestige and fame attached to such other western stars as John Wayne and Randolph Scott. But he more than held his own as Marshall Matt Dillon. And as far as viewers were concerned, he WAS Matt Dillon and Dillon WAS Arness and that was good enough.

In the process, Sokolsky says, they established a tightly written “adult western” that found no reason to explore secondary themes and motives. Good guys were simply good guys and bad guys were just villains to be disposed of in any possible way.

Sokolsky says a few other series and stars tried to duplicate the formula. But none succeeded as well as “Gunsmoke” because there was only one Jim Arness. Or was it only one Matt Dillon?
Episode Date: June 9, 2011
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