Damn, I am definitely getting old.
James Arness, the 6’7″ tall star of “Gunsmoke,” died today at age 88. When I was a boy visiting my grandparents in the “country,” the three TV shows that were never missed were the “Ozark Jubilee,” “The Lawrence Welk Show” and, yes, “Gunsmoke.”
My paternal grandparents, both born at the end of the 19th Century, often had difficulty sorting out reality from that which was portrayed on that “newfangled” TV (e.g. My grandmother thought that professional wrestling was, you know, … real). I believe that they also thought that Matt Dillon (James Arness’s character in “Gunsmoke,”) was a historically accurate figure. They vocally rooted for him each week as he kept order in Dodge City.
Now that I am as old now as they were then, I know that Matt Dillon was not a real person, but I like to think that there are real-life Matt Dillons out there somewhere. We need a Marshal Dillon more now than ever before in my lifetime.
Instead, we have Eric Holder, Hope and Change.