STAGECOACH  |  ORIENT BUCKBOARD  |  FORDSON TRACTOR  |  HORSE DRAWN HEARSE
VINTAGE RIFLES  |  OLD WEST ITEMS  |  BANANZA & GUNSMOKE  |  ANIMALS  |  GARY COOPER HEADSTONE

Famous TV and Hollywood Wax Figures From The Old West

Gunsmoke Piano and Other Western Memorabilia

A cowboy hat belonging to legendary cowboy John Wayne, as well as a hat belonging to Earnest Tubb along with the piano used on the set of the TV show "Gunsmoke".

Premiering on CBS in September 1955 and completing its network run September 1975, Gunsmoke is the longest-running dramatic series in the history of TV. Two of its stars, James Arness and Milburn Stone, remained all 20 seasons, with Amanda Blake a close second, departing after 19 years. The series started out as a half-hour show, and expanded to an hour in its seventh season. Prior to Gunsmoke (and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, which premiered the same week), Western shows generally focused on fantasy characters such as the Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy, holdovers from movie and radio serials. Gunsmoke was one of the earliest "adult Westerns," centering around the exploits of Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) in the frontier town of Dodge City, Kan. in 1873. His kindly companion was Doc Adams (Milburn Stone), the town physician who spent many hours chugging beers at the Long Branch Saloon, owned and operated by the shapely Kitty Russell. Over the years there were several changes in the supporting cast, most notably the replacement of Matt's loyal deputy, Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver), with hillbilly deputy Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis). Gunsmoke started a longtime trend for TV westerns. At one point there were 30 of them on the air at the same time. But Gunsmoke outlasted the others and at the time of its cancellation in 1975, it was the only show of its kind still on the air.

James Arness Costume Worn In Gunsmoke

James Arness is recognized as one of America's most beloved actors. Generations have grown up with him as Marshal Matt Dillon on television's longest running series, GUNSMOKE. His ability to create an enduring character in America culture is unsurpassed and Hollywood honored him with a star on the world famous Walk of Fame for his many years on television.

James Arness was born on May 26, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and began his long and illustrious career as a radio announcer in Minnesota in 1945.

After moving to Los Angeles, he found work in the movies. His big break came in 1947, when he landed a prime role opposite Loretta Young in "The Farmers Daughter". That year he also received parts in numerous westerns. In 1951, James appeared in the classic science fiction movie "The Thing". Jim's career was now taking off.

In the early 1950's, James signed a contract with John Wayne's production company Bat Jack. During his three years there he made four films with Wayne. It was John Wayne who was instrumental in landing Jim his biggest break ever in 1955 as Marshal Matt Dillon for a new TV series called Gunsmoke. As the story goes, CBS wanted Wayne for the part when the series was adapted from radio to television. He declined, but suggested his good friend for the part. CBS agreed to audition the 6-foot-7-inch actor. (The network also met with 25 other actors, including Raymond Burr.)

After being selected to play Dillon, James had second thoughts about doing television but decided to give it a try. He did, and stayed with Gunsmoke for 20 years and three Emmy nominations, until the show was cancelled in 1975, making it the longest running dramatic series ever produced. In addition to the series he made four Gunsmoke movies for TV the last of which was produced in 1992 "Gunsmoke IV: The Long Ride"

STAGECOACH  |  ORIENT BUCKBOARD  |  FORDSON TRACTOR  |  HORSE DRAWN HEARSE
VINTAGE RIFLES  |  OLD WEST ITEMS  |  BANANZA & GUNSMOKE  |  ANIMALS  |  GARY COOPER HEADSTONE

Museum Information Exhibits Events

Turn of the Century   **   Gangster Land   **   Famous Cars & Stars   **   World Leaders   **   Kennedy   **   The White House
illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame   **   World of Speed   **   Movieland   **   TV Land   **   NASA   **   Abraham Lincoln

Copyright 2014 - Historic Auto Attractions