TV's Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty together again at the Long Branch in the sky.
The family of Five Star Publications, Inc. respectfully honors the Western icon James Arness, best known as Gunsmoke's heroic Marshal Matt Dillon. With heartfelt condolences, we wish to extend our sincerest sympathy to Mrs. Janet Arness and the entire Arness family at this time of great loss. To say that a legend has left us is an understatement of enormous magnitude.
Five Star Publications, Inc. authors Beckey Burgoyne and Ben Costello penned books with the Gunsmoke theme; Perfectly Amanda: Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty and Gunsmoke: An American Institution. Both books are permeated with an unending theme of love and camaraderie between Gunsmoke family members including cast, crew, and production staff. Gunsmoke writer and executive story consultant Paul Savage exclaimed in the Foreword of Perfectly Amanda, "…I became a member of the Gunsmoke family - and what a family it was. Stalwart, talented and great-guy James Arness was titular head. And then there was Milburn Stone (Doc), for a time Dennis Weaver (Chester), Ken Curtis (Festus), Buck Taylor (Newly)…and as Sinatra might have said: one great broad named Amanda Blake (Kitty Russell)." Of the immediate Gunsmoke family all have now walked through those bat wing doors at the Long Branch in the sky except for actor Buck Taylor. It's a safe bet that Miss Kitty is saying those infamous words, "Drinks are on the house," with her hearty laughter welcoming the Marshal "home" at last.
Gunsmoke, the legendary western television series debuted in 1955 with the infamous foursome of Matt Dillon, Kitty Russell, Doc Adams, and Chester Goode. The show ran for an historical twenty seasons with an equally impressive 635 episodes filmed. Gunsmoke still airs in syndication via the Western Channel and TV Land as well as many local television stations. Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon thwarted crime in and around Dodge City, Kansas, and kept company with golden-hearted Miss Kitty Russell who ran the Long Branch Saloon. Viewers waited for years for their mysterious love affair to be resolved but the wait was in vain. Arness and Blake were brilliant in preserving the mystery for the entire run of the show which has kept fans interested to this day. With the sad passing of Arness, fans can tenderly celebrate the fact that once again characters Marshal Matt Dillon and his love Miss Kitty Russell are reunited in heaven's version of the Long Branch Saloon.