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April 2018

Opening Shot of Gunsmoke

Jim had a reputation for being a prankster on the set and in 1966 Jim had a new trick up his sleeve as McEveety, the director, was directing and the cameras were rolling Jim and a fellow actor stalked each other for the famous opening scene drawing their guns and blazing away.  

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But before McEveety could yell cut he realized he had caught a rare moment in Gunsmoke history, the villain had rubbed out Matt Dillon.  Jim told me that most of the crew were in on his gag but it took the director a few minutes to recover from what he had just witnessed.  That was just a bit of Jim’s humor in an otherwise routine day.  The crew and Jim had a good laugh at the director’s expense.

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Janet Arness