James Arness had a serious opinion about rock ‘n’ roll and Western stars

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James Arnes was a quiet man, far from his character as Marshall Matt Dillon. His Gun smoke The character was known for his strong morals, sense of justice and fairness, but off-screen Arnes was known to limit personal appearances and interviews.

While his face was everywhere in the West, Arnes did a great job of keeping a low profile in his personal life.

In an interview in 1957 Montgomery AdvertiserMany of our favorite western stars began participating in music, signing with sponsors, performing stunts and making personal appearances at rodeos across the country.

But not Arnes. He said dancing with other stars and selling products wasn’t just for him.

“It might be good for other actors, and I don’t want to condemn them, but not for me,” Arnes said. “If fans see you as one type of person and then suddenly you go out and do something opposite, like rock and roll, it shocks people. Producers notice that this guy is versatile. But fans say, ‘What’s Marshall Matt? Dillon in rock ‘n roll?’

At the time, many of his female fans believed Arnes was too handsome to enter the field he wanted — and would have stood by him no matter what side project he chose to take on.

Arnes was a former laborer and carpenter before he started working as an actor in 1949, but it was only through his roles that he began to earn big money. Gun smoke. Although an accomplished actor, Arnes took a stand when it came to his beliefs, and consistently turned down small fortunes to appear on TV shows and endorse commercials.

According to the interview, Arnes said that the market was already flooded with Elvis Presley types.

“You’ve seen it [John] Wayne or Gary Cooper doing rock ‘n’ roll?” said Arnes. “So you pick up 10 grand but you lose a million in terms of your future. Many fans write that my show is the only one they buy on TV because it looks so real.

Arnes explained that endorsements make people identify with him through ads — and he knows how much people don’t like seeing them.

“If an actor has no confidence in the future and wants to make a quick buck, fine,” Arnes said. “But I have confidence in my future. I have a good 20 years left in this business.”

In addition to rock ‘n’ roll, Arnes limited his personal appearance and interactions with his fans. According to an interview with Kenosha News, Arnes says he limits his lines and scenes to give the audience the illusion that they are seeing him instead of him. He even said that he would cut his own lines Gun smoke.

“Perhaps part of the success of the series is that the main characters have stepped back a bit and given the audience a break,” Arnes said. “If you notice the shows that have been on the air, the so-called star is not always on the screen.”

As much as we’d love to see James Arnes do a guitar solo, we’ll just have to stick with watching Marshall draw Matt Dillon instead.

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