Friday, June 3, 2011

The Big Screen in the Sky

While most people remember James Arness as Marshall Matt Dillon from the epic television run of Gunsmoke, to this Film Gabber, he will always be heroic Robert Graham who took a flame thrower to an army of giant ants in the L.A. sewer system in the 1954 sci-fi/horror masterwork, Them! Three years earlier Arness had starred in another sci-fi classic, The Thing From Another World. His six-foot-seven frame, a Frankenstein-esque makeup job and some dark lighting were all director Christian Nyby needed to create a menacing creature that stomped through an Arctic Army base- on fire, no less. With a nice-lookin' mug, Arness was able to get out of the B-horror movie genre and move to westerns where a friendship with John Wayne led to his iconic television role as a fine upstanding lawman. James Arness passed away today at the age of 88 of natural causes.

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