James Arness stole the saloon doors of the ''Gunsmoke'' set for Burt Reynolds after the series had wrapped

Arness gave Reynolds a very large parting gift.

We've all been given some pretty great gifts in our lifetime. There's nothing quite like waking up on your birthday or Christmas morning to find exactly what you wanted waiting for you, all wrapped up with a ribbon.

Of course, the best kinds of gifts are the ones we least expect, and because of that James Arness undoubtedly wins the title of Best Gift-Giver of all time.

You might remember Arness best as Marshal Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, where he was a sturdy force of justice, constantly laying down the law on those who dared cross his path. But among his friends, James was a warm and endearing man, and just like Matt Dillon, he was willing to do anything he could to help someone else.

In the foreword to Arness's book, James Arness: An Autobiography, Reynolds had an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good qualities of his former costar. In addition to maintaining how funny Arness was, Reynolds proclaimed, "He was totally without ego. He never imposed his position on anyone. Not once did I or anyone else ever see Jim being rude, overbearing, self-righteous, or selfish to anyone, whether crew member, extras, day players, or co-stars." Reynolds continued, "I've done over 200 TV shows...over 75 features and I can't think of any actor whose behavior was more unpretentious than Jim's."

If that's not enough to convince you of Arness's good nature, maybe this other story from Reynolds will. In an interview with the Red Deer Advocate, the actor revealed that when Gunsmoke had finally ended, Arness was quick to snag a present for his friend off the set before the lights dimmed for good.

Reynolds said, "When the show finally ended, I asked Jim about the set because I wanted something. God love him, he remembered me. I have the swinging doors to the saloon."

Burt even put those doors to good use, and stated, "They're in Florida at my ranch where I built a saloon."

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4 Comments

nerstrand 1 month ago
That's how people from Minnesota are.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
That’s is totally AWESOME 🤩 Such a FANTASTIC gift 🎁!
McGillahooala 1 month ago
Nice story. James Arness is the exact opposite of so many of the pretentious turds that infest Hollywood.
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