Amanda Blake gave the perfect answer for why Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty never married
"She'd drift out of Dodge if it weren't for Matt Dillon."
Image: The Everett Collection
When Gunsmoke first became a TV show in 1955, Amanda Blake wanted in. According to The New York Times, the actress once claimed in an interview after securing her part on the long-running Western, "I knew I had to have the part of Kitty, so I hounded the producer until I got it."
The saying goes that a girl knows what she wants, and for the actress, her end-game was clear: A huge fan of the radio drama, she wanted to play Kitty to James Arness' Matt Dillon, and that was that. But the real question for longtime Gunsmoke fans might be: Did she want the two characters to get together in the end? The answer to that is decidedly no, and Blake's reasoning for why will definitely tickle fans of classic TV.
In an early interview from 1960, Blake said she already knew the couple were never meant to be. According to Blake, referencing her character Kitty:
"She'd love Matt to say, 'Kitty, let's buy a hunk o' land and raise some beans and kids.' But then we'd have I Love Lucy Out West."
Of course, Gunsmoke went on one of the longest runs in TV history, stretching 15 years beyond Blake's early interview before the series ended in 1975. And still, Blake's call was absolutely correct, even that early on. It shows how well she knew not only the drama she starred on, but also the source material it sprang from.
In his own interview, Arness also took time to spell out that the relationship wouldn't work, "I think they felt that you could only go so far with it, and then you'd have to change the character and nature of the show. If you have Matt and Kitty have an onscreen love affair, then, you know, they'd have to get married, and then you'd have a different show there."
Later on in the Blake interview, she did conceed that although Kitty would never marry Matt, "she'd drift out of Dodge if it weren't for Matt Dillon." So the love is just as real as fans hope, it's just also a little complicated. And ain't that just the way in the Old West?
In real life, Amanda Blake herself didn't really date either. She revealed in the interview that quite simply, she liked her life the way it was, without any men interfering with her work as an actress. Her Gunsmoke co-star Milburn Stone, who plays her close confidant on the show Doc Adams, also became her closest friend in the real world, and according to him, Blake was right on about dedicating her life to finessing her talent. Stone said, "Without Amanda, it wouldn't be Gunsmoke, and that's a fact."