Glenn Strange's height got him a job on Gunsmoke

They were big guys with big goals.

Being tall must have some drawbacks, but if you're in the cast of Gunsmoke, they're few and far between.

In James Arness's book, James Arness: An Autobiography, Arness said that his height was certainly not a benefit as a child. "[As a child] I suddenly started growing like a weed," he wrote. "Up to that time I had been tall, but in the same realm as my peers. Then I began to shoot up, and in one year I was four inches taller than anyone else in my class. By the time I finished junior high, I was 6'7". I took a lot of razzing from other students asking me how the weather was up there and other such remarks, poking fun at me."

Luckily, Arness had a pretty incredible mother who helped him see that his height could be seen as an advantage.

"Kids are cruel and I resented their teasing," he wrote. "Seeing how this bothered me, my mother wrote me a poem, 'To a Young Giant,' assuring me that one day my height would be a sign of distinction and that I would do great things. I treasure that poem still."

Arness's mother was right, and Arness's height placed him in prominence as an actor after he won the role of Marshal Matt Dillon. However, once he had reached stardom, Arness was able to open the door for his fellow tall men. One of those tall men happened to be Glenn Strange, who played bartender Sam Noonan due to some intervention by Matt Dillon himself.

In an article with the Associated Press, it was revealed that Strange began his tenure on Gunsmoke after he met Arness for the first time. Arness asked, "When are you going to do Gunsmoke? I like to work with big guys."

Strange's height would later serve him well as he later portrayed Frankenstein's monster in multiple Universal films.

So here's to all you tall guys out there. May your dreams stay as high as your height!

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11 Comments

BorisK 13 days ago
As much as I love Boris Karloff, I totally love Glenn Strange's portrayal of Frankenstein's monster in House of Dracula, House of Frankenstein and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. He's iconic in that role -- I'd want to watch Gunsmoke just so I could see him without the make-up!
BrittReid 14 days ago
Glenn Strange played Frankenstein's monster in three films.
Runeshaper 14 days ago
Glenn Strange was AWESOME as Sam Noonan and Frankenstein's Monster!
McGillahooala 14 days ago
Glenn Strange plays Frankenstein in my favorite, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
And yes, I mean Frankenstein. That is the brand of monster he was. I don’t describe my vehicle as Ford’s car, I don’t blow my nose with Kleenex’s tissue, etc. Life is too short to spend it trying to catch someone making a self proclaimed semantic error.
Frankenstein's monster.

Blessed are we, the pedantic. I love the precision of the English Language.

Blessed is the holy Wiseguy.
BorisK McGillahooala 13 days ago
lol ... it's cool.
Suzies1952 14 days ago
Story What James Arness said about shooting up 4inches, I had a picture of me and my 3 best friends , we were all about the same height graduating from 8th grade! that summer I shot up about 4 inches, myself ! another picture of all of us, after that summer, I couldn’t believe how much taller I got over my friends that summer , I worked in a truck farm that summer and it must of been that!, and being outside all summer long in the warm hot sun that made me shoot up like that but I loved it! And being tall I love reading all the stories about the actors especially gun smoke my favorite show on me tv! 😃
Suzies1952 14 days ago
Here’s to all us tall women too, I was 6 feet tall in high school graduation, there were only a few guys standing behind me as we stood by our height!
But I loved being tall i always wore heels too ! 3-4 inches , I guess that’s why, when I walked into a room, everyone stared at me! there were many a short people who came up to me also, saying how’s the weather up there! My response back to them was “ it’s great!, I love looking down at all you short people!” I wish I had a dollar for all the times, I was asked that! I did date many guys that were short too, kind of had to!, ha ha ! But I liked to look into the eyes of the guy I was dancing with back then! Especially a slow dance. Here’s to all us beautiful tall people!! 😀🤣
KJExpress Suzies1952 14 days ago
At 5'8" I was the tallest woman in my office, until we hired a 6-footer. Then I felt short! Glad you can embrace your height. 😀
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