October 02, 2023

Television Q&A: Did Marshal Dillon and Miss Kitty have a child?

You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: Very late one night while pushing the remote endlessly, I saw a “Gunsmoke” episode with Matt Dillon as a much older man, with an older daughter. Now I’m on a mission: I must find out if Matt and Kitty ever did marry, or if the daughter was perhaps adopted.

A: Matt Dillon (James Arness) and Kitty (Amanda Blake) never married during the series 1955-75 run, although close watchers of the show were convinced they had connected at some time. But in a 1973 episode, Matt had a brief affair with another woman, Mike Yardner (Michael Learned), while he had amnesia. (Arness would later say that Matt’s only onscreen kiss was in that episode, “Matt’s Love Story,” but Kitty did in fact kiss him once.) Anyway, after Matt recovered, he went home — only to learn in the 1990 TV-movie “Gunsmoke: The Last Apache” that he and Mike had had a daughter.

Q: When contestants on shows such as “The Price is Right” and “Wheel of Fortune” win a trip or other prize, do they have the option of taking cash? If so, is the amount received the same as the stated value?

A: You’ve probably read stories about people winning fabulous prizes only to realize they will have to pay taxes on them. Representatives of the two shows you mentioned said they do not have a cash-instead option. Instead, contestants have the option of taking the prizes and the tax obligations that go with them, or forfeiting the prizes and avoiding the taxes.

Q: Is “The Little Couple” coming back?

A: At last I can say yes. Several months ago I mentioned that the series appeared stalled because of a dispute between Discovery Communications – TLC’s corporate parent – and the production company making “Couple.” Now things have moved along enough that TLC will bring “Couple” back on Sept. 19. Story lines for the ninth season include trips to the United Kingdom, Vermont and Washington, D.C.; a new business venture for Bill, and a planned move to Florida after Jen accepts a job in St. Petersburg.

Q: Is the movie star Jean Peters still with us? She was a very, very good actress.

A: Peters died in 2000 of leukemia. She was 73. Well-liked as an actress, she was also known for a relationship and later marriage to Howard Hughes, the second of her three husbands. And the New York Times noted her “informal off-camera style,” which avoided the style-conscious pretensions associated with Hollywood. (As a Buckeye, I credit that to her upbringing in Canton, Ohio; her film career was launched when she won a Miss Ohio State title that included a screen test.)

Q: Can you tell me anything about a show I watched as a kid in the 60’s called “McKeever and the Colonel”? Some friends and I are trying to remember who was in it and how long it was on.

A: I watched it too. The comedy about mischief-making cadets at a military academy ran on NBC for a single season, 1962-63. Scott Lane played Cadet Gary McKeever; his foil was the academy’s head, played by Allyn Joslyn. The cast also included Jackie Coogan as the colonel’s aide, and Keith Taylor and Johnny Eimen as McKeever’s pals Tubby and Monk.

Q: I was just wondering if the following shows will be back: “Good Behavior,” “Secrets and Lies” and “Eyewitness.”

A: “Good Behavior” will return on TNT. The other two shows have been canceled.


Do you have a question or comment about entertainment past, present and future? Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or brenfels@gmail.com. Letters may be edited. Individual replies are not guaranteed.