"I always thought Ken Curtis looked Iranian" widow of TV star James Arness (Marshall Dillon) said, " I just never thought he would ever try to blow up a commercial airliner while in flight." Ken Curtis, Festus from the TV show Gunsmoke reportedly attempted to light a "boot bomb" aboard United flight #2117 from Seattle to Denver. Passengers on-board say that Curtis told them,
"I tell YOU I mo blow UP this here plane if'n you don't let me an my mule down there in that there cargo com PART-mint com .. com .. com'n DEER this here flyin machine over to Iran I got uh blow up thingie right HERE in my BOOT if you don't BLEVE me what I' m tell'n ya I recon .."
Curtis, age 89 was easily subdued by fellow passengers and sturdily "seat belted" into his seat with duct tape over his mouth and his arms securely fastened to the folding tray in front of him with the Dodge City Long Branch Saloon belt he was wearing until the flight landed safely in Denver Colorado.
Representatives for CBS the original creator of Gunsmoke say that Curtis no longer works for them or Gunsmoke which ceased production in 1975. One CBS attorney said,
"CBS will persue legal channels against anyone attempting to link CBS with this boot bomber incident. Curtis does not work for CBS. He barely worked for CBS when he worked for CBS."
Amanda Blake who played Miss Kitty in the western series told reporters,
"Yes it's true in a way. Ken, Festus, was about the .. I .. I won't use the word 'laziest' but .. he was the least productive actor on the show. When he even showed up for a shoot he mostly sat around with that mule of his making up his lines while me and Matt and Doc had to learn ours the hard way."
Sources say that they can find no Iranian origin in either Curtis or his bloodline. Curtis, born in Lamar Colorado in 1916 became a very popular country singer in his day before taking the job with CBS as a bumbling, dimwitted scruffy-looking mule-riding hillbilly backwoods country HICK who followed Matt Dillon around day and night then day again.
"Why Curtis wanted to hijack a plane to Iran we do not know" one Denver policeman said. Officials do confirm however that Curtis, Festus did indeed have on-board United Flight #2117 a crude "boot bomb" hidden in his left boot. Police say,
"The flight was never in real danger though, the boot bomb being made of 4 firecrackers, some chewing tobacco and a bottle rocket dating back to 1987."
89 year old Ken Curtis is currently free on $180,000 bond, roaming the streets of Dodge City Kansas.