Arvo Ojala Company History


Arvo Ojala (born January 21, 1920 in Seattle, Washington; died July 1, 2005 in Gresham, Oregon) was a Hollywood advisor and expert quick draw artist, frequently credited as a "technical director" but also working as an actor. He appeared in the weekly opening sequences of Gunsmoke for over 18 years being gunned down by Marshall Dillon.

Ojala taught himself marksmanship and how to quick-draw a handgun while living on his father's ranch near Yakima, Washington, during the 1930s. He designed a special holster that allowed him to draw a gun faster than the standard holster. With an ability to cock his pistol, fire and reportedly hit his target in one-sixth of a second, he was the go-to guy for learning the art of the fast-draw during the heyday of television westerns in the 1950s and '60s.

One of Ojalas' major acting parts was the film "The Oregon Trail" as "Ellis" His speaking role and expertise as a gun handler, fast draw artist, and instructor are shown. Ojala is the originator of "The Metal lined fast draw Holster", in which he holds the United States Patent in 1954.

For twenty years, fans of the Western TV series "Gunsmoke" watched the opening credits in which James Arness as Matt Dillon faced down a gunslinger. Each week, Dillon killed the badguy. What many people didn't know was the name of the gunslinger in the famous credit sequence, now you do: Arvo Ojala. The sequence was actually filmed four different times during the series's two decade run, but Mr. Ojala was the duelist in the first version. Arvo Ojala was one of the top gun coaches in Hollywood history. He was a master of the quick draw, and not just in the movies. Mr. Ojala was a marksman with few peers. The man who lost the draw against Matt Dillon every week finally lost the draw that all of will face someday. Arvo Ojala died at age 85. Mr. Arvo worked both in front and behind the cameras. He acted in such films and TV shows as "Lancer", "Two-Gun Lady" and "The Oregon Trail." He was technical advisor and gun coach on such films and TV shows as "Silverado", "The War Wagon", "Back to the Future III", "Sugarfoot", "Maverick", the rock and roll Western "Zachariah", and "Three Amigos".

Excerpts from Entertainers Inside, (July 2004 issue of the WFDA Top Gun magazine)

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Arvo Ojala Publicity picture
Publicity Picture
Arvo Ojala fast draw shooter Opening of Gunsmoke
Opening Sequence
Gunsmoke TV Series