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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Saddle Pals and Sidekicks: Favorite Western Supporting Players


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36 replies to this topic

#1 wouldbestar

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 07:17 PM

More candidates for your consideration:

 

Denver Pyle was a real-life Westerner which might be why he was so great in movies and TV shows of the genre whether he was a hero or villain.  He also got better with age; see him with dark as opposed to grey hair and you'll know what I mean.  

 

James Best who made his movie debut in a Western movie about a place called "Spanish Boot" and never looked back.  He also could do good or bad guys with equal believability. 

 

Paul Fix, Harry, Jr.'s father-in-law and charter member of the Ford-Wayne Company as an actor and writer.  He was "Marsall Torrance" on The Rifleman.   



#2 Flashalex

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Posted 12 July 2016 - 08:50 PM

Well it looks like I was wrong if the term co-staring was really used for Bond in The Searchers. I'm surprised Wayne's contract would allow that. Of course Ford loved to pick on Wayne so I wonder if that has something to do with it. I can see Hunter getting a co-staring tag but not anyone else in the film.

I'm with you Jamesjazzguitar. Ward Bond is one of my favorite character actors and, regardless of where you place his name in the film or TV credits, he did 22 films with John Wayne and in my book that qualifies him as a sidekick...just like Alan Hale Sr. was to Erroll Flynn.



#3 JackFavell

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:52 PM

I couldn't find any pictures of Will Wright in westerns, though he did a slew of them. I also couldn't find any really good ones of Francis Ford.

I actually saw Will Wright in an *I Love Lucy* episode this week, and that'[s why he was on my mind.

Harry Morgan has been on my mind a lot lately, too, he was in that recent *Yellow Sky* showing.

Edited by: JackFavell on Jan 11, 2012 4:05 PM

#4 fredbaetz

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:09 PM

Love Will Wright in "The Blue Dahlia" with Ladd and Lake. He played "Dad" Newell the house detective, who at the last minute turned out to be the killer. The original script had William Bendix as the murderer but the Army didn't like the idea of a returning disturbed vet as a killer, so at the last minute the made Wright the "heavy". A good solid character actor......

#5 MissGoddess

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:38 PM

Will Wright's very good, I didn't know that about his background. He was in a lot of TV shows, too. I remember him as the mean shopkeeper, Ben, in "The Andy Griffith Show" and he was in a couple of "I Love Lucy" episodes. he was everywhere. That screencapture looks like it's from *People Will Talk*. He was a real selfish miser in that one, wasn't he? Though a couple of things he said actually made sense.

Harry, Sr., of course, though he was a pioneer western lead. Without him there would have been no John Wayne/John Ford. You can say the same about Francis.

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#6 movieman1957

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 12:38 PM

Excellent choices. How could I have neglected the Careys?

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. 

G. Marx.


#7 JackFavell

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:35 AM

Did someone say *Ben?* :)

Oh, you KNOW this is my kind o' thread.

You all know I love Ben best. He could play anything, once he got his sea legs, and I especially love his more dark supporting characters, like Bob Amory in *One Eyed Jacks.* Couldn't trust him any further you could throw him, the snake. :D

I would put dear *Wardy* wayyyy up high at the top of the list. I just saw him in *Joan of Arc* the other night, and he was just great, you wouldn't think he would fit in in that kind of movie, but he did, exceptionally well. Another performance of his that gives me the heebee jeebees is his turn in *The Mortal Storm.* A more evil, representative Nazi factotum you will never see. But the west fits him like a second skin. Speaking of *Wagon Master*, watching Ward on the big screen gave me a new appreciation of his depth, and ability to convey subtle things with his eyes and face. One thing people usually don't accuse Ward of is subtlety, but as in *On Dangerous Ground*, he is able to present more than meets the eye, when he's given the chance to stop blustering.

Here are some of my other favorites:

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*Will Wright* is another of those actors, like Brennan, who had a rich life before turning to acting in films. He started out as a newspaper reporter (can't you picture it?) and actually became a producer on Boradway before he became the quintessential crusty old codger for the movies. He always gives the hint of something a little bit darker in his serious roles. I just love him, When he turns up it's always good.

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*Burl Ives* and I have had a love-hate relationship since I was a little kid - loved Jimmy Crack Corn and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, but he scared me as Big Daddy and in his TV appearances in the 1960's, usually as a big, blustery bad guy. I just finished watching him in *The Big Country* and he broke my heart as a good bad man forced to realize his own corruption and wasted life. He was brilliant and arguably gave the best performance in the movie. Another of my favorite characterizations has Burl walking that fine line again between sweetness and corruption....he's exceptionally fine as the German Dr. Hasselbacker in *Our Man in Havana*, a very disconcerting role because we like him so much. As much as i love him in this one, Burl seems at his best in those western landscapes.

Here are a few men of the west, supporting actors, a couple of whom were leading men long before they were known as supporting players, but whose faces tell their story better than any words about them could:

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#8 MissGoddess

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 03:00 PM

*Ben*, *Ben*, Ben! We mustn't forget him and his place riding across Monument Valley and Moab like the western wind. It was great seeing him on the big screen in a leading role, as Travis Blue in *Wagon Master*.

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#9 movieman1957

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 06:44 AM

How could we have forgotten our most talked about companion at the Oasis - *Ben Johnson.*

Once again a man with his roots in the western but could do just about anything, especially later in his life. Gentlemanly, loyal and witty he played someone smarter then he let on and never made a wrong step.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. 

G. Marx.


#10 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 05:54 PM

Well it looks like I was wrong if the term co-staring was really used for Bond in The Searchers. I'm surprised Wayne's contract would allow that. Of course Ford loved to pick on Wayne so I wonder if that has something to do with it. I can see Hunter getting a co-staring tag but not anyone else in the film.

#11 fredbaetz

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:05 PM

Well, pardon me. I just used it in the broad term. I should have stated supporting role or player........
I was just watching "The Seachers" opening and it reads ...co-starrimg Ward Bond......

Edited by: fredbaetz on Dec 30, 2011 5:08 PM

#12 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:14 PM

Well by definition a co-star is someone that gets first billing ranking; e.g. Libel Lady where Tracy and Powell are co-stars.

Generally if one is NOT listed either prior to the title of the movie or in the first screen after the title they are not the star of the movie. They are listed in the following screen as a supporting player. Depending on their rank or contact they may get a bigger font on the supporting player screen but still they are supporting players.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule. For example, when some of the major classic stars of the 30s - 50s played in movie of the 60s or 70. e.g. Stanwyck in Walk On The Wild Side; In these cases they are listed last with some type of special caption. I for one don't know how to classily an actor that get this type of billing. Generally I'm just happy to see a classic star in the movie.

#13 fredbaetz

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:04 PM

Bond was truly one of the great ones. I never considered him a "Sidekick", but more of a co-star. He was indeed one of a kind and worked well in many different kinds of films.
He is in seven films that that's on AFI's list of 100 years...100 movies:
"It Happened One Night"
"Bringing Up Baby"
"The Grapes of Wrath"
"The Maltese Falcon"
"Gone With the Wind"
"It's A Wonderful Life"
"The Seachers"

Ford use to pick on him without mercy, on and off the screen. Once while shooting a film without Bond, Ford and Wayne had their picture taken standing between a horses rear and sent it to Bond with the caption "Thinking of You"....

In his will, Bond left his shotgun to John Wayne. The same gun he accidentally shot Wayne with while on a hunting trip.

When Anna Magnani won the Oscar, beating out Susan Hayward, Bond was so mad he made the statement "It's called the Oscars, not the Raviolis"

He was one of a kind.......

#14 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 02:39 PM

Yea, Bond is one of the best western supporting players as well as a supporting player in many other genres. e.g. Tom in The Maltese Falcon etc.... What a fine actor.

As for western supporting players I want to add Alan Hale and Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams to the list. They were the sidekicks of Errol Flynn in a few Warner westerns like Dodge City and Santa Fe Trail (more of a historical drama then a western). These two were very funny as Flynn buddies and helped lighten up these pictures.

Of course Alan Hale was in many, many movies for Warners but most of those were not westerns since Cagney, Bogie or E.G. Robinson (main Warner male stars) didn't make a lot of westerns (and we can all be glad about that!).

#15 rohanaka

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 12:28 PM

Good ole Wardy!! I love him in so many films. You both are right on the money about how versatile he could be. He had a "knack" for being a bit of a "blowhard" or at least a bit "blustery" just because of that booming voice he had.. and yet he could also be very "simple' and "sweet" along with as you say.. downright menacing.

I love his role in the Searchers.. he gets to be a bit of all of that all the same movie.

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(though not so much on the simple and sweet, ha.. more just a moment of sweet now and then.. like when he is talking w/ Martha .. and then later he just drinks his coffee and looks away as she says goodbye to Ethan)

Posted Image

Edited by: rohanaka on Dec 30, 2011 12:30 PM

#16 MissGoddess

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 10:43 AM

Just think, he was Burt the cop in *It's a Wonderful Life*, the Yankee officer in *Gone with the Wind*, the "Oh, yeah?" bus driver in *It Happened One Night*, the clergymen in *The Searchers* and *The Quiet Man*, a sociopath in *Canyon Passage* and yes, a real jerk in *Young Mr Lincoln*, he was mean to John Wayne in *Tall in the Saddle* and then died trying to help him in *Rio Bravo* and finally, of course, he led countless trains of wagons across the west every week in 1950s living rooms. Some actor!

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#17 movieman1957

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 10:34 AM

I think he was great too. That he played that bumpkin jerk in "Young Abe Lincoln" and then that role in "On Dangerous Ground" shows how good he was. He had such a range of roles and played them so well. There's a range that certainly rivals Brennan's. There's certainly an argument to be made that it was a wider range of roles.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. 

G. Marx.


#18 MissGoddess

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 09:57 AM

Wardyyyyyyyyyy! Oh yes, we can't forget my big, burly bear Bond. It's funny you should mention him just now because last night I re-watched *On Dangerous Ground* and was conscious of how well Bond played the rage-blinded father, out to avenge his daughter's death. At first it can seem like a simple portrayal of a somewhat "hick" type,the kind that always want to lynch someone without bothersome "city trials" as he put it. But in Nicholas Ray's guideance, the man becomes something so much more. He's not an evil man, not even unsympathetic, in fact I felt, like Mary (Ida Lupino), terribly sorry for him. Bond is a scary guy with a gun in his hands and when out for blood, you can see he's so torn up there's no reasoning with him. But you can see the pain underneath and the emerging goodness of the man at the end.

In short, I think Bond was a very skilled actor. It seems like he was in just about every classic, big name movie there ever was.

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#19 movieman1957

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 09:11 AM


Not so much a saddle pal but a supporting player of the highest order - Ward Bond. A John Ford western without Bond feels like it is missing something.

In addition ot his Ford work he played in "Rio Bravo," Ray Milland's "A Man Alone, " the unusual "Johnny Guitar," "Hondo" along with some other Wayne films.

He could be tough or funny. He had dignity (Ft. Apache) and could be corrupt (Tall In The Saddle) but he was all over the film world.

! Posted Image


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. 

G. Marx.


#20 MissGoddess

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 09:56 AM

Fred, how do?!
I've had Encore now for about four years and I'd be lost without my Westerns Channel, I confess. I basically have these few networks I flip through when I'm looking for something watch: TCM, Encore Westerns, AMC, TVLand and the Fox Movie Channel. There are a few others I will glance at if they happen to have one particular program but that's about it. Of these channels, I'd say only TCM and Encore Westerns make up the majority of my movie time aside from DVDs.

I don't know how I overlooked that Pat was Mr. Haney on "Green Acres"! How could I forget that voice!

A young and sassy looking *Pat Buttram*, pointing out his birthplace in Alabama on a map.
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As we know him better, as Gene Autry's sidekick.
http://www.bing.com/...3_2&wf=Genimage

And as Mr. Haney on "Green Acres"
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