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MissGoddess

Saddle Pals and Sidekicks: Favorite Western Supporting Players

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Western movie fans know that John Wayne, Gary Cooper and all the other western stars would have never gotten along without the presence of countless supporting players...at any rate, who would they ride with, sing with, quarrel with and shoot with if it wasn't for the Stumpy's, the Gabby's and the Smiley's along the trail. Who are some that you think stand out when the dust has settled? They can be sidekicks or villains or barkeeps, cowpokes, stuntmen, saloon gals...from movies or television series, you name them.

 

If you want to dig deeper, visit b-westerns.com for a thorough listing of western character and supporting players:

 

http://www.b-westerns.com/pals.htm

 

Maybe the most famous, certainly the most Oscar award winning western character actor of them all:

 

*Walter Brennan* (1894-1974) Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the third child of Irish immigrants. Walter's pop was an engineer and Walter studied engineering himself, then did a little acting in vaudevill, worked as a bank clerk, served in France in WWI, raised pineapples in Guatemala, and made and lost a fortune in real estate before he came to acting. Like a lot of men of his generation that weren't originally from the west, he became a real authority on western lore, always gave the impression of an authentic western type whether loveable or lethal and was never without his trademark irascibility.

1671_125705709166.jpg

 

Edited by: MissGoddess on Dec 25, 2011 3:11 PM

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Here are my three favorite sidekicks:

 

Raymond Hatton who played US Marshal Sandy Hopkins as US Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie's (played by Johnny Mack Brown) sidekick in the Nevada Jack McKenzie series of Johnny Mack Brown Monogram b westerns. He was also Johnny's sidekick in over 20 more of the Johnny Mack Brown Monograms.

 

Andy Clyde as Whip Wilson's sidekick in Whip's Monogram b westerns.

 

Andy Devine as Wild Bill Hickok's sidekick Jingles P. Jones in the TV western series, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok. WILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLD BILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICKOK!!!!!

Hey Wild Bill, wait for me!!!

 

Edited by: Stagecoach1 on Dec 26, 2011 1:55 PM

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Arthur Hunnicut

 

In his own way as adorable and, at times, cranky as they come. He is frequently put upon but does what he is told. He is good and fathfull.

 

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Howdy there, Miss G!!

 

What a great idea for a thread. I do love my western "sidekicks" and you picked a great one for your opening post. Walter Brennan has to be my hands down favorite character actor of all time... and westerns were indeed the place he seemed to shine the most. (though he certainly had some really fine moments in many other non-western films as well) One of the things I like most about him is his ability to play so many different KINDS of characters and still come off so TOTALLY believable with each and every one. Just TWO examples (out of so many) would be my beloved "STUMPY" (nobody else COULD have played him so perfectly) and yet.. his Pa Clanton STILL sends shivers down my spine. Talk about your polar opposites.. Oh me.. oh my. And yet.. he owns both those characters to a T.

 

Hey.. did I ever tell you that I once had a dream I was on school bus eating ice cream with Walter Brennan?? Talk about your whacky dreams.. ha. I have NO idea where it came from, but there we were.. just sitting on the bus.. eating a couple of vanilla cones and shooting the breeze. (Woo hoo.. Me and Walter on a bus eating ice cream.... now THAT would be a dream come true for SURE!) :D

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There were so many of those great cowboy sidekicks, but perhaps the most prolific was "Smiley" Burnette aka "Frog Millhouse. For 20 plus years he appeared as the sidekick to the likes of Gene Autry {they started in films together}, Roy Rogers, Charles Starrett aka "The Durango Kid", Eddie Dean and "Sunset Carson. A talented musician and an accomplished song writer. When he moved from Republic to Columbia in 1946, he made 56 films alone with "The Durango Kid". A wonderful talent and one of the most beloved of the cowboy sidekicks....

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Walter Brennen, Andy Divine and "Smiley" Burnette are among the best and favorites of mine, but for me, the best of "em all is George "Gabby" Hayes. My all-time favorite. And he's quite the scene-stealer.

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Arthur Hunnicut, if all he had ever done was *El Dorado* and that classic Twilight Zone episode he would still go down as one of the greats.

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I agree completely about Arthur Hunnicutt, he was one of the very best.

"The Lusty Men" with Robert Mitchum, an excellent film on rodeos.

Also standout performances in such films as:

"The Red Badge of Courage", John Houston's troubled classic.

"The Last Command", one of the best Davy Crockett roles.

His Academy Award nomination for his role in Howard Hawks "The Big Sky "

I am a fan of Walter Brennen, but I prefer Hunnicutt....

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I admit I'm not as familiar with Hatton (at least by name) but I know of Andy Clyde and of course the Devine one. :D

 

*Raymond Hatton* with John Wayne

9437467_ori.jpg

 

*Andy Clyde* ® with Whip Wilson

wilson-whip.jpg

 

*Andy Devine*

andy_devine.jpg

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I'm a big fan of Honey-cutt! :D I love his voice, like butter. He could charm the birds off the trees with it. My favorites include *El Dorado*, *Two Flags West*, *The Big Sky* and his quirky character in *The Lusty Men*. A very foxy fellow, you felt he always knew more than he let on.

 

James Caan, *Arthur Hunnicutt* and John Wayne (El Dorado)

el-dorado.jpg

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> {quote:title=bOb39 wrote:}{quote}Walter Brennen, Andy Divine and "Smiley" Burnette are among the best and favorites of mine, but for me, the best of "em all is George "Gabby" Hayes. My all-time favorite. And he's quite the scene-stealer.

I love Gabby, too and scene stealer is right. He was terrific in *Tall in the Saddle* with John Wayne.

 

gab.jpg

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Howdy, Ro!

 

> {quote:title=rohanaka wrote:}{quote}Howdy there, Miss G!!

>

> One of the things I like most about him is his ability to play so many different KINDS of characters and still come off so TOTALLY believable with each and every one. Just TWO examples (out of so many) would be my beloved "STUMPY" (nobody else COULD have played him so perfectly) and yet.. his Pa Clanton STILL sends shivers down my spine. Talk about your polar opposites.. Oh me.. oh my. And yet.. he owns both those characters to a T.

>

 

Westerns just would not be the same without old Walt. And he was extremely versatile. He could be soft spoken and reserved, kindly or crotchety, snobbish or down-to-earth and always believable. His old man Clanton scare the willies out of me. :D

 

> Hey.. did I ever tell you that I once had a dream I was on school bus eating ice cream with Walter Brennan?? Talk about your whacky dreams.. ha. I have NO idea where it came from, but there we were.. just sitting on the bus.. eating a couple of vanilla cones and shooting the breeze. (Woo hoo.. Me and Walter on a bus eating ice cream.... now THAT would be a dream come true for SURE!)

 

That's quite a dream! I wonder how many women could tell Walter he was in their dreams? :D

 

Gary Cooper and *Walter Brennan* in The Westerner for which Brennan won an Oscar.

cooper-brennan_opt.jpg

 

Edited by: MissGoddess on Dec 28, 2011 8:28 PM because Walt won not one but three Oscars.

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Howdy, Fred,

When I finally got Encore Westerns in my cable package, it was my introduction to Gene Autry and of course, Smiley as "Frog Millhouse". What a funny pair. I don't know which I prefer, Smiley or Pat Butram, but both made excellent comic foils for Gene and I really have come to love these movies they made.

 

*Smiley Burnette*

burnette.jpg

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I wonder how many women could tell Walter he was in their dreams

 

Ha.. leave it to me.. I bet the head shrinkers would have a field day figuring ME out.. ha.. I am about as boring as you can get so there are NO hidden "dreams" within my dreams.. ha. (I can see it now.. "No really, Mr. Psychiatrist guy.. I just really like Walter Brennan.. AND ice cream.. ha. Oh.. and well.. as for the schoolbus.. I just like to drive large commercial vehicles too") :D

 

PS: thanks for bringing up old Walt in The Westerner.. there's another great role for him. InTHAT one he almost gets to be somewhat "Stumpy-esque" (sort of) AND still be Pa Clanton too.. the best and worst of both.. all rolled into one.

 

I guess I just mean he was a low-down MEAN bad guy.. who yet comes off likable and a bit simple, even (at least at the end) and heartbreakingly sympathetic.

 

Now tell me how he was able to do THAT all in the same movie??

 

But he DID.

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Lol, I can see that actor with the thick glasses who often played psychiatrists in the movies...I think he played one in *Bringing Up Baby*...he'd be saying "Now my dear Ms. Rohanaka, when did this fixation with Mr. Brennan first manifest itself in your psyche?" :D

 

Walter rides a thin line perfectly in *The Westerner*, it's his movie all the way I think. Is he crazy or just mean or just selfish or just misunderstood? Or all those things and more? Whatever his "Judge" Roy Bean he was fascinating to watch.

 

Now to go back and correct my wretched spelling for wonce.

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MissG,

I know you'll enjoy the Western Encore package. I've had it for a few years and watch it quite often. While I enjoy Pat Buttram, he was wonderful as Mr Haney on "Green Acres", I lean a little more to Smiley. There are so many great ones, but I guess if I had to pick one, it would still be "Gabby" Hayes. I remember working on the "Hollywood Palace" in the late 1960's at ABC Hollywood and one week they had Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on as guest and I was talking to Dale and I mentioned "Gabby" and she threw her head back and laughed , saying how wonderful it was working with him in the old days. How much the person you saw on the screen was so different from the real man. He was a well read, very cultured and one of the most educated men she had ever met. He loved to go night clubbing and was always dressed to the nines, but he was so sweet and taught her more about the movie business then anyone else.

Hope you and yours and all the straight shooters out there have a Happy and Healthy New Year... ;)

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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.

pat_butram.jpg

 

As we know him better, as Gene Autry's sidekick.

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And as Mr. Haney on "Green Acres"

pb-001.jpg

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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.

 

! ward-bond-ebsm.jpg

 

 

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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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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.

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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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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.

 

searchersC.jpg

 

(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)

 

searchers6.jpg

 

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

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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!).

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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.......

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