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Sidekicks and Second Bananas


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What would films be without such characters?

Of all the sidekicks in films, the one I will watch in any film, is the inimitable Arthur Hunnicutt, who brings rural accents to any scene or situation. This man is so hilarious on screen, that I often watch the other players as he regales them with stories, which sound like he is a victim of Munchausen's syndrome.

I get the feeling sometimes that he is just ad-libbing parts of his lines, since the other players look perplexed and also quite amused as he takes over the bit and steals scenes consistently. He was so entertaining in films like The Big Sky, The French Line and The Kettles in the Ozarks, a role he was born to play.

Born in 1910 in Gravelly, Arkansas, he always looked elderly, and was still acting in things on tv like TZ episodes in his later years.

I'll leave it up to you to mention other sidekicks you admire, and second bananas, and my favorite in the latter is Donald O'Connor.

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The British actor Arthur Treacher was a quintessential second banana. He appeared with Shirley Temple in "The Little Princess" (1939)...

...and went on to serve as the announcer and sidekick for Merv Griffin's CBS late-night talk show 30 years later.

Image result for arthur treacher merv griffin images

 

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32 minutes ago, jakeem said:

The British actor Arthur Treacher was a quintessential second banana. He appeared with Shriley Temple in "The Little Princess" (1939)...

...and went on to serve as the announcer and sidekick for Merv Griffin's CBS late-night talk show 30 years later.

Image result for arthur treacher merv griffin images

 

Thanks!

I saw an amusing clip of him recently, in which Merv had Totie Fields on the show also, and liked to have both Arthur and Totie sit next to each other on the couch, showing they looked the same height, and then have both stand up, and Arthur looked about two feet taller.

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8 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Hank Worden was another, gotta wonder if he was just a bit touched in the head. He was quite active also his last appearance was on Twin Peaks I believe.

Love him! Wasn't he in "The Searchers"?

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[anonymous praise of Arthur Hunnicutt, including later work on TZ episodes]

I feel as if the "The Hunt" TZ episode had originally been meant on paper to be an over-the-top shaggy-dog Beverly Hillbillies tall-tale, for one of their lighthearted "funny" episodes--

b7f45155b998ae2a0f2dc489196d5bea.jpg

But Hunnicutt plays his role SO un-ironically Appalachian-grizzled, it turns the entire atmosphere of the episode 100% straight, into another one of Earl Hamner's colorful down-home pre-Waltons back-country stories.

One of the few times Arthur got to be top banana in a story, and I'd always spotted him in his second-banana roles ever since.

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He became a leading man on television, of course, but I've always liked Walter Brennan as the second banana in Gary Cooper films. I can still hear him talking about "the heelots" in "Meet John Doe" (1941).

Image result for walter brennan and gary cooper meet john doe

 

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1 hour ago, Fedya said:

And Sterling Holloway in the middle.  One of the more distinctive faces in Hollywood.

And voices! I wonder how Disney's Winnie the Pooh would have sounded if Holloway hadn't done the character in the 1960s.

Image result for sterling holloway winnie the pooh

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My vote goes for unsung sidekicks are EDDIE ROCHESTER ANDERSON AND ANDY DEVINE IN Jack Benny's BUCK BENNY RIDES AGAIN 1940 FROM PARAMOUNT STUDIOS.  These two guys steal the show in this very funny but hardly seen comedy.images.jpg.92106162748756cade9f5d75ef27fd4d.jpgImage result for buck benny rides again

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18 hours ago, Fedya said:

And Sterling Holloway in the middle.  One of the more distinctive faces in Hollywood.

His rendition of "The End of a Perfect Day" in Remember the Night always makes me tear up.

 

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18 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:
  • Noah Beery Jr
  • Harry Carey Jr
  • Victor Mclaglen
  • Nigel Bruce

And William Demarest, in any Preston Sturges comedy.

335837293.jpg

Even when Sturges was forced to go "serious" in The Great Moment (1944), Demarest still runs away with the picture.

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My choice for a tragic tale of a second banana is Grant Withers (1905-1959). He was in more than 200 films. He was signed up to be a leading man at Warner Brothers and married Loretta Young. Loretta annulled their marriage. WB gave him the boot when he didn't click with audiences. He spent the rest of his life playing supporting roles. He got married again in 1953, and had John Wayne as best man, but the marriage ended in divorce two years later. In 1959 he committed suicide "dying from an overdose of barbiturates. He left behind a note in which he apologized to all the people he'd purportedly let down during his Hollywood days." (imdb) Many think failing health triggered the suicide. A really sad story.

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