He was a dapper man in real life. And often his fans didn’t recognize him. But one peek at the picture above spells Gabby Hayes.
He was indeed Hollywood’s favorite sidekick to various western stars, one who emerged as a force at the box office and something of a star himself. He was an immensely popular figure of family entertainment on two tv networks in the Fifties.
Let’s see how much you know about Hayes. To review the questions just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: We apologize in advance. This was a trick question. Hayes worked with ALL four stars (William Boyd was, of course, Hopalong Cassidy). He was, for example, sidekick to Randolph Scott six times, John Wayne 15 times. Hayes worked a lot.
2) Answer: b) and (c). For four years from 1935 Hayes played Hopalong Cassidy’s sidekick, Windy Halliday. After a salary dispute with the studio (Paramount) he shifted to Republic Pictures but was legally prevented from using the Halliday name. Some fanciful Republic exec, no doubt, came up with “Gabby.” Hayes was born in 1885 as George Francis Hayes.
3) Answer: b) As indicated above, Hayes cut a very different figure offscreen. He was well-read, well-groomed, somewhat serious and knowledgeably philosophic. In all a pretty sophisticated gent.
4) Answer: a) True.
5) Answer: b) False. Hayes offscreen lived fairly conservatively (he married only once; his wife’s name was Olive), and lived well within his means. He later owned and managed real estate in West Hollywood. He lived comfortably until his death in 1969, at age 83.