He was the most famous sidekick EVER.

And he was perhaps the scruffiest old crone in Hollywood history. (There he is on the left of the above photo.)

We’re talking Gabby Hayes here, and are wondering just how much you know about  this memorable character actor/star.

He worked a ton (amassing a whopping 190 movie and tv credits over some 20 years), and was hugely popular in Westerns of the Thirties and Forties. In the Fifties he successfully plunged into tv with The Gabby Hayes Show — which ran over four years on NBC and then two on rival ABC — and found himself the inspiration for a popular comic book series.

By comparison, he made Walter Brennen look like a male fashion model. He didn’t usually present himself as a drunk or a reprobate, but mostly as a benign, toothless old cuss given to lines such as “yer durn tootin” and “young whipper snapper.” And it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say he was a beloved onscreen figure.

Ok, let’s see how you do with our Gabby Hayes Mini-Quiz.  As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:

1) Question: Hayes worked with some of the biggest Hollywood western stars including that fellow pictured above right. Which of the following did he NOT appear onscreen with? a) John Wayne; b) Randolph Scott; c) William Boyd; or d) Roy Rogers.

2) Question: Hayes has had a couple of marquee name changes during his lengthy career.  How did he come by “Gabby?” a) He had a hard time keeping his mouth shut; b) The result of a contract dispute; c) Was so designated by a Republic Pictures exec; or d) none of the above.

3) Question:  Hayes was an interesting Hollywood personality in that he behaved offscreen exactly as his character did onscreen.  a) True; or b) False?

4) Question: Hayes ranked among Hollywood’s top 10 money-making Western stars for a straight dozen years. a) True; or b) False?

5) Question:  Sadly, Hayes spent his last years in poverty thanks to his recklessly spend-thrift ways with his movie earnings.  a) True; or b) False?


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