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George "Gabby" Hayes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George "Gabby" Hayes
Hayes in 1953
George Francis Hayes

(1885-05-07)May 7, 1885
DiedFebruary 9, 1969(1969-02-09) (aged 83)
Years active1902–1956
Olive E. Ireland
(m. 1914; died 1957)

George Francis "Gabby" Hayes (7 May 1885 – 9 February 1969) was an American actor. He began as something of a leading man and a character player, but he was best known for his numerous appearances in B-Western film series as the bewhiskered, cantankerous, but ever-loyal and brave comic sidekick of the cowboy stars Roy Rogers and John Wayne.[1]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • WYOMING - Bill Elliott, George 'Gabby' Hayes - full Western Movie [English]
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  • SOUTH OF SANTA FE - Roy Rogers, George 'Gabby' Hayes - Full Western Movie / English / HD / 720p
  • SHERIFF OF TOMBSTONE - Roy Rogers, George 'Gabby' Hayes - full Western Movie [English]
  • Bad Man Of Deadwood - Full Movie | Roy Rogers, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Carol Adams, Henry Brandon


Early years

Hayes was born the third of seven children in his father's hotel, the Hayes Hotel, in Stannards, New York. (Hayes always gave Wellsville as his birthplace, but legally he was born in Stannards.) He was the son of Elizabeth Morrison and Clark Hayes. His father, in addition to operating the Hayes Hotel, was also involved in oil production. His siblings included his brothers, William W., Morrison, and Clark B., and his sisters, Nellie Elizabeth Hayes Ebeling and Harriet "Hattie" Elizabeth Hayes Allen. Morrison Hayes, a corporal in the United States Army, was killed in action on July 19, 1918, during World War I in France and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during the war. The American Legion post in Wellsville, New York is named after Morrison Hayes. His uncle on his mother's side was George F. Morrison, vice president of General Electric.[citation needed]

George Hayes grew up in Stannards and attended Stannards School.[2] He played semi-professional baseball while in high school. He ran away from home in 1902, at 17, joined a stock company, apparently traveled for a time with a circus, and became a successful vaudevillian.[3]

Hayes married Olive E. Ireland, the daughter of a glass finisher on March 4, 1914. She joined him in vaudeville, performing under the name Dorothy Earle (not to be confused with film actress and writer Dorothy Earle).[4] Hayes had become so successful that by 1928, at age 43, he was able to retire to a home on Long Island in Baldwin, New York. He lost all his savings the next year in the 1929 stock market crash. Olive persuaded her husband to try his luck in films, and the couple moved to Los Angeles.[5] They remained together until her death on July 5, 1957. The couple had no children.

Film career

George Hayes, without his facial hair, as the villain Matt the Mute in Randy Rides Alone, 1934
With John Wayne in Blue Steel (1934)

After his move to Los Angeles, according to later interviews, Hayes had a chance meeting with the producer Trem Carr, who liked his look and gave him 30 roles over the next six years. In his early career, Hayes was cast in a variety of roles, including villains, and occasionally played two roles in a single film. He found a niche in the growing genre of Western films, many of which were series with recurring characters. Hayes did not come from a cowboy background; he did not know how to ride a horse until he was in his 40s.

Hayes, in real life an intelligent, well-groomed and articulate man, often was cast as a grizzled codger who uttered phrases such as "consarn it", "yer durn tootin'", "dadgummit", "durn persnickety female", and "young whippersnapper".[6] From 1935 to 1939, Hayes played the part of Windy Halliday, the humorous "codger" sidekick of Hopalong Cassidy (played by William Boyd). In 1939, Hayes left this role at Paramount Pictures after a dispute over his salary and moved to Republic Pictures. Paramount held the rights to the name Windy Halliday, and Republic renamed him Gabby Whitaker, which was virtually the same character. As Gabby, he appeared in more than 40 films from 1939 to 1946, usually with Roy Rogers (44 times) and with Gene Autry (7) and Wild Bill Elliott (14), often working under the directorship of Joseph Kane (34). Hayes repeatedly was cast as a sidekick of the Western stars Randolph Scott (6 times) and John Wayne (15 times, some as straight or villainous characters). Hayes played Wayne's sidekick in Raoul Walsh's Dark Command (1940), which featured Roy Rogers in a supporting role.

Hayes became a popular performer and consistently appeared among the 10 favorite actors in polls taken of moviegoers of the period. He appeared in either one or both the Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice Magazine lists of the Top Ten Moneymaking Western Stars for 12 consecutive years and then a thirteenth time in 1954, four years after his last film.

Westerns declined in popularity in the late 1940s, and Hayes made his last film in the genre in 1950: The Cariboo Trail. He had appeared in 174 westerns.[7] He moved to television and hosted The Gabby Hayes Show, a Western series, from 1950 to 1954 on NBC and in a version in 1956 on ABC.[8] The show was sponsored by Quaker Oats, and its products were advertised during the show. In promoting the product, Gabby said to stand back from the screen, and he fired a cannon loaded with cereal at the screen as a tie-in to their ad slogan, "shot from guns". He introduced the show, often while whittling on a piece of wood, and sometimes told a tall tale. When the series ended, Hayes retired from show business. During this time, he made guest appearances on television, including several on Howdy Doody for his friend "Buffalo" Bob Smith. He lent his name to "Gabby Hayes Western" comics, published by Fawcett Publications from November 1948 until January 1957, and to a children's summer camp in New York.


Hayes's grave at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills

Following his wife's death on July 5, 1957, Hayes first lived at his ranch on Toluca Lake in California.[7] He later stayed at a 10-unit apartment building he owned.[9]

Early in 1969 he entered Saint Joseph Hospital in Burbank, California for treatment of cardiovascular disease. Hayes died there on February 9, 1969, at the age of 83.[9] He is interred in the Forest Lawn–Hollywood Hills Cemetery.[10]


Two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame commemorate Hayes's work in the entertainment industry: one for his contribution to radio at 6427 Hollywood Boulevard and one for his contribution to television at 1724 Vine Street.[11] In 2000, he was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[12]

Popular culture

John Wayne and Gabby Hayes
The Gabby Hayes Show (1951)

Gabby Hayes was referenced by name in The Andy Griffith Show, Season 1 Episode 13 “Mayberry Goes Hollywood”. Air date January 12, 1961.

Homage was paid to Hayes in a different way in the 1974 satirical Western Blazing Saddles. The actor and director Jack Starrett, credited as Claude Ennis Starrett Jr., played a Hayes-like character. In keeping with a running joke in the movie, the character is called Gabby Johnson. After Johnson delivers a rousing, though partially unintelligible speech to the townspeople, David Huddleston's character stands up to say, "Now, who can argue with that?!", and proclaims it "authentic frontier gibberish".[13]

In the animated film Toy Story 2, the character Stinky Pete the Prospector, voiced by Kelsey Grammer, is modeled after Hayes.[14] In the film's fictional universe, he is a toy version of a character on the marionette television western Woody's Roundup, where he is a colorful comic relief character. In contrast, the toy is intelligent and well-spoken, a reference to Hayes's contrasting real-life and film personas.

Into a Mighty Carson Art Players sketch on The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson impersonated Gabby Hayes in a sketch with Roy Rogers. This sketch has appeared on Carson's syndicated series Carson's Comedy Classics, which features highlights from his years as host of The Tonight Show.

Hayes was mentioned in The Simpsons episode "Radioactive Man", in which Milhouse becomes Radioactive Man's sidekick Fallout Boy; the director of the film comments that Milhouse is "going to be big, Gabby Hayes big!"[15]

Every year in early July, from 1983 through 1989, Gabby Hayes Days were celebrated in Wellsville, New York. The event featured a street sale, square dancing, and Hayes look-alike contests for adults and children. This celebration was eventually merged in the mid-July Wellsville Balloon Rally and gradually disappeared. A street is also named after him in Wellsville, Gabby Hayes Lane.[2]

Since April 1969, a band of fishermen has traveled to Kettle Creek, Pennsylvania] for the Gabby Hayes Memorial Trout Fishing Tournament. These men, known as Gabby Guys, gather annually to celebrate the opening day of the trout fishing season and the memory of Hayes. In April 2019, they celebrated their fiftieth anniversary, which also marked 50 years since Hayes' passing.[16]

Partial filmography

Comic book appearances

  • Gabby Hayes Adventure Comics #1 (1953, Toby Press)
  • Gabby Hayes Western #1–59 (1948–1957, Fawcett Publications)
  • Gabby Hayes Western #50–111 (1951–1955, L. Miller black-and-white reprints of Fawcett Comics)
  • Gabby Hayes Mini Comics, 5 issues (1951, Quaker Oats giveaway)


  1. ^ Hoffmann, Henryk (2012). Western Movie References in American Literature. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 80. ISBN 978-0786466382.
  2. ^ a b "Photo Gallery: Town of Willing, NY". p. 1. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  3. ^ Rowan, Terry M. (2015). Who's who in Hollywood!. Lu lu. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-329-07449-1.
  4. ^ Gordon, Roger L. (2018). Supporting Actors in Motion Pictures. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Dorrance Publishing Company. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-4809-4499-2.
  5. ^ Bender, Texas Bix; Slim, Too (2011). The Official Sidekick Handbook. Texas Bix Bender, James Hough. Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-4236-1921-5.
  6. ^ Marill, Alvin H. (2011). Television Westerns : Six Decades of Sagebrush Sheriffs, Scalawags, and Sidewinders. Lanham: Scarecrow Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-8108-8133-4.
  7. ^ a b "Man Bites Dogie, Or Gabby Hayes Hates Westerns". Variety. September 3, 1958. p. 1. Retrieved May 14, 2023.
  8. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2013). Television introductions : narrated TV program openings since 1949. Lanham, Maryland. p. 173. ISBN 978-0810892491.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ a b Gabby Hayes Who Died Sunday at 83 Began Career on Stage at Cross Fork, The Express (Lock Haven, PA), February 11, 1969, page 1
  10. ^ Ross, Kathryn, Gabby Hayes remembered as Wellsville Lions Club places 8th historical marker, Olean Times Herald, August 4, 2021
  11. ^ "George 'Gabby' Hayes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  12. ^ George "Gabby" Hayes in the Hall of Great Western Performers
  13. ^ "Authentic Frontier Gibberish". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021.
  14. ^ "The Toys Are Back in Town". November 24, 1999. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  15. ^ "07x02 - Radioactive Man - The Simpsons Transcripts - Forever Dreaming". Retrieved June 6, 2017.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 May 2024, at 00:04
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