I am currently on the shy end of 70 years old, and as such, my memory sometimes isn't what I'd like it to be. But I recollect, at the age of six or seven, going to a friend's house every Saturday afternoon to watch a western movie. Just before the movie started there was a choral group that sang "The Lord's Prayer." Searching for the group's name, or the TV show name, I struck out. I went to a friend's home because he had a TV set and we didn't. But we did have a radio, so I know it wasn't "The Saturday Afternoon Matinee" which was a pre-TV radio program. Why a vocal group set the stage for me to watch the movie, I don't know, but it always did.
      The first movie I ever watched had a supporting role by George "Gabby" Hayes and I was captured by westerns and horses for life.


George "Gabby" Hayes
(May 7, 1885 February 9, 1969)
Hayes didn't know how to ride a horse until he was in his forties and had to learn for film roles. George married Olive E. Ireland, the daughter of a New Jersey glass finisher, on March 4, 1914. They remained together until her death on July 5, 1957 (43 yrs). 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. 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. Ironically, Hayes would admit he had never been a big fan of Westerns. Hayes, in real life an intelligent, well-groomed and articulate man, was often cast as a grizzled codger who uttered phrases such as "consarn it", "yer durn tootin'", "dadgummit", "durn persnickety female", and "young whippersnapper." From 1935 to 1939, Hayes played the part of Windy Halliday, the sidekick to Hopalong Cassidy (played by William Boyd). Moving from Paramount Pictures to Republic Pictures, he was given the nickname "Gabby". As Gabby Whitaker, he appeared in more than 40 films between 1939 and 1946, usually with Roy Rogers (44 times), but also with Gene Autry (7) and Wild Bill Elliott (14). Hayes was also repeatedly cast as a sidekick of the Western stars Randolph Scott (six times) and John Wayne (15 times, some as straight or villainous characters). Gabby died on February 9, 1969, at the age of 83, from cardiovascular disease.
         
Photos with "Gabby"
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best known character
Marital Bliss
just another Jones
"Aw shucks."
"Drive? Me? Naw!"
on the "wild" side
'Windy Halliday' with "Hoppy"
with "Hoppy"
crooning
an early girlfriend
when it raynes it pours
old, old friends
"The Cariboo Trail"
stage driver
even in a film with Tarzan
that's a real "hoot"
"I can be a villain, too".
'The Night Rider'
"C'mon hoss, let's go!"
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