Movie sidekicks?

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Blackthorn, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

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    I know I'm an oddball, so this thread will probably be quickly relegated to a dusty shelf, but I have always loved the sidekicks in movies. I loved Gabby Hayes in so many of his roles, among others. And in fedora movies, Frank McHugh always got my attention when playing off of Cagney or Bogart.

    But my all time favorite is Walter Brennan. He makes any movie WAY better. For instance, in To Have and Have Not, playing off Bogart, he really made the movie (for me).

    And as Stumpy in Rio Bravo, again, it would be less of a classic with anyone else in that role.

    In Red River, I'd have been very bored without him to liven things up.

    And so on through many, many of his movies.

    The sidekicks can really make a movie.

    Any thoughts from you all?
     
  2. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    I can't stand side-kicks. Are there any in real life? Side-kicks serve only to allow the lead to spell stuff out aloud for the audience. To be fair, I blame Sir A. C. Doyle; if there wasn't any Watson, Holmes wouldn't have had the chance to show off how clever he was, therefore obliging Doyle to be a better writer.
     
  3. emigran

    emigran Practically Family

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    Sidekicks Rule...!!!
    FIrst one comes to mind for me is Al "Fuzzy" St. John with Buster Crabbe and then
    Pat Brady with Roy Rogers and his jeep Nellibelle...
    Then Pat Butram with Gene Autry'''
    BUster Crabbe also had a sidekick named Iggy in Buck Rogers can't find his real name...

    Charlie Chan (Sidney Tolier) had a driver sidekick Mantan Moreland who did some fabulous bits with Charlie's #1 Son...

    And how about Leo Carillo (Pancho) to Duncan Rinaldo's Cisco Kid...
     
  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Frank McHugh as James Cagney's fussy choreographer sidekick in "Footlight Parade." "IT CAAAAAAN'T BE DONE!"

    Harry Langdon as Al Jolson's Communist garbage-collector sidekick in "Hallelujah I'm A Bum."
     
  5. emigran

    emigran Practically Family

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    Yes, Frank McHugh was a great sidekick... and whatta laugh

    How about Don Knotts to Andy Griffith
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015
  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I might be playing a bit fast and loose with the definition of a "sidekick," but James Gleason is one of my favorite sidekicks in the sense that he shows up in a lot of movies and plays off the star - as a confidant, foil, etc. A great example of his work is in "The Bishop's Wife" where he plays off all three leads - Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven - and quietly is the glue and catalyst for much of the movie. If you don't know the name, I bet if you look him up, you'll recognize him as he was in a ton of big movies quietly doing his thing. And sometimes he shows up not in a sidekick roll, but just as another actor in a supporting roll - always doing a great job.

    And Blackthorn - great idea for a thread (which is probably the kiss of death coming from me) and, yes, Walter Brennan is an awesome sidekick.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015
  7. Bamaboots

    Bamaboots

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    Chill Wills plays a pretty good one in "McClintock", one of my favorites.
     
  8. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    I generally can't stand em. I watched a few moments of the Charlie Chan festival on TCM a couple of days ago. Mantann Moreland did it for me. Stepnfetchit? Really????? C'mon man.....

    Worf
     
  9. Bamaboots

    Bamaboots

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    Pat Buttram as Gene Autry's sidekick was one of the worst.
     
  10. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Porky Pig as "Comedy Relief," sidekick to "Drip Along Daffy" Duck.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Hi-Ho Tinfoil!!

    This was the very first thing I thought of when I saw the topic.
     
  12. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

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    Keenan Wynn described his start in acting: " I was always the star's buddy who got pushed into the pool". Does a great job as Kirk Douglas's sidekick in My Dear Secretary. They are ably assisted by Irene 'Granny Clampett' Ryan and Laraine Day.
     
  13. AdeeC

    AdeeC Practically Family

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    An interesting offbeat "sidekick" was Clarence Muse(Sam) in MASSACRE 1934. He plays Richard Barthlemess's negro butler/driver. Barthlemess plays a wealthy Indian rodeo star(Joe Thunderhorse) wiho has a harem of white girlfriends and is on a mission to seek justice for his exploited tribe. Witty Sam drives Joe around in a huge luxury convertible sports car with equally huge bull horns mounted on the radiator. A bizarre Lone Ranger/Tonto pair. This was one of the more unusual and daring Hollywood precode films tackling prickly social issues. Muse was also one of the few Negro actors to play some straight roles rather than just demeaning stereotypical janitors, shoeshine boys etc in the 30's.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
  14. Lean'n'mean

    Lean'n'mean I'll Lock Up

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    My favorite movie sidekick would have to be Stan Laurel.
     
  15. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Interesting interpretation. I see exactly what you mean re L&H; in the writing, Stan was always the willing - or unwitting - accessory to Oliie's Straight Man schemes. Where's the line between a double act, and a lead with a sidekick?


    As with any element of entertainment, if it adds to the whole, I'm all for it. If not...
     
  16. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    But the weird thing about that interpretation is that Stan Laurel was actually the creative guy on the team. He was the one laboring over gag and story ideas, and frequently sitting in the cutting room with the film editor and director. Oliver Hardy generally hit the golf course when they were done with a day's filming, and rarely contributed beyond his performance. (Not to imply he wasn't a comic genius too! Just less driven/dedicated.)

    Fascinating comedy factoid that can't be repeated enough: Stan Laurel was Charlie Chaplin's understudy during their pre-movie career in music hall/vaudeville with the Fred Karno Company!
     
  17. AdeeC

    AdeeC Practically Family

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    Smiley Burnette played sidekick to at least half a dozen cowboy stars.
     
  18. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

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    lol, thanks FF.
     
  19. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    There were probably more comedy teams that went beyond the stereotypical "straight man and comic" image than didn't. Among movie teams, The Marx Brothers, the Ritz Brothers, and Wheeler and Woosley were all comics, with the rest of the cast filling the collective role as "straight man."

    Some try to argue that Zeppo Marx was the "straight man" of that team, but he was actually a deliberate parody of the "juvenile lead" in musical comedy, a role which was often dismissed as callow, superfluous, and annoying by Broadway habitues. Zeppo was very specifically sending up this image, a joke which passes right over the heads of people who've never seen an actual 1920s musical comedy and leads them to think there was no point in Zeppo's presence, when in fact the pointlessness of his role was the whole joke.

    The teams which specifically fit the "straight man and comic" image that at least a few people today might be familiar with would be Abbott and Costello, Burns and Allen, and Martin and Lewis. Even in these, you could never really call the straight man the comic's "sidekick."
     
  20. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    Love, love, love Walter Brennan! He also played a great sidekick to Gary Cooper in Meet John Doe. And his role as Stumpy is one of my favorites!
     

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