Dagnabbit, Roy, the Winners are . . .

Gabby Hayes (1885-1969)
My super thanks to those who entered last week’s fun contest to identify the actor who often used dagnabbit (also dagnabit) in his movie roles. Acceptable responses were: Gabby Hayes, Andy Devine, Slim Pickens, Walter Brennan, Deputy Dawg, Elmer Fudd, and Yosemite Sam. I know, some of these are from television and some are cartoon characters. I was okay with that. Call me generous.

Gabby Hayes is my favorite cowboy sidekick, a role that disappeared from Westerns. He was crowned King of the Cowboy Comics by his biographers Bobby J. Copeland and Richard B. Smith III.

About Gabby Hayes
Here is a dagnabbit line from his 1942 movie, Sunset on the Desert, starring Roy Rogers. Play audio.

Check out this three-minute video of some of his sayings. Notice his fancy gun handling in the train clip. It’s so casual—if you blink you’ll miss it. Play video.

His cowboy slang and fake cussing included: "consarn it," "yer durn tootin," "dadgumit," “didly dadburn it,” “durn persnickety female," and "young whippersnapper.”  Hayes appeared in more than 200 movies and television shows, including host of a TV series. Most of his roles were in Westerns. He was sidekick to Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, John Wayne, and Randolph Scott (remove hat and place over heart).

Gabby Hayes’ real name was George Francis Hayes. Unlike his cantankerous screen character, in real life he was well-groomed, articulate, and intelligent; he wore expensive clothes and drove expensive cars. He also was a wise investor. After a career in vaudeville, he retired at age forty-three in 1928 and then lost everything in the 1929 stock-market crash. He returned to acting, this time in movies.

Dagnabbit, Roy, the winners are . . .
Missourians responded about as quickly as movie fast-draw experts. Congratulations and thanks to the first five respondents with correct answers:
     Joyce Brooks, Springfield, Missouri – Elmer Fudd
     Mary Hertslet, Boyds, Maryland – Walter Brennan
     Joe Levanti, Mount Vernon, Missouri – Gabby Hayes
     Jackie Mountcastle, Springfield, Missouri – Deputy Dawg
     John R. Zweig, Springfield, Missouri – Gabby Hayes

Photo and audio courtesy www.gabbyhayes.org.
Video courtesy YouTube.

What are your memories of Western movies? How have they influenced your writing?


  1. Congratulations to the winners!

    Wayne, your blog is fantastic. It looks very professional--just like every piece you write. You are a master!


  2. Wayne~ Here's an excerpt from a recent memoir piece I wrote on this very subject:

    There were Saturday mornings with Hoppy, Gene and Roy and Dale on the huge black and white television in a cherry wood console that stood in our living room. And those glorious weeknights, listening to “The Lone Ranger” hunkered down by the radio speakers to hear every “Kimosabe,” whinny and hoof beat. In double-feature movie matinees, the good guys in white hats, always on the side of justice and truth, set everything right with a bit of common sense talk, fist fighting and six-gun shootin’.

    During the summers, our neighborhood kids mirrored those Saturday adventures, playing out our own western dramas with our bicycle steeds and stick rifles. We’d ride to the end of Mooberry Street, where there was an empty lot with bumpy dirt paths. On this outdoor stage, The Good Guys lined up against The Bad Guys and the play would begin.

    (All rights reserved.)

  3. re: Gabby Hayes ~ As a proud new 5-year-old owner of a Schwinn blue 20-inch bike, I had become to feel limited by only being able to ride it within eye sight of our house. Feeling more and more safe and adventuresome, I finally convinced my mother to let me drive 'uptown' our two block main street in my little village of 751 people. What an adventure to pass houses I had only seen from the passenger seat in our 4-door car.
    I likely went to the post office for her, or stopped at Madge's Sundries to pick up a nickel candy bar. Not remembering that, I felt it was time to return home so Mom would know I could safely navigate this trip in the future.
    Turning back to coast down the small hill to the street I knew I came here on, I had neglected to count how far it was to the corner where I would recognize Mrs. Whyte's house and turn right one block. Mind you, I had only ridden four blocks, but in my new found freedom, I had forgotten to count them, and panicked at losing my way home.
    Suddenly flustered, I recognized one house that I knew was someone who was a customer at mother's beauty shop. Laying my bike down in their grass, I mounted the wide wooden stairs and knocked on their screen door. It was embarrassing for me to admit my error, but I asked if I could use their phone to call my mother at 3251.
    I was relieved when she answered, as she always would have, and when I told her my predicament, she asked where I was.
    I knew the people in this house were named Hayes and I remembered a neighbor was named Gabby, so I told her I was at Gabby Hayes house.

    Not surprisingly, she knew right where I was, before asking Mrs. Hayes, to kindly give me directions home.

  4. 'drive' should be 'ride' but y'all knew that.

    Gabby Hayes was one of my fav Saturday morning shows also as I just knew some day I would grow up to be a cowgirl in that wonderful not-too-wild West. It was a while before I was able to ride my horse alone. But that was a magical time.

    Good article prompt, Wayne!

  5. wise investor? he lost everything in the stock market crash!!