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George Frances "Gabby" Hayes


by Dave Bourne



Left: George Hayes as "Gabby" and right, in real life a handsome man with his wife, Olive, at the Harwyn Club


More Gabby Photos courtesy of Bruce Hickey.

A Younger Gabby without Whiskers - 2 photos

Known to fans as “Gabby,” George Hayes was the quintessential sidekick.  The character of Gabby which George referred to as “the old fella,” was basically an adaptation of “Uncle Varn” Phillips, an entertainer that Hayes knew from his childhood days.  Phillips portrayed a rustic character with high button shoes who danced the Buck and Wing.  By the time George was fifteen and beginning his own career in vaudeville, he had the character of “the old fella” down pat.  His movie career began in 1929 with “The Rainbow Man.” 


Left: Whiskerless, as the outlaw chief in "Randy Rides Alone", 1934, with John Wayne and Yakima Canutt

Right: courtesy of Bruce Hickey


George Hayes as "Cactus" in In Old Santa Fe with Ken Maynard, 1934

“The old fella” emerged full blown in Hayes’s portrayal of Cactus in the movie “In Old Santa Fe” in 1934.  This same movie marked Gene Autry’s and Smiley Burnette’s entry into the movie business.


George Hayes as Dr. Parker in Tumbling Tumbleweeds, 1935


Hopalong Rides Again, 1937


George Hayes as "Windy Halliday" with William "Hopalong Cassidy" Boyd in Bar 20 Justice, 1938

(photo courtesy of Les Adams)


Originally paired with William Boyd as Windy Halliday in the Hopalong Cassidy series, he left for Republic Pictures in late 1938 over a disagreement with studio chief Harry Sherman.  Sherman would not allow him to use the Windy appellation at Republic and so the Gabby name was born.  Eventually he became Roy Rogers’ sidekick and his film career continued until his last feature “The Cariboo Trail” with Randolph Scott in 1950. 


George Hayes with young Roy Rogers


At the end of 1941, the Sons of the Pioneers joined Roy Rogers and Gabby was in many of their films.


Red River Valley, 1942


Man from Cheyenne, 1942


South of Santa Fe, 1942


Sunset on the Desert, 1942


Romance on the Range, 1942


Sons of the Pioneers, 1942


Sons of the Pioneers, 1942


Sunset Serenade, 1942


Sunset Serenade, 1942


Heart of the Golden West, 1942


Lights of Old Santa Fe, 1944


Lights of Old Santa Fe, 1944


Lights of Old Santa Fe, 1944


Bells of Rosarita, 1945


Man from Oklahoma, 1945


Man from Oklahoma, 1945


Utah, 1945


Utah, 1945


Sunset in El Dorado, 1945


Gabby, Dale and Roy in Don't Fence Me In, 1945


Along the Navajo Trail, 1945


Song of Arizona, 1945


Roy, Dale and Gabby in Rainbow Over Texas, 1946


My Pal Trigger, 1946


My Pal Trigger, 1946


Roll On, Texas Moon, 1946


Roll On, Texas Moon, 1946


Home in Oklahoma, 1946


Heldorado, 1946





Courtesy of Bruce Hickey


He had his own show on NBC for two seasons introducing old westerns.  When his wife Olive died in 1956 George retired completely from show business.  He was plagued with heart problems and passed away after a second heart attack in 1969.  George Hayes will be forever remembered as Gabby, “Yer durn tootin'."

Gabby during his cruise to Hawaii in 1965 on a Matson liner.

(photo courtesy of Bruce Hickey)



More Gabby Photos courtesy of Bruce Hickey.

Along the Navajo Trail with Dale Evans




with Randolph Scott


Border Town Gunfighters with Wild Bill Elliott



The Cariboo Trail with Randolph Scott (left)


The Cariboo Trail with Randolph Scott


El Paso


Gold is Where You Find It


In Old Oklahoma


In Old Oklahoma with John Wayne



Nevada City with Roy Rogers


Return of the Badmen


Saloon with John Wayne


Sons of the Pioneers with Roy Rogers


Sunset in El Dorado with Dale Evans


Tall in the Saddle with John Wayne (right)


Tall in the Saddle with John Wayne


The Throwback (1935)

A young George Hayes with Buck Jones.


George Hayes (right) with Bob Steele in Ranger's Code, 1933

(photo courtesy of Bruce Hickey)


Trail Street with Randolph Scott


Trail Street


Trail Street


Tucson Raiders


Tumbling Tumbleweeds

George Hayes on the left, Gene Autry at centre.


Gabby with Dale Evans in "Utah" (1945)


Wagon Tracks West


With Roy Rogers and Richard Dix


TV series













John Wayne with Gabby


Gabby Hayes and Vera Ralston


Gabby, John Wayne and Noah Beery Jr.


Wild Bill Elliott with Gabby


From "Romance on the Range", 1942


From "South of Santa Fe", 1942 with Roy Rogers and Linda Hayes.