Saturday, March 19, 2022


This week's Saturday Night Special is dedicated to all the sidekicks, assistants, buddies, and clown friends from movies and television over the years, you know, the guys who bring the comedy relief, and/or just make the programs more interesting.
 Sometimes they were merely weirdos like Renfield in "Dracula" as played by Dungeon Hero Dwight Frye.

Sometimes they were freaks like Dwight's portrayal of Fritz in "Frankenstein."
Just like Dracula needed Renfield, Dr. Frankenstein needed Fritz.

Eddi Arent provided the comedy relief in a number of German Krimi movies. Sometimes it works, and sometimes he can be pretty annoying!

Although this 1959 show was titled "The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis," to all of us who identify more with misfits, the star was really Bob Denver as hep cat Maynard G. Krebs.

I'm pretty sure when they developed the character Shaggy in the 1969 cartoon series "Scooby Doo, Where Are you," they were thinking a lot about Maynard!

 After Dobie Gillis, Bob Denver was given the starring role in "Gilligan's Island" in 1964, but his character was still a weirdo.
As far as I can tell, the first real hipster on an American TV show was Edd Byrnes as the cool cat so cool, he has to constantly be combing his hair in the 1958 TV show, "77 Sunset Strip!"
It became such a thing that Edd and Connie "Cricket" Stevens even cut a single on the subject.
Another cool cat, The Fonz as played by Henry Winkler, showed up in 1974 on the first episode of "Happy Days," called "All The Way." Here's some good news, even though the world today sucks, Henry Winkler is still alive and working!!

Probably one of the best examples of what I'm trying to say here is Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show." Young people didn't watch this show to see Andy Griffith or Aunt Bee, like Maynard, we watched it to see whatever antics Barney was up to that week!

 As Barney was to Andy, that's how Gomer Pyle was to Barney!

And as Gomer was to Barney, that's how Goober was to Gomer! Although they were supposed to be cousins, I just read on Wikipedia that the first time Andy referred to Goober, he called him Goober Beasley, but after that, they always called him Goober Pyle. Goober Pyle was played by George Lindsey. George was also in "The Twilight Zone" episode titled "I Am The Night - Color Me Black."

Jim Nabors as Gomer was a popular enough guy that he ended up getting his own show, "Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C."
Not all Pyles were created equal. My Mother told me that Ernie Pyle, the Pulitzer Prize–winning American journalist and war correspondent who died in action, was my Grandma's cousin.
A lot of cowboys had sidekicks, and not all of them were funny, but Wild Bill Hickok's best pal Jingles as played by Andy Devine sure was. I'll never forget that plaintive cry from the 1951 show,
 "Hey Wild Bill, wait for me!"

Last but not least on this list, is Larry Storch as Corporal Randolph Agarn from the 1965 TV show "F-Troop." Previous to "F-Troop," Larry kept very busy from 1962 to 1963 doing the voice of "Koko The Clown. 
If I did the math correctly, Larry just celebrated his 99th birthday this last January!
I'm pretty sure that's proof that humor is healthy!


kd said...

"77 Sunset Strip" used to play at 3am on MeTV up until a few years ago, and I stayed up most nights to watch! (Time Tunnel star Robert Colbert had a bizarre guest role on a "77" episode as a wacko on the loose.) MeTV replaced "77" with Barnaby Jones, and weeknight nighttime tv hasn't been the same fun since. :(

Larry Storch did a great episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour titled "An Out for Oscar," in which he played a "mousy bank teller" named Oscar Blenny! A unique straight role for Storch, and a wonderful job he does! It's likely online somewhere. It gave me a whole new respect for Storch as an actor!

Here is the episode's IMDb listing:

Randall Landers said...

To me, these "second bananas" are the very reason to watch a lot of 60's and 70's television. Some of the tradition continues today. Kramer from Seinfeld, for a more contemporary example. But for the most part, this type of character is missing from modern sitcoms, and I guess that might be part of why I have little interest in them today.

EEGAH!! said...

Exactamundo Randall!!

kd said...

Your comment is SO on-target, Randall! Just like EEGAH said! :)

Kramer was pretty much the only reason I ever watched Seinfeld, lol! Even my late mother-in-law used to ask "where's that tall guy with the crazy hair?"

When Ted Danson had the sitcom BECKER some years back, I watched it for the two most wacko characters:

Bob at the diner played by Saverio Guerra:

and Linda, Dr. Becker's receptionist, played by Shawnee Smith:

These two characters on BECKER often made me laugh so hard they brought me to tears!

Realm Of Retro said...

Dwight Frye's "Renfield" character in DRACULA (1931)
is one of the funniest things I ever saw in my life!

He plays a similar character in THE VAMPIRE BAT (1933).

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