In 1959, right around my birthday, a movie was released called Rio Bravo. John Wayne was at that time one of those generational hangovers between the thirties generation and the boomers. Baby-faced Ricky Nelson (Ozzie and Harriet), who played a stone-cold killer, sang a few songs as a sop to the kiddies and the bubble-gummers who might be bored by all the craggy faces of the “Greatest” generation.
As sidekicks go, though, Brennan was one of the best of a group of comic men that included Gabby Hayes, Chill Wills, Andy Devine and Slim Pickens. When Slim Pickens was gutshot in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and staggered off to a Bob Dylan dirge, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, was that Peckinpah’s tribute to the passing of the “American Sidekick?” At any rate Brennan’s voice was unforgettable; he was one of the funniest sidekicks in the movie business. John Wayne teased Stumpy unmercifully, and he limped through the movie in a permanent state of grumpy, bruised, hurt feelings.