Alex "Sonny" Chapman, of Ville Platte, says my Wednesday story about the youngster who was surprised about Tony Chachere being a real person, "reminded me of a similar incident (your column does that a lot).

"When I became the daddy of my son Korey, a 5-year-old, by marrying his mom, it was the peak of 'Great Wrestling Times' — Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, the Undertaker.

"Korey asked me if Junkyard Dog was a real person. I could understand his confusion, since JYD went into the ring leashed to a chain and howled.

"I explained that he was a human being but played a character, unlike Scooby-Doo, who was a cartoon character.

"It made me realize how confusing this world can be to kids and how it is the job of grownups to try to help them make sense of it sometimes."

Money for nothing

Ronnie Melancon, of Gretna, adds to our series on hometown banks:

"Forty years ago in 1979, the bank I worked for, the Guaranty Bank & Trust Co., opened a new branch in Marrero.

"To celebrate the grand opening, we gave away Susan B. Anthony dollar coins to whoever dropped in to see our new branch.

"The word traveled fast — Paul Harvey, on his nationally syndicated radio program, announced that a bank in southern Louisiana was giving away money."

Chewable medicine

During our seminar on home remedies, it seems quite a number of the cures involve chewing tobacco.

Here's another one, from Larry Devillier:

"When I was a small boy visiting my grandparents near Leonville, I ran into a nail and suffered a gash between my toes.

"My grandfather saw Dr. Pavey sitting in a rocker on the front porch of a small building, which could have been his office or the barber shop.

"My grandfather pulled his pickup near the porch and took me to the doctor. He took one look and told my grandfather to put a big plug of his Black Diamond tobacco in his mouth and get it good and moist. He then took it and put it on my injury.

"My bo-bo healed without a scar."

Second fiddles

P.J. Bourgeois, of Opelousas, continues our discussion of old western movies and their stars:

"I wonder whether any of your readers can remember, better than I can, the sidekicks of the various old western movie stars.

"I think Roy Rogers's sidekick was Gabby Hayes, and I'm pretty sure Wild Bill Elliott's sidekick was Dub 'Cannonball' Taylor.

"But what about the sidekicks of Gene Autry, Johnny Mack Brown, Allen 'Rocky' Lane, Charles Starrett and all the other great stars?"

I found a website devoted to this subject and learned that Hayes also sidekicked for Wild Bill Elliott, Hoot Gibson, Randolph Scott and John Wayne in western flicks.

Gene Autry's best known sidekick was Smiley Burnette, aka Frog Milhouse, but Pat Buttram later worked with Gene in movies and on TV.

And while Roy Rogers used Hayes as a comic foil in numerous movies, Andy Devine also worked with Roy.  

Cannonball Taylor, in addition to his Wild Bill Elliott films, was also sidekick to Charles Starrett, who made "Durango Kid" movies in addition to westerns under his own name.

Johnny Mack Brown had a sidekick named Fuzzy Knight, and Rocky Lane had Eddie "Nugget Clark" Waller.

And before he became a western movie star, John Wayne played a sidekick of Tim McCoy — named "Duke."

Seeing Red

Speaking of western movie stars, Mike King says, "My dad took me to see Don 'Red' Barry at the grand opening of the Furniture by Heck store on Greenwell Springs Road in Baton Rouge.

"Red (the first Red Ryder) was decked out in a buckskin fringed jacket and six-guns, signing photos.

"Many years later, while I was delivering Western Union telegrams, I brought several messages for John Wayne to the Bellemont Hotel.

"On his floor, I encountered several bodyguards by his suite who said he was not to be disturbed and took the telegrams.

"Meeting Red Barry was OK, but not meeting the Duke was a disappointment."      


Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.