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Saddle Pals & Sidekicks

(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)

Benjamin 'Benny' Corbett (1892 - 1961) began his Hollywood career in early silent films.  During the sound B western era, he played just about every role imaginable, including sidekick and baddie.  Short in stature, and with a pot belly that always seemed to overhang his belt, Corbett was a frequent player in 1930s westerns.  However, much of his work was uncredited as he was just another background player portraying a member of the outlaw gang or posse.  Several of his better roles were:

  • as the second half of the Bud 'n' Ben westerns at Reliable in the mid 1930s (these starred Jack Perrin and occasionally, Wally Wales)
  • as 'Magpie', the comic sidekick to Tim McCoy in his late 1930s series at Victory Pictures

Corbett only made one or two appearances in Republic films, and occasionally landed a role in higher grade westerns at RKO, the Hoppy series at Paramount, etc.  But generally, he labored for the lower echelon production companies such as Reliable, Victory, Big Four, Willis Kent, Robert J. Horner, and others.

Les Adams has him identified in about 200+ sound era movies - that includes about 190 westerns and eight serials.

Corbett did lots of film work besides occasional sidekick duties. In the Villains and Supporting Players section, you'll find expanded coverage on him, including his rodeo career, stunting and friendship with Yakima Canutt.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Benny Corbett:

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Lafe McKee, George Chesebro, Jack Perrin, Slim Whitaker, Benny Corbett (on Whitaker's back), and in the background at the desk is Charles K. French. Scene from RIDIN' GENTS (Reliable, 1934), one of the Bud 'n' Ben shorts starring Perrin and Corbett.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Tom Tyler and Corbett in a scene from Tyler's COYOTE TRAILS (Reliable, 1935).

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Benny Corbett, Blanche Mehaffey (billed in this film as Janet Morgan), and Rex Lease as the star of THE COWBOY AND THE BANDIT (Weiss/Superior, 1935).

(Courtesy of Donn & Nancy Moyer)

Above, Hank Worden at one of the early 1980s film festivals.
Norton Earl 'Hank' Worden (sometimes called: Heber Snow) (1901 - 1992) played sidekicks, henchmen, deputies, townsmen, etc. with his friend Tex Ritter and also with Bob Baker, Buck Jones, Gene Autry, George O'Brien, Hopalong Cassidy, Tim Holt, the Range Busters, more.  He wound up being part of director John Ford's stable of regulars, and is best remembered as "Ol' Mose Harper" in Ford's THE SEARCHERS (1956) which starred John Wayne.

Les Adams has Worden identified in about 200 sound films, and these include 107 westerns and a pair of cliffhangers.

The Turner Classic Movies Movies Moorlock blog has a nice biography on Hank Worden:

Jim Tipton's Find-A-Grave website has a picture of the grave marker for Worden at Forest Lawn - Glendale, California:

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Hank Worden:

(Courtesy of Ed Tabor)

Above - Tex Ritter on the New York stage in Green Grow The Lilacs during the early 1930s before he became a western movie hero.  From L-to-R are H. Bailey, Tex, Hank Worden, and Judd Carvel.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Chick Hannan, Hank Worden, Lew Morphy, Bob Baker, Wally West and Bob Card in a still from Baker's THE SINGING OUTLAW (Universal, 1938). That's Herman Hack in the back row center with his hand in the air. High in the upper right corner is Art Mix (George Kesterson). Chick Hannan and Hank Worden were close friends, and they both left Utah for New York City in early 1931 to appear as background cowboys in the play "Green Grow The Lilacs". Franchot Tone had the lead in the play, and Woodward Ritter (Tex Ritter) was another of the cowboys. After the play ended, Hannan and Worden went to California.

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