'Cookie' and 'Jingles'


In 1951 Andy Devine's already shinning star got brighter when he gained new fame among baby boomers as Jingles P. Jones, the sidekick to Guy Madison on the "Wild Bill Hickok" television show with his whining wail catch-phrase of "Hey Wild Bill! Wait for me!"

Just who was, this rotund comic saddle pal and film character veteran of over 400 films, at who's funeral in 1977, close friends, actors John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart were both reduced to tears?

Andy Devine was born on October 7, 1905 and grew up in Kingman, Arizona, where his parents Amy and Tom ran the Beale Hotel. Tom Devine was an involved community minded man, but, Andy's mother probably had the greater influence on his life. She had been a teacher and had tutored the children of the Governor of Nevada before her marriage to Tom. It was Amy that patiently helped Andy to curb his exceptional energy as a child, and if there is one thing that all of Andy's old Kingman friends agree on it is that, Andy had one heck of a lot of exuberance. The stories about the mischievous young boy abound, both in Kingman and within Andy's own family.

Andy Devine was a rascal, but more important he was polite, respectful and always told the truth. He was also known as something of a ladies' man, as well. Andy Devine was also a successful football player in college at St. Mary & St. Benedict College, Arizona State Teacher's College, and Santa Clara University.

After graduation he went to Hollywood with dreams of being an actor, but he had to struggle to make his career successful. Andy's first appearences were in silent films, as a bit player, and he made several in the mid-to-late 1920's. When "talkies" came on the scene, Devine's film career appeared to be over, primarily because of his voice which was high, squeaky and had a timorous catch to it. According to his wife, Dorothy, when Andy was a small boy he was jumping up and down on the couch with a curtain rod in his mouth when he fell and was seriously injured in the throat and vocal cords. The characteristic "steam calliope with the broken key" voice was a direct result of that accident. But fate had a bigger part in mind for Andy Devine, and as college "rah-rah" movies became popular, his voice became his greatest asset. The studios put him in a bearskin coat and he became the friendly sophomore cheerleader. The "voice" which almost cost him his career, soon became his trademark and the key to his success and popularity. Imagine being stuck with a voice that was insured by Lloyds of London for "half a million" bucks!

Andy Devine was under contract for over fifteen years to Universal, and he appeared in scores of features including a number of westerns. Although in his first western he played a dull-witted young man who is hanged after an accidental killing, that type of role soon gave way to the comic sidekick character. He played Cookie Bullfincher in nine of the Roy Rogers' color movies of the late 1940's, replacing Gabby Hayes. He continued throughout his career playing the comic relief roles in musicals, westerns, and even a couple of gangster pictures.

Some of his other most remembered roles include the stage driver in the movie "STAGECOACH"; and of course as 'Jingles P. Jones' in the Guy Madison "WILD BILL HICKOK" TV series of the 1950s. He was also the host of his own TV program, "ANDY'S GANG" in the mid 50's.

Andy Devine made more Class A movies than any other western sidekick except for Walter Brennan. The rumor that Andy played Shakespeare is also true. In Romeo and Juliet (1937) - with Norma Shearer, Andy donned tights and played Peter, the manservant, to excellent reviews. He also played in the original "A STAR IS BORN" one of his all time favorite films. In all, Andy made over 400 films and more radio, stage and television appearances than anyone cared to count. He was in the first pictures that Hollywood greats Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne ever made.

There is no doubt that Andy Devine was well loved by his peers, his fans and his hometown. He was small town boy, and he remained so all his life. He never "went Hollywood" but instead went through life with a good sense of what was important. He was happily married for over forty years to his wife Dorothy. They were introduced by Will Rogers, who kidded Andy about robbing the cradle and being a dirty old man, because she was only 19 and Andy was 29 when they were married, in 1933. They raised their two sons on a ranch away from the false glitter of the movie industry and kept their private life separate from the movie colony. He continued to be active in films until his death in 1977.

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