Dateline October 7, 1905 – Andrew Vabre “Andy” Devine is born in Flagstaff, Arizona. With his trademark raspy voice, Andy Devine went on to become one of the great character actors in Hollywood. He appeared in more than 400 hundred flicks, often playing the sidekick. He was Cookie alongside Roy Rogers and appeared in several John Wayne movies, including the original Stagecoach, Island in the Sky, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, where he played the cowardly marshal. Among his other movie credits are Romeo and Juliet, the original A Star Is Born, the original Geronimo, the Jack Benny comedy Buck Benny Rides Again, Pete Kelly’s Blues, and dozens of others.
However, there’s a whole generation of kids, who are now my age, that know him for the phrase “Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy” when, in mid career, he hosted the children’s show “Andy’s Gang.” Each show began with Andy leading the kids in a song that parents would go nuts if they heard it today:
I got a gang,
You got a gang,
♪ ♫ ♪
Here are some wonderful excerpts from Andy’s Gang, when children’s programming on tee vee was still in its infancy.
Jimmy Buffett name-checked Andy Devine in his song Pencil Thin Moustache, which is as good way as any to play out this blog post. Enjoy: