Piece image
Image by: Illustration by Andrew Ward 

A Sidekick Christmas by Andrew Ward, Read by Barry Corbin

From: Andrew Ward
Length: 48:02

About A Sidekick Christmas Written by historian and former All Things Considered commentator Andrew Ward and read by the great character actor Barry Corbin of Lonesome Dove and No Country for Old Men fame, A Sidekick Christmas relates the Yuletide reminiscences of an old Western sidekick and his comrades -- Tonto, Pancho, Jingles, Buttram, Gabby Hayes -- who gather each year to catch up on one another’s adventures, exchange gifts and recipes, and take a break from such heroic employers as the Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, Buffalo Bill, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Funny, trenchant, and poignant, A Sidekick Christmas is for all those who've wearied of their vaunting employers; who must spend holidays away from home; who have come to cherish kith as much as kin; and who perhaps need reminding that the spirit of Christmas can warm even the most doubtful and disappointed heart.

A-sidekick_xmas_front_cover

Inspired not only by the western serials of Andrew Ward's boyhood but by the works of Mark Twain and Thomas Berger's Little Big Man novels, A Sidekick Christmas is an American Christmas tale destined to become part of the Yuletide pantheon.

Hal Holbrook of Mark Twain Tonight deems it “a big surprise and very enjoyable. The absurdities and images captured in A Sidekick Christmas, in the salty lingo of the Old West, pulls your mind all the way back to Josh Billings, with some Artemus Ward tongue-in-cheek thrown in. This small literary gem gleams with delights: a one-of-a-kind story full of good American humor.”

Ward has conceived of the old men who join together every year in A Sidekick Christmas not as the sidekicks of the old serials but as their fictional 19th century progenitors. Relieved that another year has passed without their vaunting employers getting them killed, eager to eat and drink and swap yarns and gifts under whatever they can find -- a fir, a cactus, an upended broom -- that can pass for a Christmas tree. Here Tonto, Pancho, Gabby Hayes, Pat Buttram, and Jingles Jones get to tell their side of the story. • As they enjoy their Christmas breaks from serving such sagebrush idols as the Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Wild Bill Hickock, they celebrate old friends, recount their headlong adventures, compare philosophies, and debunk the heroic ideal. Ward’s fond imagining of their convocations makes for an authentic American Christmas tale that is at once wise, touching and hilarious.

 

About the Author The lore of the Wild West was a staple of Andrew Wards boyhood, but he always favored the crotchety sidekicks over their dry-cleaned heroic employers, and for his sixtieth birthday wrote A Sidekick Christmas in their honor. Ward’s award-winning books include essay collections (Fits & Starts, Out Here), fiction (The Blood Seed), and history (Our Bones Are Scattered, Dark Midnight When I Rise, River Run Red and The Slaves’ War). He has written columns for the Washington Post, articles and commentaries for All Things Considered, National Geographic and American Heritage, and screenplays for The American Experience and the Hallmark Channel. The proud father of two married children with health plans, he is the perpetual sidekick of Dr. Deborah Huntington Ward, whom he has recently followed on another of her daring adventures, this time to California.

 About the Narrator Born and raised in rural Texas, Barry Corbin credits the sidekicks of the Wild West serials with inspiring him to become an actor. He drew upon that same inspiration to enrich his touching portrayal of Deputy Roscoe Brown in the television miniseries Lonesome Dove; and his pivotal role as the paraplegic ex-lawman Ellis in No Country for Old Men. One of America’s most distinguished actors, Mr. Corbin has appeared in a host of films, including Stir Crazy and Urban Cowboy, and such television series as Northern Exposure, One Tree Hill, and The Closer. He and his family live on fifteen acres of Texas farmland, breeding poodles, mastiffs and quarter horses.

 

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Piece Description

Inspired not only by the western serials of Andrew Ward's boyhood but by the works of Mark Twain and Thomas Berger's Little Big Man novels, A Sidekick Christmas is an American Christmas tale destined to become part of the Yuletide pantheon.

Hal Holbrook of Mark Twain Tonight deems it “a big surprise and very enjoyable. The absurdities and images captured in A Sidekick Christmas, in the salty lingo of the Old West, pulls your mind all the way back to Josh Billings, with some Artemus Ward tongue-in-cheek thrown in. This small literary gem gleams with delights: a one-of-a-kind story full of good American humor.”

Ward has conceived of the old men who join together every year in A Sidekick Christmas not as the sidekicks of the old serials but as their fictional 19th century progenitors. Relieved that another year has passed without their vaunting employers getting them killed, eager to eat and drink and swap yarns and gifts under whatever they can find -- a fir, a cactus, an upended broom -- that can pass for a Christmas tree. Here Tonto, Pancho, Gabby Hayes, Pat Buttram, and Jingles Jones get to tell their side of the story. • As they enjoy their Christmas breaks from serving such sagebrush idols as the Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Wild Bill Hickock, they celebrate old friends, recount their headlong adventures, compare philosophies, and debunk the heroic ideal. Ward’s fond imagining of their convocations makes for an authentic American Christmas tale that is at once wise, touching and hilarious.

 

About the Author The lore of the Wild West was a staple of Andrew Wards boyhood, but he always favored the crotchety sidekicks over their dry-cleaned heroic employers, and for his sixtieth birthday wrote A Sidekick Christmas in their honor. Ward’s award-winning books include essay collections (Fits & Starts, Out Here), fiction (The Blood Seed), and history (Our Bones Are Scattered, Dark Midnight When I Rise, River Run Red and The Slaves’ War). He has written columns for the Washington Post, articles and commentaries for All Things Considered, National Geographic and American Heritage, and screenplays for The American Experience and the Hallmark Channel. The proud father of two married children with health plans, he is the perpetual sidekick of Dr. Deborah Huntington Ward, whom he has recently followed on another of her daring adventures, this time to California.

 About the Narrator Born and raised in rural Texas, Barry Corbin credits the sidekicks of the Wild West serials with inspiring him to become an actor. He drew upon that same inspiration to enrich his touching portrayal of Deputy Roscoe Brown in the television miniseries Lonesome Dove; and his pivotal role as the paraplegic ex-lawman Ellis in No Country for Old Men. One of America’s most distinguished actors, Mr. Corbin has appeared in a host of films, including Stir Crazy and Urban Cowboy, and such television series as Northern Exposure, One Tree Hill, and The Closer. He and his family live on fifteen acres of Texas farmland, breeding poodles, mastiffs and quarter horses.

 

Transcript

A Sidekick Christmas by Andrew Ward
Read by Barry Corbin

Copyright © 2009 by Andrew Ward. All rights reserved.
Anyone interested in publishing this work in book or periodical form should contact Andrew Ward's agent Ellen Levine at Trident Media, 41 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10010 • Telephone 212/333-1517 • Fax: 212-262-4849 • www.tridentmediagroup.com

Readers are cautioned that the characters in this book
are not the sidekicks portrayed in movies or on television,
but the men upon whom those characters were based,
none of whom ever saw a dime in residuals.


We’d all get together Christmas week, and there weren’t but two years when everybody didn’t show. It give Tonto a chance to let his hair down and Gabby to put his teeth in and wear his hat front to front. Pancho could tone down his accent, Buttram his yodel, and Jingles his fretfuls about his heft. And as for me, well, it tak...
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Timing and Cues

Though intended to be broadcast in its entirety, this recording of A Sidekick Christmas may be readily abridged or broadcast serially, as it is broken up into several nearly autonomous sections. The stereo recording involves Mr. Corbin's voice on one channel, and brief Christmas music selections on the other, so that broadcasters can choose whether to include or exclude the music that marks various breaks in the story or substitute music of their own choosing. Though the producer has received Barry Corbin's permission to broadcast his performance, he has not sought permissions from the performers whose music has been been included in brief snippets.

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

When historian and former NPR commentator Andrew Ward turned sixty, he found himself thinking about the old men who entertained and inspired him in his youth: the old sidekicks of the western serials he used to listen to every saturday on the radio or watch on his family's flickering TV. Perhaps out of his devotion to his own grandfather, he preferred such sidekicks as Tonto, Pancho, Gabby Hayes, Pat Buttram, Jingles Jones, and all the rest, to their vaunting employers. Scruffy, hoary, grizzled, they looked more authentic to a future historian's eye than their dry-cleaned compadres, and entertained what seemed to Ward an eminently reasonable and healthy fear of the scrapes and gunplay into which they were inevitably dragged by the likes of the Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Wild Bill Hickock. Half a century later, Ward wondered if he were scruffy enough by now, and hoary, and sufficiently weary of our national misadventures, to write in the voice of a sidekick as he recounted their cherished Yuletide retreats from the lonely, perilous lives they led the rest of the year. The result is A Sidekick Christmas.

OUTRO:

Andrew Ward asks listeners to remember that the old men in A Sidekick Christmas are not the sidekicks of the western serials but the men on whom those characters were based, none of whom ever saw a dime in residuals.