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Saddle Pals & Sidekicks



(From Old Corral image collection)
Al 'Fuzzy' St. John

Real name: Alfred St. John

1892 or 1893 - 1963

Alfred St. John was a native Californian, and his first screen appearances occurred around 1913 in comic films at the Mack Sennett studio where his uncle, Fatty Arbuckle, was working. In those early days of silent films, St. John became a member of the Keystone Kops. He did comedies and westerns for various production companies during the 1920s and early 1930s in both silent and talkies. By the mid 1930s, St. John began specializing in cowboy sidekick roles, portraying a character that ultimately would be fine tuned into the 'Fuzzy Q. Jones' screen persona that endeared him to so many western movie fans.

The 'Fuzzy' nickname originated during the Fred Scott singing westerns at Spectrum circa 1937. Scuttlebutt was that they were trying to hire 'Fuzzy' Knight, but something happened and Al St. John was brought in for sidekick duties ... and he was given, or began using, the nickname of 'Fuzzy' at that time. Another bit of scuttlebutt about 'Fuzzy' --- supposedly, when Buster Crabbe was getting ready to do his CAPTAIN GALLANT OF THE FOREIGN LEGION TVer, he wanted 'Fuzzy' St. John as his helper ... but somehow, 'Fuzzy' Knight got the call. Believe it or don't!



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a lobby card from the silent HELLO CHEYENNE (Fox, 1928), one of the films in Tom Mix's final season at Fox. From left to right are Mix, Al St. John and Joe Girard.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above left to right are a youngish Al St. John, Caryl Lincoln and Bob Steele in LAND OF MISSING MEN (Tiffany, 1930).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams as 'Two-Gun Smith' and Al St. John as 'Stoney Martin' in THE LAW OF 45's (Normandy/First Division, 1935), one of the two earliest screen adaptation of William Colt MacDonald's 'Three Mesquiteers' novels. The other film was POWDERSMOKE RANGE (RKO, 1935).



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above are Fred Scott and his saddle pal Al St. John in a still from THE RANGER'S ROUNDUP (Spectrum, 1938).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Art Jarrett (as "Lucky"), Lee Powell (as "Stormy") and Al St. John (as "Fuzzy") in TRIGGER PALS (Grand National, 1939). This was to be the initial entry in a new trio western group, but the series was not continued because of financial difficulties at Grand National.



(Image courtesy of Carol Murray and her "Jack Hendricks Photo Album")

Jack Hendricks has 'Fuzzy' on his back while Kermit Maynard is restrained by Buster Crabbe (who is doing a bad Mexican bandit impersonation) in FRONTIER OUTLAWS (PRC, 1944). This film is chock full of boo boos and production sloppiness and is among the worst of Buster and Fuzzy's PRC oaters.



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Max Terhune's son Bob Terhune worked in Hollywood as an actor, but found his niche as a stuntman and double.  Above - Bob is mixing it up with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John in one of the Lash LaRue range escapades of the late 1940s. Tracy Terhune (Bob's son) adds: "the film was OUTLAW COUNTRY and was 1949. By the way, it was my fathers first film, and he was billed as Max Terhune Jr.  Throughout his stunt career, he went by Bob Terhune."


During the 1930s, Fuzzy was the trail pal to singing cowboy Fred Scott, Jack Randall, Rex Bell, Tom Tyler, a few others. At Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) in the 1940s, he became the helper to Bob Steele (Billy the Kid), George Houston (Lone Rider), Bob Livingston (Lone Rider) and Buster Crabbe (Billy the Kid/Billy Carson). A very busy guy during this period, St. John even spent some time helping Don 'Red' Barry at Republic Pictures.

St. John and Crabbe did 36 oaters, and Fuzzy took center stage in a couple of the films, FUZZY SETTLES DOWN (PRC, 1944) and HIS BROTHER'S GHOST (PRC, 1945). His comedy bits and hijinks were plentiful and following are a few examples:



(Courtesy of Les Adams)
On the left is a pressbook ad for FUZZY SETTLES DOWN (PRC, 1944) and you may be able to spot Buster Crabbe vs. perpetual nemesis Charlie King. In this one, St. John becomes the crusading owner of a local newspaper.

This adventure is unique in that it's the only B western to have the sidekick's name as part of the title.



(From Old Corral image collection)
Above, Fuzzy and Al 'Lash' LaRue


When the Crabbe series ended in 1946, St. John saddled up with the bullwhip-cracking, black garbed, Al 'Lash' LaRue (above), who had just been given his own starring series at Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) after being featured in several of the Eddie Dean singing westerns.  LaRue and St. John were together for about five years, and their last film was released in 1952.

Now for some trivia on St. John and his Fuzzy character. Al St. John did his "Fuzzy" bit in 80+ westerns. In those films, he was "Fuzz" ... or "Fuzzy" ... or "Fuzzy Jones" ... or "Fuzzy Q. Jones". Coming close was William Boyd who was Hopalong Cassidy in 66 Hoppy adventures plus a guest appearance in THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. But the winner is Gene Autry who portrayed "Gene Autry" in 88 of his 90 starring films for Mascot, Republic and Columbia (check the Autry filmography on the Old Corral).

Paul Dellinger authored the Old Corral page on Lash LaRue, and he included some LaRue comments about Fuzzy which I've included below:

Al St. John was scheduled for a personal appearance in Vidalia, Georgia but passed away from a heart attack on January 21, 1963 at his motel/hotel in Lyons, Georgia.



 Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Al 'Fuzzy' St. John: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0820607/

Rick Albright checked the 1930 online census database and found the following info on Al, his wife, parents and Los Angeles home address. Appears that Al and his wife were living with Al's father and mother.

April 1930, 4418 Greenleaf St., Los Angeles; Enumeration District 633.
Alfred ST. JOHN, son, age 37, married at age 22, born California, actor.
Yvonne ST. JOHN, daughter-in-law (Al's wife), age 33, married at age 15, born France, no occupation.
Walter ST. JOHN, head-of-household (Al's father), age 78, married at age 27, born Ohio, no occupation.
Nora N. ST. JOHN, wife (of Walter), age 58, married at age 20, born Indiana, no occupation.

The Family Search website has additional info:

There's a September, 1974 article and photo of Fuzzy's last wife Flo at the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times newspaper website: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TSUxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=UXkDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6669,456690&dq=al+fuzzy+st+john&hl=en
And a June, 1969 article in the Ocala, Florida Star-Banner newspaper about Flo's charitable work: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6T0xAAAAIBAJ&sjid=_wUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7273,7408506&dq=al+fuzzy+st+john&hl=en



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