It’s been a busy month for me so I felt a bit guilty for not posting the latest news. This desert is full of characters, and cowboys abound here in our local history as well as our cowboy culture. One of those was Dale Park.
As many of you might know of me, I am an Old West history buff and enjoy the “cowboys” in our Western mythology as well as those who love to participate in Single Action Shooting Societies (SASS) events. These cowboys are serious about their western authenticity and promote the true west in everything they do.
One of the most beloved characters who I met several times was Dale Park. Who, you might ask? Dale was better known as a stand-in for Gabby Hayes for Western events and celebrity autograph shows for many years. He was the spittin’ image of the famous Gabby Hayes who rode with Roy Rogers and many action Western stars in movies and TV.
To see “Gabby” walk through a doorway, was like seeing a dead relative returned to flesh and bone — he was that much of a mirror image that even people who knew the real Gabby Hayes had trouble seeing the difference.
Well that’s what makes a true celebrity look-alike become as big as the real thing. Although the real Gabby died in 1969, George Francis “Gabby” Hayes began as something of a leading man and a character player, but he was best known for his numerous appearances in B-Western film series as the bewhiskered, cantankerous, woman-hating, but ever-loyal and brave comic sidekick of the cowboy star.
Since the current Gabby had been seen around for many years, it never crossed our minds that even he had a lifetime to face. I just learned through our Double R Bar Regulators, (SASS) of Lucerne Valley, California, that the other Gabby (Dale Park) Hayes has passed away.
Dale “Gabby” Park passed away June 24, 2018. He was a talented man. Exceptional artist in many mediums, writer, poet, actor, stuntman, and storyteller. He had a way with animals. He trained dogs and horses. He was a devout Christian and Lay Preacher and a dear friend of the Cowboy Culture in the High Desert. He will be missed by all who saw him play the stand-in for that consummate comic sidekick. Services will be 07/06/18 at 10 am. Desert View Memorial Park in Victorville, CA. (info gathered from several reports).