Cliffie Stone Family Photos
Cliffie and his good friend, Pat Buttram, having a good laugh backstage before the opening curtains parted at Cliffie’s concert at the San Gabriel Theatre in San Gabriel, CA. Other cast members included singers Eddie Dean and Molly Bee. Cliffie’s quote from his talent show book: “Probably the most gifted humorist and quickest wit I ever knew was my good buddy, Pat Buttram, who had a Will Rogers style of homespun humor. He had a world-renowned reputation as a humorist and emcee. ‘Time’ magazine described him as “probably the most quoted wit in the nation,” and some of his national TV appearances included “The George Gobel show,” “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Jack Benny Show.” He was also an actor; he was Gene Autry’s sidekick in Gene’s western movies as well as the TV episodes of the “Gene Autry Show.” He was also well known for his portrayal as “Mr. Haney” on CBS’s “Green Acres” series with Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. Pat wrote all of his own material and he could stand up before an audience either as a comedian or as an emcee and tell jokes for hours. If he forgot any of his jokes and stories, he just made them up on the spot, and he never let anyone or anything bother him when he was on stage. Usually at a paid gig, they’ll give you twenty minutes and that’s it. This is why a lot of us comic hams like Pat Buttram and myself like to participate in benefits. We can get up there and stay longer then we normally could anywhere else. The people running the benefit can’t tell us to get off the stage because they don’t want to lose their free entertainment!” Pat Buttram’s mini-bio outline: Pat was an actor, comedian and a voice-over artist who became famous for being Gene Autry’s sidekick in Gene’s movies as well as his TV show, “The Gene Autry Show” (1950 – 1956) and Gene’s “Melody Ranch” radio show. In fact, Cliffie produced “The Gene Autry Show” for one year and this is where Cliffie and Pat met and became lifelong friends. Pat was born in Addison, Alabama. His father was a Methodist minister, and after high school, Pat decided to follow in his father’s footsteps, so he enrolled at the Birmingham-Southern College to study for the ministry. While there, he got his first taste of show business by performing in several school plays as well as working on a local radio station. In this 1933 time frame, he decided to attend the Chicago World Fair. While sitting in the audience of the National Barn Dance, which was broadcast by WLS, the emcee wanted to interview a typical southern about their take on the world fair and he chose Pat. Pat was so funny and witty about his fair observations that WLS offered him a job, which he accepted; and this was the beginning of a thirteen year comedy spot on the National Barn Dance wherein Pat was billed as ‘Winston County Flash.’ This is where Pat first met Gene Autry, Red Foley and George Gobel who were also part of this popular WLS barn dance show. Gene eventually left the National Barn Dance and started establishing himself as “the singing cowboy” in western movies and his sidekick was Smiley Burnette. World War II started and Gene was drafted. After the war was over, Pat decided to move to California around 1944 and try his luck in the film industry. Meanwhile, Gene re-entered the film industry and he discovered that Smiley had moved on with his acting career. Enter – Pat Buttram! He and Gene connected with each other he hired Pat to be his new sidekick and they became lifelong friends. Pat’s first movie with Gene was “The Strawberry Roan” (1948). There were forty other movies which include: “Riders in the Sky,” “Mule Train,” “Beyond the Purple Hills,” “Gene Autry and the Mounties, “Apache Country,” “Blue Canadian Rockies” and the list goes on. Pat also was on Gene’s TV show, “The Gene Autry Show” ( over ninety episodes during its air date from 1950 – 1956). Pat is also known for being the crafty landlord, Eustace Haney, on a popular TV show called “Green Acres” which starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor (1965 – 1971). His other movie credits include two of Alfred Hitchcock movies, one being “The Jar” for which Pat received an Oscar nomination; he was in three of Elvis Presley’s films, one being “Roustabout.” His last film wherein he made a cameo was “Back to the Future III.” In 1969, a hillbilly musical variety show called “Hee Haw,” made its debut and Pat was one of the writers for a year or two. As a comedian, Pat appeared numerous times on TV shows which include: “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The George Gobel Show,” “The Jim Backus Show,” “The Danny Thomas Show,” “Dukes of Hazard,” “The Love Boat” and the list goes on. Voice-overs: Pat had a very unique distinctive voice, which made him a highly paid voice-over artist; to quote Pat: “My voice never quite made it through puberty. It has been described as something like a handful of gravel thrown into a mix-master.” Pat’s voice-over animated Walt Disney films includes: “The Aristocats” (he was the hound dog, Napoleon); “Robin Hood” (he was the Sheriff of Nottingham, the wolf); “The Rescuers” (he portrayed Luke, the swamp inhabitant); “The Fox and the Hound” (he portrayed Chief (hunting dog); “Garfield and Friends” (the voice of Cactus Jake); “Who Framed Roger Rabbitt” (he was one of the Toon bullets); and “A Goofy Movie” (he portrays Possum Park Emcee). In later years, he became a sought-after speaker and emcee for organizations such as the “Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters” (an organization of radio veterans wherein Cliffie and Pat were both members), Toastmasters, and the “Golden Boots Award,” which Pat founded in 1982, which was near and dear to his heart; this organization honors western actors/actresses, directors, producers, singers, cowboy/cowgirls, stuntmen/stuntwomen, etc. who make significant contributions to the Western film genre. Cliffie and I always went to the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters and the Golden Boots Award dinner shows. I must confess that I miss those days when these two witty gentlemen, Cliffie and Pat, would meet for lunch at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City; Cliffie and Pat would play off of each other and tell one joke and/or witty remark after another and I so enjoyed being their audience of one. Pat Buttram received his Star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame” in 1988. He also has a Star in the “Alabama Stars of Fame,” and the induction for the first group of Honorees was held September 9, 1989. Pat always liked to “leave them laughing” and there’s no better way to close this caption then with Pat’s witty sense of humor about his two stars: “Dad said if I continued in show business, I’d end up on the streets.”

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