Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Frogs And Sidekicks



Every hero needs a sidekick. Sometimes the sidekick is a frog, or a frog in name only.

According to this site, sidekick originates from a character in an O. Henry short story (The Cisco Kid and his sidekick, Pancho, first appearing in "The Caballero's Way," in the July 1907 Everybody's Magazine), and this site points to the collection Heart of the West. But according to Schmik at Everything2.com, Henry might have known the term this way:

American pickpockets once called the side pants pockets side-kicks. These are the hardest pockets to pick because they are closest to the hands of a victim and are constantly moving with the motions of the legs. Therefore, any man wise to the ways of pickpockets kept his wallet in his trusty side pocket, or side-kick.

Side-kicker thus became a slang word for a faithful buddy, a partner who is always at one's side. O. Henry First recorded the term in one of his stories in 1904 and about ten years later side-kicker was shortened to sidekick.

And there you go: a faithful Buddy is a sidekick. I suspected as much, but a second opinion is always appreciated.

Sidekicks predate the Western story and movie -- I don't recall Watson with a ten-gallon hat, or Robin Hood firing a rifle -- but it took a Frog to make the word stick.