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Westerns
Yancy Derringer

Title Card - YANCY DERRINGER

CBS Network
1958 - 1959
Drama
30 Minutes

The western adventure series YANCY DERRINGER/CBS/1958-59 starred Jock Mahoney as gentleman adventurer Yancy Derringer, an ex-Confederate soldier turned gambler and special agent for the city of New Orleans who fought corruption and crime.

"They say that Yancy Derringer had ruffles at his wrist
Brocade and silver buckles and iron in his fist"

When Yancy returned to New Orleans in 1868, he discovered a woman named Amanda Eaton (Julie Adams) who claimed to be his wife. She had turned Yancy's family estate (Waverly) into a gambling establishment.

With the help of John Colton (Kevin Hagen), the city administrator, Yancy cleared his homestead of all the riff raff and in gratitude joined forces with Colton to help rebuild the City of New Orleans.

During their initial talks, Colton laid out his plan for Yancy:

""I want a man who loves this city, loves the South who will work without pay, without portfolio, without protection as my personal agent. I want a black angel who will be on the inside before something happens, a man who will do anything for law and order - anything - and get away with it. Because if that man were caught, I might be compelled to hang him"

After listening to Colton's pitch, Yancy replied, "What you want is a rouge, a scoundrel, gentleman, smuggler gambler and fool. Well, Mr. Colton, I guess I'm your Huckleberry."

Jock Mahoney as Yancy Derringer and X Brands as Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah

Aiding Yancy in his endeavors was a silent Pawnee American Indian named Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah (X Brands). Pa-hoo-Ka-Ta-Wah (which means "Wolf who stands in water") communicates with hand gestures.

Beneath the blanket that Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah wears about his body, he carries a shot-gun which he uses in emergencies. Most of the time however, he uses a throwing knife (sheathed on his upper back )to subdue the bad guys when the situation warranted it.

Yancy's weapons of choice were a four-barrel derringer that he stored in his hat and a sword concealed in his walking cane. Yancy might also stash a derringer up his sleeve, in his belt or in his boot.

Here are just a few of the crimes handled by Yancy and his partner:

  • Mad bomber on the loose
  • Serial attacker who take pieces of women's hair
  • Opium and gun smuggling
  • Mysterious voodoo priestess terrorizing the town
  • Preventing a war with the Pawnee tribes
  • Riverboat saboteurs
  • Protection rackets
  • Grave robberies
  • Theft of an army payroll

But, perhaps their most bizarre case was Yancy being unjustly accused of providing the weapon used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate president Abraham Lincoln.

When Yancy is not living at his family plantation, he spends time on his riverboat named The Sultana, that was piloted by Captain Tom (Woody Chambliss).

Yancy also had a dog named Old Dixie who knew where the family pre-war fortune was buried (according to a note left by Yancy's father upon his death).

Yancy derives some of his wealth from gambling and a silver mine that he owns in Virginia City, Nevada. He won half interest in the mine while playing poker.

Other citizens and visitors to New Orleans included:

  • Frances Bergen as Madame Francine, Yancy's love interest who owned a gambling establishment .
  • Lisa Lu as Miss Mai-Ling Mandarin, Yancy's close friend and former lover who owned the Sazarack Restaurant.
  • Robert McCord III as Captain Fry, the head of the city's secret service.
  • Maggie Mahoney as Bridget Malone, Madame Francine's cousin from Ireland who set her sights on Yancy as her next husband.
  • Richard Devon as Jody Barker
  • Billy Walker as Obadiah
  • Claude Akins as Toby Cook
  • Kelly Thordsen as Colorado Charlie, an Indian scout
  • Larry J. Blake as Turnkey, the Jailer
  • Beverly Garland as Coco LaSalle, a female pirate

TRIVIA NOTE: The TV series was inspired by a story written by Richards Sale in 1938 whose main character was named Derringer (no first name).

Jay X Brands (his full name) was once honored by Brummett Echohawk, a spokesman for the Pawnee Indians when a letter to Hollywood producers commended Brands (a Caucasian of German-Dutch descent) for his authentic performance and his ability at speaking the tribe's language.

Obituaries: Jock Mahoney - 12/14/1989; X Brands - 05/08/2000; Kevin Hagen - 07/09/2005; Frances Bergen - 10/02/2006; Robert McCord - 10/01/1980.


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