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X Brands

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X Brands

X Brands
Brands at left with Frances Bergen and Jock Mahoney in Yancy Derringer (1959)
Born Jay X. Brands
(1927-07-24)July 24, 1927
Kansas City, Missouri, US
Died May 8, 2000(2000-05-08) (aged 72)
Northridge, California

Actor; Designated Flight Examiner

Years active 1957–1978

X Brands (July 24, 1927 – May 8, 2000), sometimes credited as Jay X. Brands, was an American actor of German ancestry known for his roles in television series and some films. His best-known role was that of "Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah" ("Wolf who stands in water"),[1] the shotgun-toting Indian companion on the 1958 CBS western series Yancy Derringer, with Jock Mahoney in the starring role.

In 1956, Brands appeared in different roles in fifteen episodes of the syndicated western series, Judge Roy Bean, starring Edgar Buchanan, Jack Buetel, and Jackie Loughery.[2]


  • Background 1
  • Career 2
    • Best known role 2.1
    • Other notable roles 2.2
    • Film roles 2.3
  • Death 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Although Brands was of European ancestry, his portrayals of American Indians earned praise for their authenticity. Brummett Echohawk, a spokesman for the Pawnee Indians, wrote a letter to Hollywood producers in which he commended Brands for his authentic performance and his ability at speaking the tribe's language.[3]

Brands's unusual first name comes from his family's history. In the small town in Germany, where Brands's ancestors had lived, there were two men named Jan Brands. One of them added the middle initial "X" to distinguish himself. He became known as "X" Brands, and the name was continued with his descendants in America. The family tradition was that no one could use the initial until the previous "X" had died.[4]

Brands was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He moved to Hollywood and appeared in ten films between 1956 and 1978. The most noteworthy was Santee (1973), a story of a western sheriff who adopts the son of the man he had killed. Brands also worked as a stunt man.


Best known role

Yancy Derringer aired 34 episodes from October 1958 through June 1959, with Jock Mahoney in the title role. The series is set in New Orleans, Louisiana. X Brands played "Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah," a tall Pawnee Indian with a double-barrel shotgun who was Derringer's constant companion. Although it has been claimed that Derringer had gained Pahoo's loyalty after saving the Indian's life, the series' pilot episode offers the opposite story, as Derringer recounts that he had been saved by Pahoo, who was now responsible for him. Derringer spoke to Pahoo, but Brands was silent, communicating only with hand gestures or an occasional word of Pawnee.

Other notable roles

Brands always played supporting characters in films. His most noteworthy roles were "Hook" in Santee, with Glenn Ford, and the second remake of Beau Geste (1966), in which he played "Vallejo".

His television appearances covered a similar time frame. He guest-starred on Crossroads, Cheyenne, Annie Oakley, Gunsmoke, The Tall Man, Daniel Boone, Mission: Impossible, The High Chaparral, Laredo, Alias Smith and Jones, Bonanza, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, Rawhide, and Broken Arrow. He did not always play Indians or appear in westerns, though most of his roles were of this kind. He appeared in the episode "The Indian Affairs Affair" of the NBC espionage series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Brands appeared in the speaking role of "Yancey" in an episode of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, a popular series in the late 1950s.

On April 28, 1960, X Brands had a rare talking role as trail boss Jeb Mitchell on NBC's Bat Masterson. He also had a speaking role in the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Cheyenne in the episode "Massacre At Gunsight Pass". He played an Indian leader named Powderface. He also had a speaking role in an episode of NBC's Adam-12 in which he played Officer Sanchez.

Film roles

Year Film Title Role
1956 Frontier Gambler (dir. Sam Newfield) "Gregg" (uncredited)
1957 She Devil (dir. Kurt Neumann) First Doctor
1957 Young and Dangerous (dir. William F. Claxton) Motorcycle cop (uncredited)
1958 Escort West (dir. Francis D. Lyon) "Tago"
1959 Gunmen from Laredo (dir. Wallace MacDonald) "Delgados" (uncredited)
1960 Oklahoma Territory (dir. Edward L. Cahn) "Running Cloud"
1966 Beau Geste (dir. Douglas Heyes) "Vallejo"
1971 Captain Apache (dir. Alexander Singer) (Brands' role unlisted)
1973 Santee (dir. Gary Nelson) "Hook"
1978 Avalanche (dir. Corey Allen) "Marty Brenner"


Brands died in Northridge, California in Los Angeles County, California, in the spring of 2000 at the age of seventy-two.


  1. ^ The Fifties Website - Yancy Derringer
  2. ^ "X Brands".  
  3. ^ TV ACRES: Ethnic Groups - Native American
  4. ^ Bonanza Episode Guide: Season 6

External links

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