X Brands

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X Brands
Yancy Derringer cast 1.JPG
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]


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[edit]

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 ("Return to New Orleans"), offers the opposite story, as Derringer recounted it: "He saved my life once. That means he went against fate. Therefore he's responsible for my life from now on." Derringer spoke to Pahoo, but Brands was silent, communicating only with hand gestures or an occasional word of Pawnee.

Other notable roles[edit]

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 played rogue Indian "Sharp Tongue" in a speaking role on the season six episode, of Bonanza, "A Far, Far Better Thing" He also had a speaking role in an episode of NBC's Adam-12 in which he played Officer Sanchez.

Film roles[edit]

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


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 Archived March 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "X Brands". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ TV ACRES: Ethnic Groups - Native American
  4. ^ Bonanza Episode Guide: Season 6

External links[edit]