Yancy Derringer

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Yancy Derringer
Yancy Derringer cast 2.JPG
X Brands, Frances Bergen and Jock Mahoney in 1959.
Created byMary Loos
Richard Sale
Written byKellam de Forest
Marjorie Helper
Mary Loos
Richard Sale
Robert Spielman
Coles Trapnell
Directed byRichard Sale
William F. Claxton
StarringJock Mahoney
X Brands
Frances Bergen
Kevin Hagen
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes34
Executive producer(s)Warren Lewis
Don Sharpe
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Sharpe-Lewis
Derringer Productions
DistributorOfficial Films
Original networkCBS
Original releaseOctober 2, 1958 (1958-10-02) –
June 4, 1959 (1959-06-04)

Yancy Derringer is an American Western series that was broadcast on CBS from 1958 to 1959, with Jock Mahoney (1919–1989) in the title role. The show was produced by Derringer Productions and filmed in Hollywood by Desilu Productions. Derringer Productions consisted of half interest for Warren Lewis and Don Sharpe as executive producers, a quarter interest to Jock Mahoney for starring in the series, and a quarter interest to Richard Sale and Mary Loos, husband and wife, as creators.[1] Desilu had just completed the 1956 series The Adventures of Jim Bowie, which was also set principally in New Orleans. The show's sponsor was Johnson Wax (now S. C. Johnson), and Klear floor wax was a regular sponsor.

The Sales based the series on a 1938 short story written by Richard Sale. In the 1930s, Sale was one of the highest-paid pulp writers. The story was never mentioned, but it was about a destitute aristocrat and troublemaker who returns to New Orleans three years after the Civil War. In the story, Derringer has no first name; "Yancy" was added for the television series.[1]


The titular character, Yancy Derringer, is a gentleman adventurer and gambler. He is a former Confederate Army captain who has returned to New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War, in the southern Reconstruction Era. The state is under Union control and martial law. The atmosphere is similar to Germany after World War II with a strong military presence and oversight. Life goes on in New Orleans despite the fact that the city's atmosphere is forbidding, filled with trepidation and mourning. The Derringer family itself had paid a heavy price in both lives and property during the Civil War. Yancy's brother David and his father Yancy, Sr., had died in the conflict.

Widely respected by all parts of New Orleans society as a southerner who never surrendered, Derringer is recruited by the Federal City Administrator, John Colton, to work as a secret agent at no pay; and only Colton knows of his special role. Often at the beginning of an episode, Colton, a former Union Army colonel, asks Yancy to help solve New Orleans' present threat; and often, usually at the end of an episode, he arrests Yancy for breaking the law to do it. Yancy agrees to be Colton's "huckleberry," because Yancy feels the United States should be one nation again. Huckleberry was just one of many unique southern slang terms creator Richard Sale brought into use during the show. One slang definition of Huckleberry is man, guy, or fellow, as in "I'm your huckleberry."

Yancy owns a riverboat, the Sultana. (The actual riverboat of the same name sank from a fire/explosion on April 27, 1865, with a great loss of life, including returning Union soldiers.) His weapons of choice are four-barrel Sharps pepperbox derringer handguns carried concealed (one held by a clamp inside the top of his hat, one in his vest's left pocket under his jacket and one up his jacket's left sleeve in a wrist holster) and a knife in his belt. (A belt buckle inset with a toy single-barrel derringer, sold by Mattel at the time and popularly associated with Yancy, did not resemble anything that the character actually used.) He is an expert marksman. He also carries a cane or a riding crop with hidden swords and is said to have iron fists: one punch and his opponent remains unconscious for a day. Yancy dresses elegantly, most often in a white suit with a long coat, ruffled white shirt, a silk vest, a sash instead of a belt, a black under-the-collar bow tie, and a white flat-topped straw hat with curled brim.

Yancy's sidekick, Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah, is a silent Pawnee American Indian who communicates only by sign language. Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah is Pawnee for "wolf who stands in water" (as mentioned in the first episode). Although Pahoo is short on talk, he is long on action. Beneath a blanket wrapped about his body, he carries a sawed-off double-barreled shotgun loaded with split buckshot, which he wields in emergencies. Most of the time, however, he uses a throwing knife sheathed on his back.

Yancy and Pahoo live at the family plantation, Waverly. Yancy's recurring love interest is Madame Francine (played by Frances Bergen, mother of Candice Bergen), the strong-willed, beautiful owner of a members-only gambling house in New Orleans. Her real name is Nora and she is actually Irish. Bridget Malone (played by Margaret Field, mother of Sally Field) is an Irish lass recently arrived from Ireland, originally endangered by the ship's crew but rescued by Derringer. Miss Mandarin, Mei Ling, a former love interest and close friend of Yancy, is the proprietor of his favorite place to dine, the Sazerac Restaurant. Yancy also sometimes dines, usually al fresco, at the Charter House Restaurant, whose specialty is French cuisine, and gambles at the Blackjack Club. Most of Yancy's out-of-town associates stay at the King Louis Hotel.

Main characters[edit]

Recurring characters[edit]

Madame Francine's club hostesses[edit]

  • Patricia Blair - Goldy
  • Charlene James - Pearl Girlfool
  • Joan Boston - Opal
  • Jane Burgess - Chrystal

Guest stars[edit]


Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date
1"Return to New Orleans"TBAMary Loos (as Mary Sale),
Richard Sale
October 2, 1958 (1958-10-02)
In 1868, Yancy arrives home, penniless, after the war, only to discover he has a (woman posing as his) wife, Amanda Eaton (Julie Adams), he did not know about and that his family plantation, Waverly, has been turned into a gambling den. John Colton, the City Administrator of New Orleans, helps to return the Waverly to Yancy. John Colton asks Yancy to help rebuild New Orleans as his special agent.
2"Gallatin Street"TBATBAOctober 9, 1958 (1958-10-09)
Yancy helps a sea captain who was cheated out of his money in a dive on notorious Gallatin Street.
3"Ticket to Natchez"TBATBAOctober 23, 1958 (1958-10-23)
City Administrator John Colton entrusts Yancy with an army payroll that is to be taken to Natchez, Mississippi, on Yancy's riverboat, the Sultana, but robbers have other plans.
Guest star: Marie Windsor (Billie Joe)
4"An Ace Called Spade"TBATBAOctober 30, 1958 (1958-10-30)
Yancy is relieved to find that a newspaper story about City Administrator Colton's death is premature, but fears that Colton will be the victim of trickery in an upcoming duel.
Guest star: Ray Danton (Spade Stuart)
5"A Bullet for Bridget"TBATBANovember 6, 1958 (1958-11-06)
We meet, for the first time, Bridget Malone, Madame Francine's cousin from Ireland, who, while visiting New Orleans, decides that Yancy is to be her future husband. Special guest star is star Jock Mahoney's real-life wife, Margaret Field, as Bridget Malone (as Maggie Mahoney).
6"The Belle from Boston"TBATBANovember 13, 1958 (1958-11-13)
After City Administrator Colton hangs a member of an outlaw gang, the others decide to take revenge on his visiting sister.
7"The Loot from Richmond"TBATBANovember 20, 1958 (1958-11-20)
A messenger is sent to New Orleans by a former general in the Civil War, but is killed before he can reveal what happened to a fortune that was taken from Richmond, Virginia.
8"The Saga of Lonesome Jackson"TBATBANovember 27, 1958 (1958-11-27)
A wealthy, but lonely, man who has come to New Orleans looking for a wife asks Yancy to help him.
9"Memo to a Firing Squad"TBATBADecember 4, 1958 (1958-12-04)
An army officer with vengeance in his heart tries to stop a presidential pardon. Without the pardon, a man is scheduled to die before a firing squad. John M. Pickard, who plays Lieutenant Weems, is among the guest stars.
10"Three Knaves from New Haven"TBATBADecember 11, 1958 (1958-12-11)
Shop owners receive threats of violence if they refuse to sell their property to three strangers. Special guest star is star Jock Mahoney's real-life wife, Margaret Field, as Bridget Malone (as Maggie Mahoney).
11"Marble Fingers"TBATBADecember 18, 1958 (1958-12-18)
Yancy tries to find out who's responsible for recent grave robberies.
Guest star: Kasey Rogers (Blackeyed Sue)
12"Old Dixie"TBATBADecember 25, 1958 (1958-12-25)
Special Christmas episode. Villains go after Yancy's dog, Dixie, after Yancy's father dies, leaving a note that only the dog knows where the family pre-war fortune is buried. Special guest star is star Jock Mahoney's real-life wife, Margaret Field, as Bridget Malone (as Maggie Mahoney).
Guest star: Louise Fletcher (Miss Nelly/Alithea)
13"Two of a Kind"William F. ClaxtonMary Loos,
Richard Sale
January 1, 1959 (1959-01-01)
Yancy and Pahoo are framed for a series of crimes and now face execution.
14"Nightmare on Bourbon Street"TBATBAJanuary 8, 1959 (1959-01-08)
A mysterious mad bomber steals explosives and threatens to blow up the entire city of New Orleans.
15"The Fair Freebooter"TBATBAJanuary 15, 1959 (1959-01-15)
Yancy must deal with a female pirate, Coco LaSalle, who has stolen his shirt he ordered from Paris. He goes after his shirt into the deadly swamps. Coltan tags along to recover a stolen necklace from representatives of the Mexican government.
16"Mayhem at the Market"TBATBAJanuary 22, 1959 (1959-01-22)
Merchants are in such fear for their lives that Yancy gets no cooperation in his attempt to break a new protection racket.
17"The Night the Russians Landed"TBATBAJanuary 29, 1959 (1959-01-29)
A visiting Russian noble appears to have become a target for murder.
18"A Game of Chance"TBATBAFebruary 5, 1959 (1959-02-05)
Yancy suspects foul play when a lottery winner dies before she can collect.
19"Panic in Town"TBATBAFebruary 12, 1959 (1959-02-12)
A serial attacker is loose in New Orleans. He attacks women and cuts their hair. The authorities are seemingly powerless. A group of vigilantes decides to take over New Orleans.
20"Hell and High Water"TBATBAFebruary 19, 1959 (1959-02-19)
It looks like New Orleans is going to be flooded. Obadiah suggests to Yancy a risky scheme to save New Orleans. John Colton is taken prisoner by Lady Charity to protect her plantation property from Yancy's risky scheme. Meanwhile, Rogue Donovan tries to kill Yancy.
Guest stars: Charles Bronson (Rogue Donovan), Patricia Cutts (Lady Charity)
21"The Louisiana Dude"William F. ClaxtonColes TrapnellFebruary 26, 1959 (1959-02-26)
Yancy wins a half interest in a silver mine. The Sultana's boiler blows up, and Yancy travels to Virginia City, Nevada, hoping to get five thousand dollars needed for a new boiler. Yancy discovers that his new partner is a beautiful woman.
Guest stars: Hillary Brooke (Julia Bulette), John Cliff (Nat Greer), Harry Swoger (Big Jim Ogden), Addison Richards (Judge Harper), Steve Pendleton (Sheriff Anderson), Woodrow Chambliss (Captain Tom), James Anderson (Fitch), Booth Colman (Henry Duval)
22"Longhair"TBATBAMarch 5, 1959 (1959-03-05)
When famed General George Armstrong Custer visits New Orleans, Yancy discovers that he is being stalked by an indian seeking revenge for a past wrong. We meet, for the first time, Colorado Charlie, Indian scout.
23"Thunder on the River"TBATBAMarch 12, 1959 (1959-03-12)
Yancy decides to help a fellow riverboat owner whose fleet is being sabotaged by rivals trying to corner the market on river traffic.
Guest star: Patricia Barry
24"The Gun That Murdered Lincoln"TBATBAMarch 19, 1959 (1959-03-19)
Yancy is unjustly accused of having provided the weapon used by presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth.
25"Collector's Item"TBATBAMarch 26, 1959 (1959-03-26)
To assist a woman in her crusade to provide a home for the city's orphans, Yancy comes up with a scheme that requires the aid of photography pioneer Mathew Brady.
26"Fire on the Frontier"TBATBAApril 2, 1959 (1959-04-02)
Yancy's indian friend, Pahoo, becomes an important element in efforts to prevent a war with the Pawnee tribes.
Guest stars: Robert Carricart (Thaddeus Stevens)
27"Duel at the Oaks"TBATBAApril 9, 1959 (1959-04-09)
Yancy is sentenced to hang for killing a man in a duel. John Vivyan guest stars as LeBow.
28"The Wayward Warrior"TBATBAApril 16, 1959 (1959-04-16)
Trying to stop some gun smugglers, Yancy has a run-in with a boxing champion and a rematch with a female river pirate, Coco LaSalle.
29"A State of Crisis"Edward DenaultColes TrapnellApril 30, 1959 (1959-04-30)
With the city of New Orleans plagued by counterfeit money, General Hugh Morgan arrives in New Orleans with orders promoting John Colton to a post in Washington and giving Morgan command of the city. Walter Coy guest stars as Slade Donovan.
30"Outlaw at Liberty"TBATBAMay 7, 1959 (1959-05-07)
Yancy is at a loss to figure out what's going on when a marshal he knows charges an old wartime friend with murder.
31"V as in Voodoo"TBATBAMay 14, 1959 (1959-05-14)
Yancy tries to combat superstition when the city is terrorized by a mysterious voodoo priestess.
32"The Quiet Firecracker"TBATBAMay 21, 1959 (1959-05-21)
Yancy's good friend Miss Mandarin (Lisa Lu) is accused of smuggling opium into the city inside firecrackers.
33"Gone But Not Forgotten"TBATBAMay 28, 1959 (1959-05-28)
A friend of Yancy's comes to visit from Virginia City with news that his silver mine is doing well, but that there is a gravestone in the cemetery with Yancy's name on it. Dayton Lummis plays Judge Randall.
Guest star: Joyce Jameson (Bonnie Mason)
34"Two Tickets to Promontory"TBATBAJune 4, 1959 (1959-06-04)
On a train trip to a celebration of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, Yancy discovers a saboteur.

DVD release[edit]

On October 9, 2012, Timeless Media Group released the complete series on DVD for the first time in Region 1.[2]


  1. ^ a b TV GUIDE Vol. 7, No. 11; March 14, 1959; whole number 311; "Jocko the Gymnast" by Bob Johnson
  2. ^ "Yancy Derringer - 'The Complete Series' is Steamboating Down the DVD River". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.

External links[edit]