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Unkempt, rough and tough looking members of the gang, or lynch mob, or vigilantes, or posse riders, or cow herders. They had minimal or no dialog, not much screen time, and were generally not listed in the film credits. Some would show up as a face in the crowd, portraying townspeople, barflies, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.




Tommy Coats

Full name: Thomas James Coats

1900 or 1901 - 1954

appeared in at least 111 westerns and 13 serials and his film career ran from about 1931 - 1951.


Tommy Coats was another riding actor that was generally a henchman, posse rider, cowhand, gang member, etc. Most of his roles were uncredited and his film career spanned about twenty years, from about the early 1930s through early 1950s. He was born in Scotland and became a U. S. Citizen in 1943.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Tommy Coats: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0167673

The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), Social Security Death Index (SSDI), and other sources have information on Tommy Coats:

  • May 6, 1922 Los Angeles marriage license of 21 year old Thomas James Coats (born 11/26/1900 in Scotland) to 18 year old Thelma L. Frith (born Colorado). First marriage for both. Coats' occupation is "City Water Dept." and his parents were John Coats and Elizabeth Marjoribanks (both of Scotland): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-29949-40422-70
  • 1940 census: 39 year old Thomas J. Coats (born Scotland), 33 year old wife Thelma L. (born Colorado) and 16 year old son Bobby Lee Coats (born California) reside in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9H2-3H5
    1940 census takers worksheet: The Coats family owns their home at 5534 Cartwright in Los Angeles, and they lived in Los Angeles in 1935. Coats reports his birth place as Scotland, occupation is "Actor - Moving Picture Studios", and in 1939, he worked 30 weeks and earned $2000.00: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-27797-1093-94?cc=2000219&wc=MMYH-FD3:1075876540
  • Ancestry had the U. S. Citizenship record dated July 9, 1943 for 42 year old Thomas James Coats, 5534 Cartwright Ave., Los Angeles.
  • The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) has a record for: Thomas Coats, born November 26, 1900, and passed away June, 1954.
  • There was no record for Coats at the California Death Records database, and I assumed he passed in another state. Ancestry had the Oregon Death Index: Thomas J. Coats passed away on June 6, 1954 in Jackson, Oregon.
  • The Los Angeles Times newspaper had an obituary in their Friday, June 11, 1954 edition: "Funeral services for Thomas J. Coats, 53, motion-picture actor, will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. today in Pierce Bros. Little Country Chapel, followed by interment in Forest Lawn ...". The obituary notes that he passed away on Sunday, June 6, 1954 and was survived by wife Thelma.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Tommy Coats, Bob Clark, Tom London, Herman Willingham, Herman Nowlin/Nolan, and Clyde Kinney in GHOST VALLEY RAIDERS (Republic, 1940), which starred Don Barry.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a handful of mid 1940s baddies and henchies - from L-to-R are Herman Hack, Tommy Coats, Fred Graham, Bud Geary and Buck Bucko in a scene from CHEROKEE FLASH (Republic, 1945), which starred Sunset Carson.  Les Adams adds that Tommy Coats was a Republic mainstay but pops up in some of the John Wayne Lone Stars of the mid 1930s.



Barney Beasley

Full name:
Barney B. Beasley

Middle name variations:
Ballard
Barnard
Barnade

1895-1951

appeared in at least 102 westerns and 2 serials and his film career ran from about 1930 - 1944.


  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Barney Beasley: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0064018

A familiar face in 1930s westerns was Barney Beasley who most often played an unbilled henchman, barfly, townsman, etc.

By the mid 1940s, he disappeared from films. Death certificate and draft registration forms indicate that he became a painting contractor. The death certificate also notes that he had a "contusion of brain - old" (traumatic brain injury). Perhaps he was injured during a movie shoot, and could no longer work in films.

Though the trail on Barney is a bit confusing, there are common threads among the census, draft registrations, marriage records, California Death records, etc. These are:
1) his June 20, 1895 birth date.
2) his Oklahoma birth location.
3) his Mother's maiden name was Cantrell.

There's messages on several genealogy websites from Pat Beasley Bohnsack (Beasley's granddaughter). There's postings from her that he died from some sort of accident on June 1, 1951 and his full name was Barney Ballard Beasley:
http://www.cousinconnect.com/d/a/77982
http://genforum.genealogy.com/beasley/messages/1006.html

The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), California Death Records database, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the death certicate provide more on Barney Beasley. The death certificate identifies that he was involved in an accident, but details of that incident are unknown:

  • World War I draft registration: Barney B. Beasley, born June 20, 1895 in Blain Bottom, Oklahoma, is married, and current occupation is farmer. Note the "one eye out" mention on the registration form: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-25078-45742-41?cc=1968530&wc=MM18-X7B:n1240599009
  • 1920 census: 25 year old Barney Beasley (born Oklahoma) and 20 year old wife Lila (born Arkansas) are living in Los Angeles. There are four others residing there, including 31 year old Mabel Chamberlain (head of household): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHQN-M4T
    Ancestry had the 1920 census takers worksheet: Barney and Lila are roomers living at 1419 ??? Avenue, Los Angeles area. They report their occupations as "Actor - Motion Pictures" and "Actress - Motion Pictures", respectively.
  • July 3, 1924 marriage in Detroit, Michigan of 30 year old Barney B. Beasley (born Oklahoma and occupation actor) to 39 year old Lulu L. McLinden. Beasley's mother is listed as Maggie Cantrell: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11678-176555-21?cc=1452395&wc=990568
  • 1930 census: B. B. Beasley (born Oklahoma) and 25 year old Julia Beasley (born Illinois) are among many roomers living in a rental unit in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCJB-QFQ
    Ancestry had the 1930 census takers worksheet: Barney and Julia are among many roomers living at 1431 Gordon Street, Los Angeles. They report their occupations as "Stunt actor ??? - Motion Pictures" and "Actress - Motion Pictures", respectively.
  • 1942 World War II draft registration: Beasley was born June 20, 1895 in Sansbois, Oklahoma, and is living at 954 North Vista, Los Angeles. His full name at the top of the form is Barney Barnade Beasley. But his signature appears to be Barney Barnard Beasley. His employer is listed as "Paul Simone, Vermont Ave., between Sunset and Hollywood": https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-16386-6763-20?cc=1861144&wc=MMRW-1R5:n2068268989
  • Death certificate: Barney B. Beasley was born June 20, 1895 in Oklahoma; home address was 765 No. Vine Street, Hollywood, California; he was divorced; wife's name was Lula Beasley; he was a World War I veteran; parents were Gabriel Beasley (born Oklahoma) and Margaret Cantrell (born Arkansas); his occupation was "Painter - Contracting". He passed away June 1, 1951 at the Los Angeles County General Hospital. Cause of death was "acute pulmonary edema" and antecedent cause was "contusion of brain - old". Beasley was involved in an accident but there are no details - boxes on the death certificate note the accident occurred at unknown street, unknown location, unknown time, etc. An autopsy was performed and interment was at Rosecrans National Cemetery. Death certificate informant was M. D. Beasley, nephew.
  • You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to the California Death Records database. There you will find a record for: Barney B. Beasley, born June 20, 1895 in Oklahoma, Mother's maiden name of Cantrell, and he passed away on June 1, 1951 in the Los Angeles area.
  • Ancestry had the Military headstone/marker request for veteran Barney B. Beasley, born June 20, 1895 in Oklahoma, passed away June 8, 1951. Was a cook from September 19, 1918 - March 27, 1919, and served with the 2d Prov. Co., Demobilized, Camp Kearney, California. Listed on the form is son G. D. Beasley of Avondale, Arizona and "responsible person" is Mr. M. D. Beasley, San Diego, California. Barney is interred at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs gravesite locator is at: http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/
    There, you will find a record for:
    BEASLEY, BARNEY B
    COOK US ARMY
    DATE OF BIRTH: 06/20/1895
    DATE OF DEATH: 06/01/1951
    BURIED AT: SECTION J SITE 90
    FT. ROSECRANS NATIONAL CEMETERY, SAN DIEGO, CA 92166
  • Ancestry.com notes that Barney's son was Gabriel Dillard Beasley (1915-1955), and his mother was Minnie Cordell Grubbs Beasley (Barney's first wife, prior to his marriages to Lulu and Julia). The Find-A-Grave website has a photo of the marker for U.S. Army veteran Gabriel Dillard Beasley who is interred at Louis B. Hazelton Memorial Cemetery, Buckeye, Maricopa County, Arizona: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=beasley&GSfn=gabriel&GSbyrel=all&GSdy=1955&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=59694627&df=all&

Footnotes:

  • on the Oklahoma locations noted above: Blain Bottom (Blaine Bottom) and the Sans Bois Mountain range are in Haskell County and located in southeastern Oklahoma.
  • the bulk of Beasley's film appearances occurred prior to 1938. After that, he only worked in about 15 movies, and that included no films in 1939 and only one in 1940. Was he injured or ill ... or tired of the bit/henchie roles.
  • on Barney's World War II draft registration, he lists his employer as "Paul Simone, Vermont Ave., between Sunset and Hollywood". In the 1940 census, there are two Paul Simones in the Los Angeles area - one was an undertaker and the other a painting contractor. Beasley's death certificate has his occupation as "Painter - Contracting". Thus he was probably employed by the Paul Simones - painting business.



(Courtesy of Jack Jones)

Above - Barney Beasley in a crop/blowup from a cast and crew shot from the short, THE SUNDOWN TRAIL (William Pizor/Imperial, 1934), which starred Wally Wales.



(Courtesy of Carol Murray and her "Jack Hendricks Photo Album")

Above - a crop/blowup of Beasley from a production still from Tom Tyler's THE LARAMIE KID (Reliable, 1935).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are an unidentified player, Barney Beasley, an un-moustached Tom Smith, and Ken Maynard appears to be 'rassling with Ed Brady in a still from GUN JUSTICE (Universal, 1933). The bartender is Olin Francis.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Al Hoxie, unidentified player, Yakima Canutt, Barney Beasley, Wally Wales, Sherry Tansey and Peggy Djarling in a scene from CARRYING THE MAIL (William Pizor/Imperial, 1934), one of the several two to three-reel (20 minutes to a half hour) oaters churned out by producer William Pizor in the mid-1930s. The Pizor/Imperial series marked the end of Wally Wales' starring career --- a year or two later, he changed his name to Hal Taliaferro and became a prolific sidekick and supporting player in scores of A and B grade westerns and serials into the 1950s.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are lawmen Barney Beasley and Bill Cody about to meet up with Bud Pope, Buck Morgan (moustache) and an unidentified baddie in a still from Cody's THE CYCLONE RANGER (Spectrum, 1935).





Archie Ricks

Full name: Archie Vernon Ricks

1896-1962

appeared in at least 70 westerns and 4 serials and his film career ran from the 1920s - 1945.

On the left is Ricks with his normal whisker growth. If he's in a closeup, you can identify him by his hooked nose.


Archie Ricks was an unbilled/uncredited townsman or gang member with little screen time and no dialog. I do recall one B western in which Ricks had a meaty role - this was the Tex Ritter HITTIN' THE TRAIL (Grand National, 1937) with Archie as the "Tombstone Kid" and helping Tex battle Earl Dwire.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Archie Ricks: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0725568

The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), California Death Records database and the death certificate provide more information on Archie Ricks and family:

  • There's a Davis Elam Family Tree on Ancestry.com and I connected with the owner. Archie's wife Ethel M. Ricks (Ethel Marion Jones) passed in 1939. She was the (younger) sister of Clarence Y. Jones, whose nickname was "Fat". He owned the Fat Jones stable and supplied horses, wagons, etc. to the movie industry. Archie and Ethel married about 1916. In the 1910 census, Ethel, Clarence and the rest of the Jones family are living in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVLS-TDC
  • World War I draft registration dated June 5, 1917: 21 year old Archie Vernon Ricks was born February 29, 1896 in Redlands, California. He is married; resides at 2274 Cove Avenue, Los Angeles; occupation is "Actor" and employer is Universal Film Co., Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-26179-3196-52?cc=1968530
  • Archie appears in two 1920 census records:
    • 1920 census: 22 year old Archie Ricks (born California) is living with his parents and siblings in Los Angeles. Family members are 47 year old Alva Ricks (born Texas), 43 year old wife Bertha Ricks (born Kentucky), 25 year old son Roy (born California), 21 year old daughter Clara (born California), and 27 year old adopted son Rudolph Olson (born Texas): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MH73-M19
      Ancestry had the 1920 census takers worksheet dated January 3, 1920: they are living at 658 East 35th Place, Los Angeles. The occupation of father Alva is "Conductor-Street R. R.". The occupation of Archie and sister Clara are "Actor-Motion Pictures" and "Actress-Motion Pictures", respectively.
    • 1920 census: 23 year old Archie V. Ricks (born California) and his 17 year old wife Ethel M. (born New York) are living in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHQX-8HF
      Ancestry had the census takers worksheet dated January ?, 1920: Archie and Ethel are living at 2278 Cove Street, Los Angeles, and his occupation is "Actor-Moving Pictures". Living at 2273 Cove Street are her parents, John J. Jones, wife Mary, two children, and several lodgers (whose occupations relate to the movie industry). At 2274 Cove Street are Clarence Jones (occupation "Livery man-Stables"), his wife and two daughters.
  • 1930 census: 34 year old Archie V. Ricks (born California), 27 year old wife Ethel M. (born New York), his 55 year old mother, Bertha M. Ricks (born Kentucky), along with sons Vernon and Richard and daughter Barbara live in the Los Angeles area: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCFV-QV3
    Ancestry had the 1930 census takers worksheet: the Ricks family is renting at 319 N. California Street, Burbank, California, and Archie's occupation is "Asst. Director-Movie Studio".
  • California Death Index has a record for Archie's wife, Ethel Ricks (maiden name: Ethel Marion Jones). She passed away on May 14, 1939 in the Los Angeles area.
  • 1940 census: 44 year old Archie Ricks, 13 year old daughter Barbara J., 14 year old son Richard J., and Ricks' 65 year old mother Bertha are living in Burbank, California: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K97N-X7X
  • 1940 census takers worksheet: The Ricks Family own their home at 890 North Valley Street in Burbank and they lived there in 1935. Archie lists his birth location as California; he is widowed; occupation is "Assistant director-Moving Pictures", and in 1939, he worked 36 weeks and earned $1500.00: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-27791-16788-6?cc=2000219&wc=MMYH-6BM:541053240
  • 1942 World War II draft registration: Archie Vernon Ricks reports his birth date and location as February 29, 1896 and Redlands, California. He is living at 890 Pass Avenue in Burbank, California, and his employer is "Screen Actors Guild-Hollywood, California". Son Richard Z. Ricks is his contact and he lives at the same address: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-16373-52004-91?cc=1861144&wc=MMRW-1V5:329544770
  • Death certificate: Archie Vernon Ricks was born February 29, 1895 in California and parents were Alva M. Ricks (born Texas) and Bertha M. Wilson (born Kentucky). He was widowed; not a military veteran; and occupation and employer was "Actor-Various Studios-Motion Pictures". He passed away January 10, 1962 at his home at 1616 S. Bonnie Brea, Apartment 8, Los Angeles, California. There was a coroner's investigation and cause of death was arterioscloratic heart disease, and he also suffered from chronic alcoholism and pulmonary emphysema. He was cremated at Inglewood Park Crematory. Death certificate informant was Richard Z. Ricks, 11133 S. Hobart, Los Angeles.
  • You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to the California Death Records database. There you will find a record for: Archie V. Ricks, born 2/29/1896 in California, Mother's maiden name of Wilson, and he passed away 1/10/1962 in the Los Angeles area.

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website a photo of the marker for Archie V. Ricks who is interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=66404821



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, from L-to-R are Lucile Browne, William Farnum, Bob Steele, Archie Ricks, James Flavin, and George Hayes (in his days prior to becoming 'Windy' or 'Gabby') in a lobby card from THE BRAND OF HATE (Hackel/Supreme, 1934). James Flavin and Lucile Browne were husband and wife in real life and were married in 1932.



(Courtesy of Dorothy Hack)

Above from left to right are Archie Ricks, Herman Hack, Kit Guard and Bob Steele in a scene from Steele's KID COURAGEOUS (A. W. Hackel/Supreme, 1934).



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is a 1950 blue duotone re-release lobby card and crop/blowup from THE GUN RANGER (A. W. Hackel/Republic, 1937). Bob Steele has the drop on, from L-to-R, Earl Dwire, Lew Meehan, Archie Ricks, an unidentified guy, and Barney Beasley. The unidentified guy may be Dick Morehead.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Jack Randall is on the piano and behind him from L-to-R are Frank Hagney, unidentified player (black hat), Oscar Gahan, Chick Hannan/Hannon, unidentified blonde saloon gal, Archie Ricks, and an unidentifed tall galoot in a scene from RIDERS OF THE DAWN (Monogram, 1937), Randall's first starring oater. Hagney was a henchman working for Warner Richmond. The blonde actress doesn't appear to Peggy Keys, who was the heroine in this western.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are a covey of no-goods from the lost/missing Jack Randall oater RIDERS FROM NOWHERE (Monogram, 1940). Randall, the brother of Three Mesquiteers star Bob Livingston, would do one more western after RIDERS FROM NOWHERE and then his starring series was over. From left to right are: Jack Evans, Jack Hendricks, Archie Ricks, Charlie King, unidentified face, Carl Mathews, Herman Hack and Ben Pitti.



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are George Chesebro, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan, Budd Buster (top hat), Jimmy Aubrey, Archie Ricks and Herman Hack in a saloon scene from the Range Busters BOOT HILL BANDITS (Monogram, 1942). The partial face behind Corrigan's left shoulder is Richard Cramer doing barkeep duty.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Marjorie Manners, Archie Ricks, Ray Jones, Buster Crabbe, unidentified man and woman, Frank Hagney, unidentified woman, I. Stanford Jolley (with the six-shooter), and on the far right is Benny Pitti. Production still from Crabbe's BLAZING FRONTIER (PRC, 1943). Don't be fooled by the badge on Hagney as he and Stan Jolley are the gang leaders in this Billy the Kid yarn.



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