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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, barflys, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.



(Image courtesy of Ed Phillips)
Wally West

Real name:
Theo Arlington Wynn

1902 or 1903 - 1984

Appeared in at least 216 westerns and 20 serials.

Left is a portrait shot of Wally West with an uncharacteristic moustache.


Wally West drove stagecoaches and wagons and did henchie roles and other character/bit parts. However, his "claim-to-fame" was doubling heroes such as Tim McCoy, Tex Ritter and Buster Crabbe.

In the 1930s, and calling himself 'Tom Wynn', West had a brief fling at herodom when he starred in Z grade oaters DESERT MESA (Security, 1935) and MORMON CONQUEST (Security, 1939) for Victor Adamson (aka Denver Dixon, aka Art Mix ... but not the George Kesterson version of Art Mix).

He worked in lots of television. He was a cavalry trooper on many of the BRAVE EAGLE TV episodes (1955-56). That series starred Keith Larsen as Brave Eagle, and was produced by Roy Rogers. West also appeared in at least 9 ROY ROGERS TV episodes up through 1956.

His film career spanned about 45 years, from about 1932 through the mid 1970s.

(Courtesy of Larry Imber)

Above- Larry Imber with Wally West circa 1983.


(Courtesy of Les Adams)
1935

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Wally West: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0922385/

The Family Search website (free) and the California Death Index have more information on the very large Wynn Family and actor and stunt man Theo Wynn/Wally West:

  • 1910 census summary and census takers worksheet - residing in Delta, Texas are 36 year old George H. Wynn (born Texas), 32 year old wife Lidy E. (born Georgia), 11 year old daughter Myrle L., 8 year old daughter Wilma, 6 year old son Carl A., 5 year old son Theo A., and a 2 month old unnamed daughter. All five children were born in Texas: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MK1R-PJQ
  • 1920 census summary and census takers worksheet - 46 year old George H. Wynn (born Texas), 42 year old wife Elmira L. (born Georgia), 19 year old daughter Wilma A., 18 year old son son Carl A., 16 year old son Theo R., 8 year old daughter Ida M., 1 year/5 month old daughter Sybal, and George H. Wynn's 76 year old father Thomas J. Wynn (born Tennessee) still reside in Delta, Texas. All the children were born in Texas: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHTW-YCZ
  • 1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - 26 year old Theo A. Wynn (head of household and born in Texas), 38 year old wife Mary E. (born Texas), 7 year old stepdaughter Ella F. Weichsel (born Texas), 61 year old mother-in-law Martha E. Prewitt (born Texas), and five roomers are living in Dallas, Texas. The Wynns own their home at 5432 Miller Avenue, Dallas. Theo is not a World War I veteran and his occupation is "Multigraph operator - Insurance": https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/CW58-13Z
  • 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - 49 year old Albert V. Adamson (born New Zealand), 29 year old wife Julia (born Pennsylvania), 10 year old son Albert V. (born California), 6 year old son Kenneth W. (born California), and 6 year old daughter Hilda S. (born California) live at at 4222 Sunset Drive, Los Angeles. Albert V. Adamson is better known as Art Mix / Denver Dixon. Also living with the Adamson family is 30 year old Theo A. Wynn (born Texas). Wynn is divorced; born in Texas; occupation is "Stunt Man - Motion Picture Industry", and in 1939, he worked 30 weeks and earned $3000.00: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9CZ-RV2
  • March 18, 1941 marriage license of 37 year old Theo Arlington Wynn (born Texas) to 20 year old Jean H. Pray (born Kansas) in Los Angeles. He was divorced and this was his second marriage. His occupation is "Actor - Motion Picture" and she is "Dancer - Studios":
    https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-29948-13046-88
    https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-29948-12845-77?cc=1804002
  • California Death Index has dual records for Theo A. Wynn and Wally West. He was born October 11, 1903 in Texas, mother's maiden name of Adams, and he passed away on May 16, 1984 in the Los Angeles area:
    https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VGPM-YKF
    https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VG1K-3HJ



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Curley Baldwin, Wally West, Bill Cody, unidentified player and Gordon Griffith in a still from Cody's OUTLAWS OF THE RANGE (Spectrum, 1936). This was Bill Cody's last starring role.



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Bob Livingston (left) and Max Terhune (right) try to impress Wally West, the keeper of the time and official bell-ringer during the prize fight sequence in GHOST TOWN GOLD (Republic, 1936), one of the early Three Mesquiteers' adventures.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Chick Hannan/Hannon, Hank Worden, Lew Morphy, Bob Baker, Wally West (holding money) and Bob Card in THE SINGING OUTLAW (Universal, 1938). That's Herman Hack in the back row center with his hand in the air. High in the upper right corner is Art Mix (George Kesterson).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Bob Steele, Bob Livingston, William Farnum, Budd Buster, Hal Price and Wally West in a crop from a lobby card from the Three Mesquiteers' GANGS OF SONORA (1941).





Tex Phelps
Real name: Wallace Turner Phelps
1902-1958
Appeared in at least 89 westerns and 4 serials.

Tex Phelps hailed from Missouri. He's easy to identify in 1930s westerns as he usually had lots of facial hair and wore a tall hat. He occasionally played a henchman, but most often was relegated to minor roles as a barfly, townsman, posse rider, etc. The death certificate notes that Phelps was a World War II veteran, but that is questionable as he did many uncredited parts in 1942-1945 westerns. His last movie appearance was circa 1945. In his later years, Tex Phelps was an orange grower living in Pomona, California.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Tex Phelps: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0679845/

The Family Search website (free), California Death Index, and the death certificate provide more on Tex Phelps:

  • 1910 census summary and census takers worksheet - living in St. Louis, Missouri are 43 year old William B. Phelps (born Illinois), his 39 year old wife Margaret B. (born Missouri), 17 year old daughter Helen A. (born Missouri), 14 year old son William B. Phelps Jr. (born Missouri), 7 year old son Wallace T. (born Missouri), and 72 year old mother-in-law Annabella Wamhoff (born England):https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M21B-T1H
  • 1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - 63 year old William B. Phelps, 62 year old wife Margaret B., 35 year old son William B., 27 year old son Wallace T., and 93 year old mother-in-law Annabella Warnhoff are living at 2027 Vista Del Mar, Los Angeles. All 3 children were born in Missouri. Occupation of Wallace T. is "Actor": https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCVM-4HN
  • 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - 73 year old William B. Phelps, 72 year old wife Margaret, 45 year old son William B., and 37 year old son Wallace are renting at 2027 Vista Del Mar, Los Angeles. Wallace Phelps is single; born in Missouri; occupation is "Actor, extra - Pictures production", and in 1939, he worked 8 weeks and earned $900.00: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9CD-61Z
  • Death certificate: 55 year old Wallace Turner Phelps was born December 2, 1902 in Missouri and his parents were William B. Phelps (born Illinois) and Margaret B. Womhoff (born Missouri). He was never married; was a World War II veteran; occupation was self employed "Orange Grower"; and he lived at 1628 W. Orange Grove, Pomona, Los Angeles County, California. He passed away from myocardial infarction and arteriosclerotic heart disease at the Pomona Valley Community Hospital on April 28, 1958; he was cremated and interred at Pomona Cemetery. Death certificate informant was his older brother, William B. Phelps who also lived in Pomona, California.
  • California Death Index mirrors the death certificate: Wallace Turner Phelps, born 12/2/1902 in Missouri, Mother's maiden name of Womhoff, and he passed away in the Los Angeles area on 4/28/1958: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VP66-5FW



(Image courtesy of Ed Tabor)

Pointing the way to more nefarious deeds is Yakima Canutt, a fixture in the Lone Star/ Monogram films of John Wayne as both stuntman and supporting player. A crop/blowup of the faces is shown below the lobby card - from left to right are Artie Ortego, Jay Wilsey (Buffalo Bill Jr.), Yakima Canutt, Herman Hack and Tex Phelps. Re-release lobby card from the Wayne 'NEATH THE ARIZONA SKIES (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934).



(From Old Corral image collection)

In this duotone lobby card from SMOKEY SMITH (Hackel/Supreme, 1935), Bob Steele is on the roof, ready to spring into action, and below is an unbearded George Hayes. In front of Hayes and wearing the flat brimmed hat is Warner Richmond and to the right is Tex Phelps. This oater showed Richmond at his nastiest - to get his hands on a ring, he shoots off the finger of Steele's father (kindly ol' Horace Carpenter). And Richmond also throws lye in George Hayes' face.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - Fuzzy Knight (left) has a banana on Black Jack Ward (right) in this scene from THE MAN FROM MONTANA (Universal, 1941), one of the Johnny Mack Brown series. In the left background is the bearded Tex Phelps in one of his many barfly roles. The other two background players are unidentified.



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