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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.



Courtesy of Pamela Pitti Turner and the Pitti Family
Benjamin 'Bennie' Pete Pitti

Name variations:
Benjamin/Benny/Bennie
Petti, Petty, Pitti

1892-1955


Various biographies, newspaper articles, and Culver City historical write-ups note that Bennie Pitti began his performing career circa 1910 with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, and later performed with the Pawnee Bill show, Al G. Barnes Circus, more. He was a knife thrower, bronco rider, trick roper and bullwhip expert, and his first film appearance may have been the Tom Mix COWBOY MILLIONAIRE (Selig Polyscope, 1909).

Ben and wife Ethel had two sons, Paul (who went to work at Hughes Aircraft) and Carl, who became an actor and stuntman.

Bennie was a friend, business associate, and chauffeur to Will Rogers. Circa 1953, Ben bought Will Rogers Jr.'s ranch in Baldwin Hills, California. Subsequently, all three Pitti families moved there. Ben and son Carl worked with Will Rogers Jr. on two feature films, THE STORY OF WILL ROGERS (Warners, 1952) and THE BOY FROM OKLAHOMA (Warners, 1954).

Newspaper reports indicate that:

  • Ben, western movie badguy Kenne Duncan and others performed with Hopalong Cassidy sidekick Rand Brooks in the 1953 Hennies Shows tour of state fairs.
  • Ben gave knife handling lessons to Alan Ladd during the filming of THE IRON MISTRESS (Warners, 1952).
  • and there's links below with Ben performing with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and the Al G. Barnes Circus.

62 year old Bennie Pitti passed away July 26, 1955 from a heart attack at his Culver City home.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has very limited information on Pitti and his film appearances. And over the years, some folks have confused him with Barney Beasley, another B western henchman. Go to: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0693385/

While Bennie's son Paul went to work for Hughes Aircraft, his older son Carl Pitti (1916 - 2003) went into acting and stunting: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0685910/




Courtesy of Pamela Pitti Turner and the Pitti Family

Above - takin' a spin around the Warners lot are Bennie Pitti (rear seat) and Will Rogers Jr. during the filming of either THE STORY OF WILL ROGERS (Warners, 1952) or THE BOY FROM OKLAHOMA (Warners, 1954).


The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), ProQuest obituaries, and California Death Index have information on Bennie Pitti and family:

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a picture of the grave marker for Bennie Pitti - with the inscription "Beloved Trouper" - at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/35821797/ben-pitti

The Los Angeles Times and Culver City News newspapers have article about circus owner Al G. Barnes ... and it includes a mention of "cowboy Ben Pitti, a former member of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show who transfixed the crowd with his trick riding, roping and knife throwing.":
http://articles.latimes.com/2002/sep/29/local/me-then29
https://www.culvercitynews.org/learning-about-the-al-g-b-arnes-circus/

Obituaries for actor and stuntman Carl Pitti (1916-2003):
https://napavalleyregister.com/news/actor-stuntman-western-tutor-carl-pitti-dies-at/article_77e398b3-4a25-5d5b-a198-56c6295b190d.html
http://legacy.utsandiego.com/news/obituaries/20030818-9999_1m18pitti.html

The website on the Blair Hills Subdivision, Culver City, California has more about Will Rogers, Will Rogers' ranch and property, Bennie Pitti, son Carl, etc.: http://www.blairhills.org/history.htm


In an earlier version of this webpage, we tagged this performer as Pitti ... but he's not.

We have a webpage on this unidentified guy - click HERE.


Above - crop/blowup from a still from the 1934 John Wayne BLUE STEEL (Lone Star / Monogram, 1934).

Above - crop/blowup from a still from the Buster Crabbe BLAZING FRONTIER (PRC, 1943).


Some folks have confused Petti with prolific henchman Barney Beasley.

Here's Barney ... and there's a page on him in the Henchies section on the Old Corral.


Above - Barney Beasley in a screen capture from Bob Steele's ALIAS JOHN LAW (Supreme, 1935).

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

Beasley in Tom Tyler's THE LARAMIE KID (Reliable, 1935).


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