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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.

Fox O'Callahan

Lots of name variations:
Fox Callahan
Foxy Callahan
Foxy O'Callahan
Fox O. Callahan
Max Callahan
Max Holcomb

Real name:
Maxwell Joseph Holcomb

1900 - 1976

(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Fox O'Callahan - 1944
Some B western players performed on the rodeo circuit prior to Hollywood, and names that come to mind include Yakima Canutt, Frank McCarroll and Chick Hannon. Another was Maxwell Joseph Holcomb, the subject of this profile.

He was born January 13, 1900 in Yankton, South Dakota and his father was a farmer. As a teenager, Maxwell also did farming.

He did a hitch in the U. S. Army from 1918 - 1919.

Around 1930, Maxwell Joseph Holcomb was living in Los Angeles. And he was now "Max Callahan", one of the rodeo performers appearing in the dreadful Tom Keene PARDON MY GUN (RKO, 1930). In the early 1930s, professional rodeo performer Max did another name change to "Fox O'Callahan". And from 1930s and 1940s newspaper clippings, Fox O'Callahan won some events and was an officer in the RCA (Rodeo Cowboys Association). He also settled down in Newhall, California.

His sporadic film work spanned many decades and he did appear in silents. The earliest tradepaper mention that I found was in the January 30, 1926 issue of Motion Picture News - Max Holcomb was in the cast of Bob Custer's BEYOND THE ROCKIES (FBO, 1926).

He's a "Calf Roper-Rodeo" in the 1940 census, and in the rodeo business in several 1940s Newhall, Los Angeles County voter registrations. This leads me to believe that he considered rodeoing as his primary occupation and movie roles were to supplement his income.

The bulk of his movie work begins in the early 1940s when he was over forty years of age. Perhaps the quantity of rodeos had been negatively impacted during the World War II years. Or Holcomb decided that he could eliminate lots of travel, lots of bruises, and make a decent living in B westerns as a stunt man as well as playing uncredited roles as a henchman, townsman, barfly, posse rider, etc. He was still active in films - as well as television programs - into the mid 1960s.

There were several marriages. In 1924, Maxwell Joseph Holcomb tied the knot with Clarance Frances Sullivan in Montana. But she was underage and the marriage ended in a messy 1925 divorce. In the 1930 census, he and wife Eva Blanche McCoy are in Los Angeles and Maxwell's occupation was "Actor - Motion Pictures". Marriage number three was to Sybeal Oralee Albertson in 1938 in Utah (and family trees list "Sally" as Sybeal's nickname).

Les Adams has him pegged in about ninety B westerns.

The website (Santa Clarita Valley) has a 2006 article by Linda Tarnoff about noted rodeo performer Phil Rawlins and Fox O'Callahan is praised. An excerpt follows and the link to the full article is further down on this webpage:

Phil Rawlins "... learned about the Canyon from local Newhall pioneer Fox O'Callahan, a famous rodeo cowboy who also worked in the motion picture business. To this day, Phil maintains that Fox should have a star on Newhall's Western Walk of Stars. It was from Fox that he purchased 10 acres behind his current home ..."

Longtime Newhall, California resident Fox O'Callahan / Maxwell Joseph Holcomb passed away on April 14, 1976 and survivors were his wife Sally, five brothers, and a sister. He was 76 years old.

Sources have several variations of Holcomb's rodeo and movie names - there's Fox O'Callahan, Fox Callahan, more. However, it appears that "Fox O'Callahan" was the name chosen by Holcomb ... and "Fox O'Callahan" is the name most often mentioned in rodeo clippings in newspapers.

 Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Callahan:

The website (Santa Clarita Valley) has that 2006 article by Linda Tarnoff about noted rodeo performer Phil Rawlins and Fox O'Callahan is mentioned:

Above - Bob Steele has the drop on Fox O'Callahan in this screen capture from LIGHTNIN' CRANDALL (A. W. Hackel/Republic, 1937). has several family trees created by Holcomb family members. However, the information below has the same or more detail than those family trees.

The Family Search website (free), (subscription), newspapers, Social Security Death Index (SSDI), and California Death Index have information on Fox O'Callahan / Maxwell Joseph Holcomb:

Tex Ritter's TROUBLE IN TEXAS (Grand National, 1937) was about rodeo racketeers and had extensive rodeo footage.

Excerpt from one of the pressbook ads:

"The world champion cowboys in this exciting musical western include: Yakima Canutt, Chick Hannon, Fox O'Callahan, Harry Knight and many other equally well known, and their reckless feats of daring in the great rodeo sequences have never been equalled on the screen."

Google, the California Digital Newspaper Collection, the TROVE (Australia) newspaper archive, and the Newspaper Archive (subscription) have articles on rodeo professional Fox O'Callahan:

1946 - Fox O'Callahan is an officer in the RCA (Rodeo Cowboys Association):,2417810

1945 - Fox O'Callahan is one of the judges at the Leo Carillo Rodeo in Los Angeles:

1943 - Fox O'Callahan is one of the stars of the Hoot Gibson Rodeo in Lodi, California (article begins on first page in the center, and continues onto page three):

1938 - Fox Callahan wins calf roping at Colfax, Washington:,3114060

1937: Fox O'Callahan is rodeoing in Australia: and

1935 - Fox O'Callahan is a contestant at the Heppner Rodeo in Heppner, Oregon:,805337

1932: Fox O'Callahan takes first place in bareback riding at the Livermore Rodeo in Livermore, California:

There were more articles on Fox O'Callahan doing rodeos at the Newspaper Archive (subscription). Examples: he was third in calf roping at a July, 1935 rodeo in Reno, Nevada; he took first place in bareback riding at an August, 1937 rodeo in Centralia, Washington; was in fourth place in team roping at an April, 1947 rodeo in Long Beach, California.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Wasn't he called "Foxy"?

Newspaper clippings have him as Fox O'Callahan ... never "Foxy" O'Callahan.

Les Adams had a copy of Dell's Summer, 1950 Western Stars comic book, and there's an article and several photos about Allan 'Rocky' Lane, his ranch, and Foxy O'Callahan helpin' with the chores. One of the images is shown on the left.

Perhaps he was called "Foxy" by his close friends.

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above - production still from the first Trail Blazers' adventure, WILD HORSE STAMPEDE (Monogram, 1943) with Ken Maynard and Hoot Gibson. Brains heavy Ian Keith is on the right in the suit. Lots of faces in this photo, and below is a crop/blowup:

L to R are Ken Maynard, three unidentified players, Bob Baker, Reed Howes (mustache), and Hoot Gibson. Looks like onetime child star Buzz Barton in the background with hands in the air.

L to R are unidentified player, Tex Palmer, Tom London, and Ian Keith. On the stairs is Fox O'Callahan.

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