|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.|
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Ace Cain is on the far left, Tim McCoy is center. In the center background (behind McCoy's arm and finger) are Blackjack Ward (denim jacket) and Archie Ricks is to the right of Blackjack (tall sombrero and greenish hat and vest). Lobby card from SHOTGUN PASS (Columbia, 1931).
Crop / blowup from the above SHOTGUN PASS lobby card.
Real name: Horace Truman Cain
1903 - 1973
|Special thanks to Everett Truman Cain for the following info and personal photos on his Uncle Ace Cain.|
Everett - your old e-mail address is no longer working. Please contact the Old Corral webmaster with your new e-mail.
Ace Cain was born Horace Truman Cain in Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma on August 23, 1903. He died May 18, 1973 at Saugus, California and was buried at Eternal Valley Memorial Park, Newhall, California.
He married Beatress "Skeeter" Willys in the early 1930's, and they remained together his entire life. His boyhood days were spent in Wichita Falls, Texas on the Cain Family Farm. At an early age, he learned to induce vomiting with his finger in his throat so he could show his Mom he was sick and didn't have to do any chores.
Upon reaching manhood, Ace and his brother Jim joined the U.S. Army to see the world, mostly the Pacific Rim nations - China, Philippines, Hawaii, etc. Ace and Jim became expert gamblers during their Service careers and banked substantial sums to be used for business purposes after discharge. Ace could throw the dice and unerringly come up with the desired numbers. Brother Jim played poker, memorizing the cards played and calculating the odds, and came up winner most of the time. After a few years saving up his gambling gains from the Army, Ace entered the bootlegging business in Hollywood, California during the Prohibition Era. He had a very outgoing and likeable personality, and ran a successful operation, often "cooperating" with the Police when they needed to make a raid. He would have his boys leave an old car with a few cases of cheap booze in it, so the cops could report that they had raided Ace Cain's. It was during this period, the middle 1930s, that Ace met some of the B-Western movie directors and actors. They convinced him he would make a great "bad guy" in their 7-day movie epics.
He donned the black cowboy hat and dark clothes and did his best to make the movie audiences hate him. Being about six and a half feet tall and weighing in at 240, he made an excellent bad guy, doing his own fights, falls, and stunts. The minor B-western studios that Ace worked for eventually were squeezed out of business by the big studios, so he quit the cowboy acting business after the Repeal and opened up Ace Cain's Cafe, a "legal" watering hole on Western Avenue near Sunset Boulevard right across from the 20th Century Fox Studios. It was complete with live floor shows featuring scantily clad chorus girls, singing waiters, jugglers, acrobats, animal acts, and the works.
Brother Jim operated a "legal"package retail liquor store right next door. Ace Cain's was one of the top nighteries in Hollywood during World War II and he and his chorus beauties were featured in some of the early "men's" magazines. After the War, the nightclub business tapered off and Ace sold the property to the U.S. government, which placed a Post Office where the famous Ace Cain's Cafe had once stood.
Ace opened up the Uncle Ace Liquor Store and Uncle Ace Motel down the street on Western Avenue near Santa Monica Boulevard. He later sold these businesses and bought and operated the Rocky Springs Country Club on San Canyon Road in Saugus, California. His club achieved a dubious reputation during his remaining years, because of the "very friendly" women - ex-models, ex-show girls, etc. - that frequented his establishment. Even after his passing in 1973, he was featured in numerous write-ups in the local newspapers as one of the area's colorful historical characters.
Everett Truman Cain (Jim's son)
(Above Ace Cain photo collage courtesy of Everett Truman Cain)
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above from L-to-R sitting are Stuart James, Bill Cody, Earle Hodgins and L-to-R standing are Roger Williams (moustache) and Ace Cain (black hat). Scene from THE TEXAS RAMBLER (Spectrum, 1935), which starred Cody.
Les Adams has Ace Cain identified in 14 westerns circa early to mid 1930s. Les also spotted him in the 1935 Ray Kirkwood gangster film THE SHADOW OF SILK LENNOX in which Cain plays police 'Inspector Bull' alongside Wally Wales.
Funeral notice for Ace Cain in the May 23, 1973 Santa Clarita, California The Signal newspaper. Cain was survived by his wife Beatrice and his brother Earl: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/111069974/funeral-service-for-ace-cain/
The California Death Index has a record for Horace T. Cain, born 8/23/1903 in Oklahoma, and he passed away on 5/18/1973. There is a corresponding record in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Ace Cain: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0128865/
The Santa Clarita Valley SCVTV website has more on Ace Cain's drinking establishments, including images of some memorabilia from his clubs: https://scvhistory.com/scvhistory/lw3038.htm