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Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Sport | 9 July 1938 (USA)
An actor can only get a radio job if he can prove that he's an authentic cowboy.



(play), (play) (as Louis Pelletier Jr.) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elly Jordan, aka Wyoming Steve Gibson
Jane Hardy
Sam Thorne
Maxine Chadwick
Johnnie Davis ...
Pat Dunn
Emma Dunn ...
Ma Hardy
Granville Bates ...
Pop Hardy
Prof. Landis
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Mr. 'Pops' Jordan
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Mrs. Jordan (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Dennie Moore ...
Abby Pitts
Rosella Towne ...
Panthea Landis
May Boley ...
Mrs. Krinkenheim


Brooklyn crooner Elly Jordan and his bandmates end up broke at a Wyoming dude ranch run by Jane Hardy. Singing for his supper there, Elly is heard by Broadway booker Roy Chadwick, who mistakes him for a genuine cowboy and decides to make him a star. The fact that Elly is terrified of animals (including horses) and doesn't know the first thing about the West makes his big break tough to pull off. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

9 July 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cowboy de Asfalto  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The radio amateur hour was a spoof of radio program "Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour", which was very popular at the time. It is chiefly noted for the discovery of Frank Sinatra. See more »


Jane Hardy: It must be fun wearing the same shirt every day.
See more »


Featured in For Auld Lang Syne (1938) See more »


Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Played during the opening and end credits
Played on guitar by Dick Powell
Sung by Dick Powell and Priscilla Lane
Reprised by Dick Powell at the radio station in New York
Played as background music often
See more »

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User Reviews

Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride
24 August 2002 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

THE COWBOY FROM BROOKLYN (Warner Brothers, 1938), directed by Lloyd Bacon, is another variation to those familiar rise-to-fame stories starring Dick Powell. Neither the best nor the worst of this kind, it's basically an attempt on showcasing Powell's range as both singer and comic, to fair results in the latter.

Powell plays Elly Jordan, a guitar player in The Three Sharps band. Traveling on a freight car bound for Hollywood along with his fellow musicians, Spec (Candy Candico) and Louie (Harry Barris), the "musical hobos" are discovered and forced off the train by a couple of brakemen. Stranded in the middle of Cody, Wyoming, the trio walk themselves to the Hardy Dude Ranch where Elly meets cowgirl, Jane Hardy (Priscilla Lane), who offers them a job on her ranch for food and lodging. There's one problem, Elly's phobia towards animals. Whenever approaching anything ranging from horses to gophers, he runs away and hides. In time, Jane changes Elly from city dude to full-fledged singing cowboy. Sam Thorne (Dick Foran), Jane's suitor, is jealous over her attention towards Elly. During a campfire gathering where Professor Landis (James Stephenson), magician and hypnotist, is guest of honor, Elly's singing attracts Roy Chadwick (Pat O'Brien), a New York theatrical agent,traveling along with "Speed" Dunn (Ronald Reagan), his press agent. Roy immediately signs Elly to a $75 a week radio contract. Before the night is over, Elly leaves with the men bound for New York. Elly, christened "Wyoming Steve Gibson," is now a popular cowboy singer, winning the affections of Roy's sister, Maxine (Ann Sheridan). Complications ensue when Elly, still fearful of animals, finds he's to appear in a rodeo at Madison Square Garden where the cowboy from Brooklyn must prove himself by roping calf's and riding horses.

Powell, a youthful crooner having gotten his start in musical films in 1933, was by now maturing to full-facial stature. Quite believable as a singing cowboy, he's less acceptable as one unable to overcome his fear of animals. (Is this the same Dick Powell who later assumed the role of tough guy detective, Philip Marlow in 1944's MURDER, MY SWEET?). While initially amusing, his frightful manner in time becomes quite repetitious and tiresome. The same can be said for Hobart Cavanaugh role as his father, hiding in the corner, covering his face at the site of a parrot. Powell's similar phobia antics towards horses in GOING PLACES (1939) is actually better and far more amusing. Other comedy highlights include Professor Landis's attempt in hypnotizing Elly to overcome his fear of animals, resulting to Roy going under the trance instead, rushing to the streets of New York traffic, riding a horse, shooting his guns, and yelling out "I'm Wyoming Steve Gibson," with Mr. Jordan in hot pursuit.

Songs by Richard Whiting and Johnny Mercer, consists of: "I Got a Heartful of Sunshine" (sung by Harry Barris, Candy Candido and Dick Powell); "Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride" (sung by Priscilla Lane and Dick Powell); "Git Along Little Doggie" (sung by Johnnie Davis); "I'll Dream Tonight" (sung by Powell); "Howdy, Stranger" (by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer, sung by Powell); and "Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride" (reprise by Powell).

At 77 minutes, chances are that THE COWBOY FROM BROOKLYN, considering tight editing and limitations of certain characters. was initially planned as a 90 minute theatrical presentation. The first such mention is the sudden disappearance of band members, Spec and Louie, both gone shortly after taking refuge at the Hardy ranch. The second is Ann Sheridan, visible in only two brief scenes, save one photo of her on the night stand in Elly's room. The theatrical trailer that sometimes precedes the film whenever shown on Turner Classic Movies, indicates more deletions involving Sheridan where she's chasing after Powell so to vamp him in his hotel room, coming to a close with Roy (O'Brien) opening the door only to get hit over the head with a vase. Another noticeable edit is finding the title tune, "Cowboy From Brooklyn," as one the songs listed in the opening credits. In the 1938 Warner Brothers short, FOR AULD LANG SYNE (once featured on PBS's "Matinee at the Bijou" in the 1980s), with a host of Warner Brothers stars paying tribute to the late Will Rogers, there's a musical segment of Powell singing "Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride," accompanied by cowboys at a campfire. No doubt another unused sequence.

Rounding out the cast are: Johnnie Davis (Jeff Hardy); Granville Bates and Emma Dunn (Mr. and Mrs Hardy); Elisabeth Risdon(Mrs. Jordan); Dennie Moore (Abby Pitts); Jeffrey Lynn(A Reporter); with William B. Davidson and Ken Niles, among others.

While THE COWBOY FROM BROOKLYN could be categorized as a western style recycling of Powell and O'Brien's earlier outing in TWENTY MILLION SWEETHEARTS (1934), Warner Brothers got more mileage out of this story when recycled as TWO GUYS FROM Texas (Warners, 1948), starring Dennis Morgan, with Jack Carson as a sidekick with a phobia towards animals, which is where any similarities to this movie ends. THE COWBOY FROM BROOKLYN may be something of a satire on the singing cowboy genre of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, yet in spite of the cast working hard on weak material, the songs are of good standing and laughs infrequent. (**1/2)

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