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Callaway Went Thataway (1951)

Approved | | Comedy, Western | 15 November 1951 (USA)
Two smart marketing people resurrect some old films starring cowboy Smoky Callaway and put them on television. The films are a big hit and the star is in demand. Unfortunately no one can ... See full summary »


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Complete credited cast:
Deborah Patterson
Stretch Barnes / Smoky Callaway
Georgie Markham
Fay Roope ...
Tom Lorrison
Martha Lorrison
Elisabeth Fraser ...
John Indrisano ...
Johnny Terrento (as Johnny Indrisano)
Director Don


Two smart marketing people resurrect some old films starring cowboy Smoky Callaway and put them on television. The films are a big hit and the star is in demand. Unfortunately no one can find him. When a lookalike sends in a photo, the marketing team hires him to impersonate Callaway. Things get sticky when the real Callaway eventually shows up. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Western


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

15 November 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esperto Contra Esperto  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This movie was a satire of Hopalong Cassidy, the first Western network television series, which would explain the disclaimer at the end of the film referred to in Crazy Credits. See more »


Deborah Patterson: What ever happened to your conscience?
Mike Frye: I just had it washed. I can't do a thing with it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Card at the end states: 'This picture was made in the spirit of fun, and was meant in no way to detract from the wholesome influence, civic mindedness and the many charitable contributions of Western idols of our American youth, or to be a portrayal of any of them.' See more »


Spoofs Hopalong Cassidy (1952) See more »


Friendly Star
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Stretch is being introduced to the Lorrisons
See more »

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User Reviews

Cute send-up of TV western stars and ad men
19 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Callaway Went Thataway" is a slight comedy enlivened by some fine performances by Dorothy McGuire, Fred MacMurray, Howard Keel and Jesse White. As television was threatening to take over the film industry, MGM produced this send-up of the TV western hero craze. Smoky Callaway's old movies are being run on TV and are such a hit with kids that an enormous licensing potential develops for Smoky products and endorsements, plus the making of more Smoky movies. One small problem - Smoky done left the corral 10 years earlier and no one - including his agent (White) knows where he went. The ad agency partners (McGuire and MacMurray) find a lookalike, Stretch Barnes, a simple man with simple needs, and convince him to take Smoky's place, claiming that Smoky is dead. All goes well until Smoky's agent finds the real Callaway, a womanizing boozer, and brings him back.

This is a fun film for baby boomers who grew up with Gabby Hayes, Roy Rogers, The Cisco Kid, The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers etc. etc. and who used all the products that carried their hero's face: the cereals, the lunch boxes, the toys. Howard Keel is terrific in the dual role of sweet, sensitive, aw shucks ma'm Stretch and the hard-drinking slob Smoky. McGuire is lovely in her role, and MacMurray does well as her less conscience-stricken partner.

MGM takes the opportunity to plug its stars - there are cameos of Esther Williams, Elizabeth Taylor, and Clark Gable, and there are lots of future TV stars as well. Besides Jesse White, there's Stan Frieberg, Natalie Schaeffer, and in an uncredited role, Hugh Beaumont. Fun viewing.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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