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Cowboy Canteen (1944)

Passed | | Western | 8 February 1944 (USA)
During world-war-two, Arizona cattle-ranch owner Steve Bradley (Charles Starrett) and his pal Spud Harrigan (Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams) join the army and are assigned to a camp near his ... See full summary »


Lew Landers


Paul Gangelin (original screenplay), Felix Adler (additional dialogue)




Cast overview:
Charles Starrett ... Steve Bradley
Jane Frazee ... Connie Gray
Barbara Jo Allen ... Vera Vague (as Vera Vague)
Tex Ritter ... Tex Coulter
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Spud Harrigan (as Guinn [Big Boy] Williams)
The Mills Brothers ... The Mills Brothers
Roy Acuff and His Smoky Mountain Boys and Girls Roy Acuff and His Smoky Mountain Boys and Girls ... Singing Group
Jimmy Wakely and His Saddle Pals Jimmy Wakely and His Saddle Pals ... Singing Group
Max Terhune ... Professor Merlin
Dub Taylor ... Cannonball
Tailor Maids Tailor Maids ... Singers (as The Tailor Maids)
Bill Hughes Bill Hughes ... Bill Hughes
Buck Chickie and Buck Buck Chickie and Buck ... Whip Act


During world-war-two, Arizona cattle-ranch owner Steve Bradley (Charles Starrett) and his pal Spud Harrigan (Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams) join the army and are assigned to a camp near his ranch. He makes his cousin Tex Coulter (Tex Ritter) the ranch foreman. On his first furlough he returns to the ranch and, much to his dismay, finds that due.to the wartime man-power shortage, that all of his cowboys have been replaced by cowgirls. He is assigned to help build the morale of the soldiers and decides to open a canteen where the soldiers can go for coffee-and-doughnuts, and be entertained by local talent. Local talent consists of the MIlls Brothers, Jimmy Wakely and his Saddle Pals, Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys and Girls and ventriloquist Professor Merlin (Max Terhune) ans his wooden dummy Elmer Sneezeweed (Elmer). He also has a fistfight with cousin Tex over the affections of Connie Gray (Jane Frazee.) Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


THE GAYEST MUSICAL TO COME OUT OF THE WEST (original print ad-all caps) See more »




Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


On September 1st, 1943, columnist Sheila Graham announced the casting of Shirley Ross, marking Ross' first film appearance in over two years. Less than two weeks later, Ross was forced to withdraw due to illness; she was replaced by Jane Frazee. It was another two years before Ross' next and final film role. See more »


[discussing Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd]
Professor Merlin: Now, Elmer, sit up here. They're both good boys...
Professor Merlin's Dummy: Good for what?
Professor Merlin: Well, they're just naturally good boys. If I had a dummy like Charlie, I'd get somewhere...
Professor Merlin's Dummy: Yeah, and if I had a ventriloquist like Bergen, *I'd* get somewhere.
See more »


Walking Down the Lane With You
Written by Jimmy Wakely
Performed by Jimmy Wakely and His Saddle Pals
See more »

User Reviews

More Than the Sum of Its Parts
16 July 2011 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

After "Hollywood Canteen" and "Stage Door Canteen" had been released as flag-wavers intended to raise money for the named USO operations, Columbia got into the act with this effort. As with the earlier two, it was an all-star operation, but in this case it was cowboy stars, with a strong emphasis on singing cowboys, an occasional ventriloquist (in the person of Max Terhune) and the ladies in the show drawn from the Columbia shorts department.

It's a lighthearted effort and a considerable pleasure to see so many of the leading cowboy actors of the era in one spot and an excellent chance to play spot the stars. It's also a fine survey of western music at the time -- at this point, western swing was biggest genre of music in terms of sales -- including swing, ballads, traditional (from Tex Ritter) as well as major talents such as Roy Acuff and the Mills Brothers. As a snapshot of the era, as a musical anthology and as a chance to see more vanished stars than there are in heaven, it's a must-see movie for the real movie fan.

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Release Date:

8 February 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cantina dos Vaqueiros See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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