AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Cowboy from Brooklyn
Alternate Title: Howdy Stranger
Director: Lloyd Bacon (Dir)
Release Date:   9 Jul 1938
Production Date:   mid-Jan--mid-Feb 1938
Duration (in mins):   80
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Dick Powell (Elly Jordan [also known as Wyoming Steve Gibson])  
    Pat O'Brien (Ray Chadwick)  
    Priscilla Lane (Jane Hardy)  
    Dick Foran (Sam Thorne)  
    Ann Sheridan (Maxine Chadwick)  
    Johnnie Davis (Jeff Hardy)  
    Ronald Reagan (Pat Dunn)  
    Emma Dunn (Ma Hardy)  
    Granville Bates (Pop Hardy)  
    James Stephenson (Professor Landis)  
    Hobart Cavanaugh (Mr. Jordan)  
    Elizabeth Risdon (Mrs. Jordan)  
    Dennie Moore (Abby Pitts)  
    Rosella Towne (Panthea)  
    May Boley (Mrs. Krinkenheim)  
    Harry Barris (Louie)  
    Candy Candido (Spec)  
    Donald Briggs (Star reporter)  
    Jeffrey Lynn (Chronicle reporter)  
    John Ridgely (Beacon reporter)  
    William Davidson (Mr. Alvey)  
    Mary Field (Myrle Sempie)  
    Monte Vandergrift (Brakeman)  
    Eddy Chandler (Brakeman)  
    Cliff Saum (Conductor)  
    Sam Hayes (News commentator)  
    Jack Wise (Reporter)  
    Eddie Graham (Reporter)  
    Don Marion (Bellboy)  
    Jack Mower (Manager of station)  
    John Harron (Technician)  
    Wen Niles (Announcer)  
    John T. Murray (Colonel Rose)  
    George Hickman (Newsboy)  
    Dorothy Vaughan (Fat woman)  
    Jimmy Fox (Photographer)  
    Stuart Holmes (Doorman)  
    Mary Gordon (Chambermaid)  
    James Nolan (Alvey's Secretary)  
    John Hiestand (Radio announcer)  
    Jack Moore (First timekeeper)  
    Ben Hendricks (First judge)  
    Emmett Vogan (Loudspeaker announcer)  

Summary: Singer Elly Jordan, a Brooklyn man who is terrified of animals, ends up broke along with his two musical partners at Hardy's Dude Ranch in Two Bits, Wyoming. The Hardys, Ma and Pop, daughter Jane and son Jeff, hire the men to play for the dudes. Sam Thorne, Jane's self-appointed boyfriend, ranch cowhand and amateur crooner, is jealous of Jane's interest in Elly. Elly is so successful as a cowboy singer, that when theatrical agent Ray Chadwick arrives at the ranch on a vacation and hears him, he signs Elly immediately. Chadwick thinks that Elly is a real cowboy and Jane coaches him to talk like one. In spite of his fear of animals, he gets away with the deception. He makes a successful screen test as a cowboy, using the name Wyoming Steve Gibson, but he and Chadwick, who now knows the truth, fear that the deception will be revealed when the movie people arrive in New York from Hollywood with Elly's contract. Meanwhile, Jane and some of the ranch people are traveling East as well so Sam can sing on Captain Rose's Amateur Hour in New York. Jane tells Sam that she is in love with Elly and Sam is so angry that when he isn't a big success on the show, he blurts out the truth about Elly's background. To prove that Elly is on the level, Chadwick and his assistant Pat Dunn suggest that he compete in a rodeo. They take Elly to Professor Landis, who hypnotizes him. Under hypnosis, Elly leaps on a horse, rides to Madison Square Garden, enters the bulldogging contest and sets a new record. He sneezes and wakes from the hypnosis, but the movie people are convinced that he is a real cowboy. He signs the contract and kisses Jane to seal the deal. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: A Cosmopolitan Production
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Lloyd Bacon (Dir)
  Dick Mayberry (Asst dir)
Producer: Jack L. Warner (Exec prod)
  Hal B. Wallis (Exec prod)
  Lou Edelman (Assoc prod)
Writer: Earl Baldwin (Scr)
Photography: Arthur Edeson (Photog)
Art Direction: Esdras Hartley (Art dir)
Film Editor: James Gibbon (Film ed)
Costumes: Milo Anderson (Gowns)
Music: Leo F. Forbstein (Mus dir)
  Adolph Deutsch (Orch arr by)
Sound: Dolph Thomas (Sd)
  David Forrest (Sd)
Country: United States

Songs: "Cowboy from Brooklyn," music and lyrics by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer; "I've Got a Heartful of Music," "I'll Dream of You Tonight" and "Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride," music and lyrics by Richard Whiting and Johnny Mercer.
Composer: Richard Whiting
  Johnny Mercer
  Harry Warren
Source Text: Based on the play Howdy Stranger by Robert Sloane and Louis Pelletier, Jr. (New York, 14 Jan 1937).
Authors: Louis Pelletier Jr.
  Robert Sloane

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 18/5/1938 dd/mm/yyyy LP8143

PCA NO: 4037
Physical Properties: Sd:

Genre: Western
Sub-Genre: with songs
Subjects (Major): Animals
Subjects (Minor): City-country contrast
  Dude ranches
  Madison Square Garden (New York City)
  Theatrical agents

Note: The film's working titles were Dude Rancher , Howdy Stranger and The Brooklyn Cowboy . Captain Rose's Amateur Hour was intended as a burlesque of the long running radio program Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour, whose most famous discovery was Frank Sinatra. The film was remade by Warner Bros. in 1948 as Two Guys from Texas , directed by David Butler and starring Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   8 Jun 38   p. 3.
Film Daily   14 Jun 38   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Jan 38   pp. 38-39.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Feb 38   pp. 12-13.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jun 38   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   6 Jun 38   p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald   19 Feb 38   p. 40.
Motion Picture Herald   11 Jun 38   p. 35.
New York Times   14 Jul 38   p. 17.
Variety   15 Jun 38   p. 14.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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