Cowboy From Brooklyn (1938) starring Dick Powell, Pat O’Brien, Priscilla Lane, Ann Sheridan, Ronald Reagan
In Cowboy from Brooklyn, singing cowboys are satirized in this story about a city crooner on a dude ranch. Once he’s discovered by a talent agent, he has to pretend to be an authentic cowboy … Despite his terror of all animals! Unless hypnosis can help?
In short, Cowboy from Brooklyn is a funny, enjoyable, musical comedy. Dick Powell stars as a likable young man with a great singing voice. He’s broke and literally singing for his supper at a dude ranch. He’s singing at the campfire, when another guest hears him and promptly hires him as a singing cowboy. A star is born … but there’s a problem.
He has a horrible phobia of animals. All animals, ranging from owls to canaries … and especially horses! Which, as a singing cowboy, he’s expected to ride …
There’s a romantic subplot with him falling in love with Priscilla Lane as the daughter of the dude ranch owners. And, she has a would-be boyfriend who can’t sing, but thinks he can. And is trying to expose Dick Powell as a fraud.
This leads up to the conclusion, where his theatrical agent (Pat O’Brien) has a “brilliant” idea: hypnosis! He has a hypnotist hypnotize him to be a fearless horse riding cowboy. And the agent is accidentally hypnotized as well, leading to a zany conclusion at the rodeo. The rodeo where Priscilla Lane is competing in, so we can wrap up all of our threads neatly.
Cast of characters
- Dick Powell (42nd Street) as Elly Jordan aka Wyoming Steve Gibson. He’s a Brooklyn man who’s terrified of animals. But with a great singing voice. He’s the protagonist of the movie.
- Pat O’Brien (Flying High) as Roy Chadwick. The theatrical agent who signs Elly up as the next singing cowboy sensation. Before taking the time to learn that he’s no cowboy! A nice enough fellow, who tries to maintain the illusion once he finds out.
- Priscilla Lane as Jane Hardy. She’s the daughter of the dude ranch owners. She coaches Elly to talk like a real cowboy. A cowgirl in her own right, she’s fallen in love with Elly. Even more so every time she hears him on the radio. So, she takes the opportunity of a rodeo to follow him to the ‘big city”.
- Dick Foran (The Mummy’s Hand) as Sam Thorne. A Thorne in Elly’s side. He fancies himself as Jane’s boyfriend; she doesn’t. He fancies himself a singer. He’s not. And he exposes Elly’s secret to the whole world over the radio.
- Ann Sheridan (Black Legion) as Maxine Chadwick.
- Johnnie Davis as Jeff Hardy. Jane’s brother, and Elly’s friend.
- Ronald Reagan (The Hasty Heart) as Pat Dunn. A secondary role, he’s Roy’s assistant.
- Emma Dunn as Ma Hardy. She tries to keep up the pretense of Elly’s western life. For Jane’s sake as well as Elly.
- Granville Bates (Next Time I Marry) as Pop Hardy. Likewise here.
- James Stephenson as Prof. Landis. The hypnotist, who solves the problem … And nearly starts a new one!
- Hobart Cavanaugh as Mr. ‘Pops’ Jordan. Elly’s real father, from the East.
- Elisabeth Risdon (Five Came Back) as Mrs. Jordan. His Eastern mother.
Editorial review of Cowboy From Brooklyn courtesy of Amazon.com
Wyoming Steve Gibson has wavy hair, a pleasant tenor and a really neat cowboy outfit. He’s sure to hit it big as Hollywood’s next Singing Cowboy, as long as nobody figures out Wyoming Steve is really an East Coast city slicker who’s scared silly by animals (even gophers). Backed by a stable of ’30s screen favorites – Pat O’Brien, Priscilla Lane, Ann Sheridan and up-and-comer Ronald Reagan – Dick Powell saddles up for comedy and song as the Cowboy from Brooklyn. The faux buckaroo manages to pull off the ruse until he’s challenged to ride in a Madison Square Garden rodeo. On a horse! What’s a terrified tenderfoot to do? Full of sprightly songs by lyricist Johnny Mercer and melodists Richard Whiting and Harry Warren, this playful spoof was remade in 1948 as Two Guys from Texas, starring Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson.
- Cowboy from Brooklyn, Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
- Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride, Music by Richard A. Whiting, Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
- I’ve Got a Heartful of Music, Music by Richard A. Whiting, Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
- The Last Round-Up (Git Along, Little Dogie, Git Along) (1933), Music and Lyrics by Billy Hill
- Home on the Range, Music by Daniel E. Kelley (1904), Lyrics by Brewster M. Higley (1873)
- I’ll Dream of You Tonight, Music by Richard A. Whiting, Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
- With Plenty of Money and You (1936), Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Al Dubin
- Howdy Stranger, Music by Richard A. Whiting, Lyrics by Johnny Mercer