World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ride 'Em Cowboy

Ride 'Em Cowboy
Theatrical Poster
Directed by Arthur Lubin
Produced by Alex Gottlieb
Written by True Boardman
John Grant
Starring Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Dick Foran
Anne Gwynne
Ella Fitzgerald
Music by Frank Skinner
Cinematography John W. Boyle
Edited by Philip Cahn
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • February¬†20,¬†1942¬†(1942-02-20)
Running time
86 minutes
Language English

Ride 'Em Cowboy is a 1942 film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. The supporting cast features Dick Foran, Anne Gwynne, Johnny Mack Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Samuel S. Hinds, Douglas Dumbrille and Morris Ankrum, and the movie was directed by Arthur Lubin.


  • Plot 1
  • Music and Dance 2
  • Cast 3
  • Production 4
  • Release 5
  • DVD release 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Though the author of best-selling western novels, 'Bronco Bob' Mitchell (Dick Foran), has never set foot in the west. When a newspaper article has exposed this fact to his fans, he decides to make an appearance at a Long Island charity rodeo. When a steer escapes the enclosure, he is thrown from his horse, and a cowgirl, Anne Shaw (Anne Gwynne), comes to his rescue by bulldogging the steer. During the rescue, she is injured and loses her chance to obtain the $10,000 prize, and returns to her father's dude ranch in Arizona. Bob follows her to make amends.

Meanwhile, Willoughby (Lou Costello) and Duke (Bud Abbott) are vendors at the rodeo; but cause such disorder that they hide from their boss in a cattle car, which is shipped west. When they arrive, Willoughby accidentally engages himself to marry a local Indigenous woman, whom they flee. They continue to the ranch, and are assigned jobs by the foreman, Alabam (Johnny Mack Brown). Anne instructs Bob in cowboy life, while Willoughby and Duke are still menaced by the locals. Eventually Anne enters Bob in the state rodeo championship; but a gambler, Ace Henderson (Morris Ankrum), has made large bets against the ranch and has his gang kidnap Bob and Alabam. Willoughby and Duke mistakenly come to the rescue in their escape from the locals, and everyone returns to the rodeo, where Bob wins the championship. The locals catch Willoughby there; but as a joke, his bride turns out to be Duke.

Music and Dance

Ella Fitzgerald, in her first screen role, plays Ruby, who fills several roles as one of the employees of the ranch. At the opening rodeo, she is dressed as a rodeo clown, and comes to Anne's side when she is hurt. Later in the film, she can be seen removing an apron before singing. Ella sings "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" in the bus, as the ranch crew drives from the railway station to the ranch. Ruby and the other employees interact playfully during the song.

In the one dance scene in the film, a square dance is being held in a barn. The Merry Macs interrupt the square dance caller with the musical question, "What kind of old fashion jive is that you've got?" And end up telling him "Don't be a chump. Do a square dance, but make it jump." They then launch into an upbeat swing tune. The Macs sing "Ruby, Ruby. We want Ruby", and ask her to come out and sing jive. She takes off her apron and sings a few verses. Still singing, she introduces dancers who will "show you how they drop the square. You know. Back in Harlem up on Sugar Hill." Several couples come out and put on quite a display of Lindy Hop. Ruby and the Macs each take a turn with additional verses, and over a dozen couples take the floor doing swing. Well known swing dancers Dean Collins and Jewel McGowan dance alongside the other couples in this scene. Although Dean is known for a smooth style of Lindy, he and Jewel perform two "around the block" moves, as well as some energetic kicks during their short time on camera.

Most of the songs in the film are cowboy songs, which were very popular at the time. The presence of Ella Fizgerald and swing dancers demonstrates another popular music and dance of the early 1940s.

Don Raye and Gene de Paul are credited with writing the original songs: "Give me a Saddle", "Wake Up Jacob", "Beside the Rio Tonto Shore",the standard "I'll Remember April" (Oscar nomination for best song), and "Ride em Cowboy".

Musical numbers were staged by Nick Castle.[1]



Ride 'Em Cowboy was filmed from June 30-August 9, 1941 on location at both the B-Bar A and the Rancho Chihuahua dude ranches.[2] It was originally intended to be the third starring film for Abbott and Costello, but its production was delayed so that the team could make In the Navy, and then its release was delayed so that Keep 'Em Flying could be filmed and released.[3] Dorothy Dandridge appears in the film as a dancer (uncredited).The song "Cow Cow Boogie" (written by Bennie Carter) was cut from film, but it was later sung in a Dandridge short film of the same name.


The film was the eighth biggest hit of 1942.[4]

Ride 'Em Cowboy was re-released with Keep 'Em Flying in 1949, and Who Done It? in 1954.[5]

DVD release

This film has been released twice on DVD. The first time, on The Best of Abbott and Costello Volume One, on February 10, 2004, and again on October 28, 2008 as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection.


  1. ^ IMDB entry
  2. ^ Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0
  3. ^ Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0
  4. ^ Furmanek p 76
  5. ^ Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.