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“Ride ‘Em Cowboy”

Filmed in 1941, but released in 1942, “Ride ‘Em Cowboy”, featuring Abbott and Costello, provided light-hearted entertainment during the darkest days of WWII


Ride ‘Em Cowboy

Ride ‘Em Cowboy was a 1942 comedy that for the war year ranked 8th in box sales. It featured the ever-popular Abbott and Costello, plus the attained some historical importance because it introduced a person-of-color, Ella Fitzgerald, to a large mass audience. Today, her film clip seems to be the most enduring part of the film.

Ella Fitzgerald’s Film Debut

Not long before the release of Ride ‘Em Cowboy, Ella Fitzgerald was an obscure Harlem singer. But then she won a singing contest at the Apollo Theater and then co-wrote and sung A Tisket, A Tasket in 1936. Here she is six years later doing the same song in Hollywood, breaking the color barrier for a supporting role.

The Musical Number That Got Cut

Dorothy Dandridge was a much bigger name during the forties than she is today. Here, she lights up the silver screen with a jazzy cowgirl number called “Cow Cow Boogie”. Unfortunately, this number was not included in the movie, but still was viewed by many because it was released as a “Soundie”.

For more info on these musical numbers and other songs from the 40s, check out my article on the Jump Blues.

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