Roll Along Cowboy (October 18, 1937)

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Smith Ballew and Cecilia Parker in Roll Along Cowboy
 

Released on October 18, 1937: Two cowboys stop in Arizona on their way to Chicago to help a widow lady save her ranch from the bad guy.

Produced by Sol Lesser

Directed by Gus Meins

The Actors: Smith Ballew (Randy Porter), Cecilia Parker (Janet Blake), Stanley Fields (Barry Barker), Ruth Robinson (Edwina Blake), Wally Albright (Danny Blake), Frank Milan (Arthur Hathaway), Bill Elliott (Odie Fenton), Budd Buster (Cowhand Shorty), Harry Bernard (ranch foreman), Buster Fite (singing cowboy), 'Hi Pockets' Busse (musician), Frank Ellis (Blake ranch hand), Bob Fite (musician), Herman Hack (barfly), Howard C. Hickman (Doctor Cooper), Lloyd Ingraham (banker Wilson), Edward LeSaint (first doctor), Monte Montague (Bixby), Bud Osborne (henchman), Tex Palmer (wagon driver), Hal Price (Mike), Syd Saylor (ranch hand Pinky), Bill 'Shorty' Scott (musician), Frank Shannon (Fred Morgan), Sherry Tansey (barfly)

 

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Correcting Singing Cowboy History

Cowboys who sang Western songs in motion pictures were some of the most famous actors in Hollywood in the 1930's through the 1950's. Most old movie fans might guess that Gene Autry was the first singing cowboy, followed by Roy Rogers, but the very first song in a Cowboy Western adventure was sung in 1933, and not by anyone you might guess. Smith Ballew, the singing cowboy in this adventure, was rumored to have been the voice-over singer in the very first singing cowboy movie, but he was not. The actor who belted out the first cowboy song in a motion picture had the 'look' of a great cowboy, but not a sweet singing voice, so director, Robert Bradbury had his young son sing the songs over the voice of the actor when the first singing cowboy opened his mouth on the big screen . . . And who, you ask, was that very first cowboy actor who sang a western song in a motion picture? Well, you might figure that it wasn't Gene Autry, because his singing voice was very good . . . In 1933 a small studio hired Bradbury to direct a series of cowboy movies, and they hired an actor who had been in motion pictures for seven years but was not what anyone would call a 'star' . . . A tall fellow with a sparkle in his eyes and a ready smile . . . A dude named Marion Morrison, better known in movies as John 'The Duke' Wayne . . . John Wayne made more than a dozen cowboy movies for Lone Star Productions, and when he first opened his mouth in the very first Lone Star cowboy adventure, we heard the singing voice of the director's son . . . But the singing cowboy was born, and John Wayne was the first actor who sang a cowboy song in a movie. That first singing cowboy movie is Riders of Destiny, and you can watch it right here: John Wayne in Riders of Destiny. The pretty gal in that movie is also the pretty gal in this movie, Cecila Parker. Four years later Smith Ballew is the singing cowboy in this movie. In this adventure he is Randy Porter, and I'm thinking that he and his buddy Barry, played by Stanley Fields, were not the sharpest cowboys on the ranch . . . . They worked hard seven days a week for a whole year and rancher Fred Morgan hasn't paid them a penny yet. I'm an easy-going fellow, but I'll be horn-swaggled if I'd work that hard for a year without seeing a penny of money in my pocket. Anyway, they want to go on a vacation to Chicago so the rancher gives them a note for a loan that he made to another rancher in Arizona and tells the boys that they can take the note and collect the money on the note and then head to Chicago. Of course, when they get to the ranch to collect their money they discover that the widow lady who owns the ranch is broke and the bad guy in town is ready to take over the ranch because of taxes that cannot be paid. I'm telling you, these guys are not the luckiest cowboys I've ever seen, but Ballew can sure belt out a tune. Fortunately the widow lady has something that keeps Ballew very interested in sticking around . . . A beautiful young blonde daughter with dreamy eyes, played by Cecilia Parker. The side-kick is kept happy because the widow lady also has a young son in a wheel chair that steals the old cow-poke's heart. With the two broke cowboys now ready to help the poor widow lady save her ranch, there will be plenty of cowboy action ahead and even a song or two. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Bill Elliott
Bill Elliott
Cecilia Parker
Cecilia Parker
Cecilia Parker and Ruth Robinson
Cecilia Parker and Ruth Robinson
Cecilia Parker
Cecilia Parker
Edward LeSaint
Edward LeSaint
Frank Milan
Frank Milan
Frank Milan
Frank Milan
Frank Shannon
Frank Shannon
Howard C. Hickman and Ruth Robinson
Howard C. Hickman and Ruth Robinson
Lloyd Ingraham and Bill Elliott
Lloyd Ingraham and Bill Elliott
Smith Ballew and Frank Milan
Smith Ballew and Frank Milan
Smith Ballew and Stanley Fields
Smith Ballew and Stanley Fields
Stanley Fields and Frank Milan
Stanley Fields and Frank Milan
Stanley Fields and Smith Ballew
Stanley Fields and Smith Ballew
Stanley Fields and Syd Saylor
Stanley Fields and Syd Saylor
Stanley Fields
Stanley Fields
Wally Albright and Stanley Fields
Wally Albright and Stanley Fields
Wally Albright
Wally Albright