The legend of the American Cowboy features hero mythology based on a historical specifically American archetype. Many modern detractors will point out the Cowboy was in reality a poorly paid agricultural worker. Nevertheless, the Cowboy Myth began in pulp novels and Wild West Shows which were a combination Vaudeville show and circus where gallantry and chivalry of the cowboy was celebrated.
These heroic characteristics of the American Cowboy continued to be highlighted in western films and radio. Cowboy Chivalry was exemplified by Movie Cowboy Gene Autry's Cowboy Code. Who can help but respect the macho image of John Wayne and the Marlboro Man?
The Cowboy is often lampooned by those who have a lot more time on the drugstore stool than in the saddle, but even the greenest dude knows that the Cowboy is a friend to be trusted.Perhaps the truest strength of the Cowboy Myth is its refusal to take itself too seriously. The best American Myths always have an element of humor, and the Cowboy is no exception.
It seems like sooner or later, everyone in radio wanted to be a Cowboy. It is to be expected that Leroy would want to be a Singing Cowboy on The Great Gildersleeve, even if he can't sing any better than he can ride. George Burns is willing to invest in a play when he finds out it will be based on his favorite Cowboy stories, but it wouldn't be the Burns and Allen Show unless Gracie recruited French heart-throb Charles Boyer to play the lead. Big City detective Dick Tracy even finds himself on horseback foiling outlaws and catching the Purple Rider (who would have though Dick Tracy was so good with a lasso?) More unexpected Cowboy action happens as we learn that evil Ivan Shark has finally found a way to stop Captain Midnight, but before he can put his plan into action he has to deliver a herd of cattle to the Mexican Government, so he herds them using airplanes instead of horses!
A powerful symbol of the Cowboy is his Colt Peacemaker. Escape tells a tale of one of the first Six Guns to appear in the California Gold Country as Gerald Mohr goes after the man who gunned down his brother, and the double-crossing woman who helped him. Simon Templar tries to protect a Texas Cattleman who hires The Saint as a bodyguard when he comes to New York City. When the bad guys still manage to take down the Cowboy the chase will take Templar to Chicago.
The professional comics have a lot of fun with the Cowboys. Bob Hope shakily rides the trail with Frank Sinatra on The Bob Hope Show. On the Fred Allen Show, Fred and the Mighty Allen Art Players give columnist Louella Parsons a chance to play four roles in their Western Movie.
But we can't forget "real" Western movies! No less than John Wayne reprises his role from John Ford's Fort Apache along with Ward Bond.
Some of the other fun in this collection includes:
- Dennis Day turns into a cowboy and a pediatrician.
- In Broadway is my Beat, a cowboy is found dead at the Olympia Hotel.
- In Dragnet, Jack Webb faces Dudley Gray, holed up in his fort defending against Indians, has his wife and child prisoner in his apartment.
- In Hallmark Playhouse, story of the cowboy entertainer, Will Rogers.
- In Let George Do It, Bob Bailey plays the role of George and must assist a cowboy to prevent murder.
- In The Anderson Family, Oliver wants a pair of cowboy boots for the upcoming mountain trip.
- In Cavalcade of America: a Montana cowboy finds himself in the navy and the owner of a flea-bitten colt.
- In Cinnamon Bear Jimmy & Judy are rescued b Slim Pickens and his cowboy friends.
- Variety abounds in Rudy Vallee's Fleischmann's Yeast Hour including a vaudeville routine ending with a cowboy song sung with a Yiddish accent.
- In Kraft Music Hall, Al Jolson and cast do a cowboy Movie.
- In Lux Radio Theater, "Smokey", Joel McCrea stars in a the story of a cowboy and his love for wild horses.
- Quiz Kids guest stars cowboy Rex Allen.
- Red Skelton's orchestra plays medley of cowboy songs.
- In Sealtest Show, Rudy Vallee must defend guest Sigrid Gurie for the murder of a movie cowboy.
- In Silver Theater, a traveling cowboy meets New York gangsters.
- Theater Guild on the Air, Hollywood screen writers try to pull a prank against a cowboy star.
- On the Pepsodent Show, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby do a cowboy skit.
- In Up for Parole, orphan turned cowboy's sad life.
- Vic and Sade: Chuck has a new Cowboy outfi