Meanwhile, back at the ranch

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"Meanwhile, back at the ranch..." is a catch phrase[1] that appears in a variety of contexts. For example, it may be employed by narrators of American cowboy movies and TV shows to indicate a segue from one scene to another but there is often more to this than meets the eye. The expression originated as a stock subtitle in the silent movies[1] and at first the reference to the ranch was literal.[2][3] Later, as the phrase became a cliché, it was used more and more loosely and with a growing sense of mockery or levity, often with a vague focus. In this manifestation the phrase came into common use in unrelated contexts.[4]

"Meanwhile back at the ranch" is the title of a children's book by Trinka Hakes Noble;[5] a crime novel by Kinky Friedman;[6] of the first album of the German country band Texas Lightning; and is the root of the name of the English band Meanwhile, back in Communist Russia... (1999-2004). It is also the name of a song by Badfinger from the album Wish You Were Here (1974).


  1. ^ a b A Dictionary of Catch Phrases, by Eric Partridge, Routledge, 2003 (page 306) ISBN 9781134929993
  2. ^ "Chevrolet ad". LIFE Magazine: 11. April 2, 1956. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  3. ^ Flexner, Stuart Berg (Dec 12, 1988). Listening to America. Random House Value Publishing. ISBN 978-0517158357. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  4. ^ Hendrickson, Robert (September 2008). The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins (Writers Reference). Facts on File (J). p. "Meanwhile, back at the ranch" entry. ISBN 978-0816069668. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch" by Trinka Hakes Noble, Penguin Group (USA) 1992 ISBN 9780140545647
  6. ^ "Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch" by Kinky Friedman, 2002, ISBN 0-684-86488-6