References to Kansas City Missouri in Popular Culture

Kansas City, Missouri is the quintessential mid-western all American city. KCMO, as it is also known, has a long history in popular culture.

Kansas City is referred in the following songs:

The song “Kansas City” written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and recorded by literally hundreds of artists, most famously by Wilbert Harrison and Fats Domino. A variant version was recorded by Little Richard and The Beatles.

“Kansas City” is also the title of a song from the musical Oklahoma!

“The Kansas City Song”, is a classic country song recorded by Buck Owens and the Buckaroo’s.

In movies:

“Kitty from Kansas City” is a 1931 Betty Boob cartoon that features Rudy Valley.

1934’s “Kansas City Princess” stars Joan Blondell and is a gangster-themed comedy.

“Kansas City Kitty” a 1944 is a Musical Comedy that features Jane Frazee and Bob Cosby.

“Kansas City Confidential” is a 1952 Film Noir crime drama starring John Payne and Colleen Gray and features a young Lee van Cleef and Jack Elam.

The Raquel Welch film “The Kansas City Bomber” features Welch as K. C. Carr, a roller derby player that leaves her team in Kansas City to start over again in Portland Oregon. Jodie Foster is featured as Welch’s daughter.

1984’s “City Heat” has 1930’s Kansas City as a setting. It stars Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds as a police officer and private eye investigating a murder.

“Kansas City” is a 1996 movie written and directed by Robert Altman, who is from Kansas City. The movie stars Jennifer Jason Leigh and features the tagline: “Kansas City, 1934. Anything could happen here. One night it did.”

On TV:

1975’s made for TV movie “The Kansas City Massacre” tells the story of the Kansas City Massacre where 4 law enforcement officers were killed when a gang led by Vernon Miller attempted to free Frank “Jelly” Nash from federal custody at Union Station in Kansas City.


In Europe Kansas City’s cowboy and gangster past is often referenced in the title changes made to western and crime movies:

1949’s “Fighting Man of the Plains” in France was called “L’homme de Kansas City” or “The Man from Kansas City”.

1964’s “Four Bullets for Joe” in Italy was renamed “Il vendicatore di Kansas City”

1966’s “Half-Breed” was called “Il giorno più lungo di Kansas City” in Italy.

Also 1966’s “Johnny Reno” was named “Foniades tou Kansas City” in Greece.


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