PERFORMERS: ABBOTT AND COSTELLO

abcosBy PETER TATCHELL (reproduced from LAUGH MAGAZINE #5, 1992)

For fifteen years they were the most popular comedy duo in show business. From the rough and tumble of the burlesque stage to the heights of movie stardom, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello held an appeal that was universal. They were masters at turning the pratfalls and patter of a theatrical era on the verge of extinction to pure gold on the cinema screen. For much of their career they were also headliners on radio, and when television emerged in the early 1950s they conquered that as well.

The boys first worked together in 1936 Bud following on from a family tradition of circuses and sideshows, Lou having tried his luck as a stuntman in Hollywood’s early days of the talkies. Both found themselves in the knockabout world of burlesque, then sinking fast from the honest vulgarity of its heyday to a tawdry parade of strip teasers. Each was working with other partners, and success was eluding them. Together, though, they clicked from the start.

Their first big break came with a weekly spot on the popular Kate Smith Hour heard nationwide over CBS stations. Despite initial opposition from the “powers-that-be” who thought they might be too visual for radio, Bud and Lou helped lift the show’s ratings across the country. Their only obstacle was sounding too alike on the air, but this was solved when Lou gave his voice a higher pitch which in fact suited his “I’m a baaaaad boy” characterisation anyway.

Each week they’d perform one of the classic routines they’d perfected on stage … ‘The Lemon Bit”, “Mustard”, “The Horse’s Mudder”, etc. Ironically, the program’s producer couldn’t see any humour in “Who’s On First” and wouldn’t let them include it in their spot. In desperation, Bud and Lou insisted they’d finally run out of material and would have to drop out that week. Faced with the loss of one of the show’s most popular segments, the routine was given the go ahead, and CBS was inundated with listener response as a result. From that day onward it became their most requested sketch and the one with which they’d be most readily identified for the rest of their career.

Abbott and Costello stayed with Kate Smith for three seasons until the middle of 1940. By then, they’d appeared in a Broadway show The Streets Of Paris (stealing the kudos from Bobby Clark and Carmen Miranda) and had made their movie debut in One Night In The Tropics for Universal. NBC signed them for a 13-week series as a summer replacement for Fred Allen in 1940. Later that year they landed starring roles in the film Buck Privates. With a modest budget and a shooting schedule of under three weeks, the studio wasn’t exactly going out on a limb for the duo. However, when it premiered the following February, the public took Bud and Lou to their hearts and the picture became a huge money-spinner.

Needless to say, Universal rushed them into a series of features to capitalize on their success and in all, the boys made some three dozen movies as a team. Despite their enormous fame in front of the camera, their next radio venture was as support to Edgar Bergen on his Sunday night NBC program. As with their time on the Kate Smith show, Bud and Lou appeared in their own segment every week, performing their traditional wordplay routines.

After a year with Bergen, NBC gave them their own series. The Abbott And Costello Show debuted on October 8th 1942 where it became a Thursday night favorite for five seasons. At its height the show attracted an estimated twenty million listeners across America. Like the other comedy-variety programs on air during those years in the midst of the Second World War, Abbott and Costello’s half hour featured a regular vocalist (Connie Haines) and a guest from the movie world. Stars such as Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Lucille Ball and George Raft shared the microphone with Bud and Lou during their premiere season, and in subsequent series Cary Grant, Alan Ladd and Frank Sinatra joined the roster.

Apart from their radio and film work the boys also spent a lot of their time selling war bonds for “Uncle Sam”. They were at the peak of their careers but things weren’t always rosy for the pair. In March 1943 Lou was struck down with rheumatic fever and had to cancel all work until he recovered. Bud continued on with the radio show for a couple of broadcasts before he was forced to abandon the program until his partner could resume. Eight months later their eventual return to the airwaves was marred by tragedy when Lou’s baby boy drowned in the family swimming pool just hours before the broadcast. On hearing the news, Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope and Red Skelton offered to fill in for him but Lou insisted on going on. It was only after the show had been performed that Bud told the audience the heartbreak his partner had endured.

In 1947 Abbott and Costello switched to ABC for a couple of seasons and in addition to their night time show did a special children’s edition on Saturday mornings. At the time, ABC was the only major network allowing their programs to be pre-recorded (following a precedent set by Bing Crosby who was involved with a company developing the new technology of recording tape).

By the end of the decade radio was being usurped by television and Bud and Lou were signed to join the rotating list of stars on the Colgate Comedy Hour on NBC each Sunday night (the boys’ actual television debut had taken place on July 19 1939 during the run of Streets Of Paris but at that time only a few hundred sets would have been in operation).

The first of the Abbott and Costello specials aired on January 7 1951 and like much of their radio work featured tried-and-true material from their early days in burlesque including a version of the perennial Crazy House. The critics may have made note of the age of the material but the public was delighted. For their second telecast (on March 11) Bud and Lou performed Who’s On First and revived scenes from their Universal movies (including a confrontation with Frankenstein’s monster played by Lon Chaney Jr).

NBC signed the two for more Colgate appearances the following season but Lou decided to produce a separate batch of half-hour episodes featuring Bud and himself which would generate additional income in the form of residual payments each time they were screened. Filming of The Abbott And Costello Show began at the old Hal Roach studios in mid-1951 with a supporting cast of Sid Fields, Joe Besser, Hillary Brooke, Gordon Jones and Joe Kirk. Eventually fifty-two editions were made, and forty years later they serve as a delightful showcase of just about every burlesque routine the team ever did.

The live shows for Colgate, meanwhile, continued on at the rate of four or five a year and saw Bud and Lou in their element … reacting and ad-libbing in front of a live audience. Despite their ages (Lou was in his late forties and Bud was a good ten years older) the shows were filled with the knockabout bits and pratfalls they’d been doing since the mid-1930s. Invariably props went wrong and more often than not Lou was a bundle of bruises by the time the credits rolled.

Along with their film work, Abbott and Costello continued to appear on the Colgate Comedy Hour until May 1955 by which time their teaming had reached a crossroad. Their contract with Universal was not renewed and they were perceived as being unwilling to update their material for newer and more “sophisticated” audiences. Over the years Lou had harboured a desire to be regarded as a performer in his own right, and to a degree felt limited within the confines of the partnership. Finally, in late 1956, he decided it was time to call it quits.

Apart from voicing a series of Abbott and Costello cartoons in the 1960s Bud virtually retired from show business, but Lou branched out as a solo comedian and occasionally a straight actor. He starred in the movie The Thirty Foot Bride Of Candy Rock and made a number of guest shots on Steve Allen’s popular Tonight Show. His health (which had been a problem since the early 1940s) was now a major concern and in February 1959 he was felled by a heart attack and died some days later. Bud survived his partner by fifteen years but a series of strokes in the mid-1960s left him in poor health for the rest of his life and he died in 1974.

It’s been over sixty years since Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were at their peak on movie screens around the world and from radio sets across America. Highlights of their broadcasting career have long been available on record and with the proliferation of the video cassette and DVDs we can now enjoy their routines from the early days of television. In both mediums we have vibrant examples of two very funny performers exhibiting the talent and artistry of an age of entertainment now gone from the scene. And the laughter will go on for many years to come.

 

RADIO

The Kate Smith Hour (CBS)
Thursdays February 3 to June 23 1938 (21 editions)
Thursdays September 29 1938 to June 29 1939 (39 editions)
Fridays October 6 1939 to June 28 1940 (38 editions)
(no known recordings)

The Abbott and Costello Show (NBC summer season)
Wednesdays July 3 to September 25 1940 (13 editions)
(no known recordings)

The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show (NBC)
Sundays September 7 1941 to June 28 1942 (42 editions)
recordings of Sep 21, Nov 16, Nov 30, Dec 7, May 3, May 31, June 21 and June 28 are in the hands of collectors

The Abbott and Costello Show (NBC)
Thursdays October 8 1942 to March 18 1943 (not Jan 21) (23 editions)
Oct 15, Nov 19, Jan 14 and Feb 11 are in the hands of collectors

Thursdays November 4 1943 to June 15 1944 (33 editions)
Nov 11 to Jan 27, Feb 10, Feb 17, Mar 2 to Apr 6, Apr 20, May 4 and May 11 are in the hands of collectors

Thursdays October 51944 to June 28 1945 (39 editions)
Oct 5 to Nov 16, Dec 7 to 21, Jan 11 to Feb 1, Feb 15, Mar 1, Mar 8, Mar 22, Apr 5, Apr 19 to May 10, and June 7 to 28 are in the hands of collectors

Thursdays October 4 1945 to June 27 1946 (39 editions)
Oct 4, Nov 1, Nov 15, Nov 29 to Dec 27, Feb 7 to Feb 21, Mar 7, Mar 21, Mar 28, Apr 11, Apr 25 to June 6 are in the hands of collectors

Thursdays October 3 1946 to June 26 1947 (39 editions)
Oct 3, Oct 10, Nov 7, Dec 12, Dec 26, Jan 9, Jan 23, Feb 13, Feb 27 to Mar 13, Mar 27, Apr 10 to Apr 24, May 8 and May 22 are in the hands of collectors

The Abbott and Costello Show (ABC)
Wednesdays October 1 1947 to September 15 1948 (51 editions)
Dec 12, Dec 24 to Jan 14, Jan 28, Feb 4, Mar 3 to Mar 17, Mar 31 to May 19, Jun 2 to Jun 30, July 28, Aug 11 and Aug 25 are in the hands of collectors

Thursdays September 30 1948 to June 9 1949 (36 editions)
Oct 14 to Nov 4, Nov 18 to Dec 30, Jan 13 to 27, Mar 3, Mar 17, Mar 31, Apr 28 to May 26 and Jun 7 are in the hands of collectors

The Abbott and Costello Children’s Show (ABC)
Saturdays December 6 1947 to March 26 1949 (69 editions)
Jan 31 1948, Sep 11 1948, Dec 11 1948 and Dec 18 1948 are in the hands of collectors

Abbott and Costello also appeared in a number of A.F.R.S. wartime broadcasts …

Command Performance
# 9 (April 19 1942)
# 31 (August 30 1942)
# 34 (August 30 1942)
# 45 (January 2 1943)
# 95 (December 4 1943)
# 206 (January 10 1946) (highlights edition)

Mail Call
# 7 (October 1 1942)
# 75 (January 26 1944)

G.I. Journal
# 61 (September 15 1944)

 

DISCOGRAPHY

Laugh, Laugh, Laugh (parts A and B)
Victor 78rpm 27737

Who’s On First (parts A and B)
(Castle 78rpm 1253)

Mudder And Fodder Routine/How To Bet The Horses
(Castle 78rpm 1256) 

At The Drug Store/Down On The Farm
(Castle 78rpmnumber unknown)

Who’s On First (parts A and B)
(Enterprise 78rpm 501)

Who’s On First/How To Beat The Horses
(no label 45rpm AC 100) 

Who’s On First (parts 1 and 2)
(Campbell 45rpm CR 1001)

Jack And The Beanstalk
(Decca 78rpm and 45rpm 88096)

The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show
Radiola LP MR-1034
Features the complete broadcast of May 3 1942 with Abbott and Costello

Who’s On First? Abbott and Costello On Radio
Radiola LP MR-1038
Features the complete broadcast of November 9 1944 plus four excerpts:
Who’s On First (wartime)
The Story Of Moby Dick (1947)
In Alaska (1947)
Hertz U-Drive (1945)

Abbott and Costello On Radio
Nostalgia Lane NLR 1001
Features the complete broadcast of December 12 1946 plus five excerpts:
Who’s On First
Costello’s Farm
The Famous “Board” Routine
Hertz U-Drive
The Story Of Moby Dick

Abbott and Costello
Nostalgia Lane 2LP 2NLR 1019
Features four complete broadcasts:
February 11 1943
November 9 1944
April 5 1945
June 14 1945

Abbott and Costello When Radio Was King!
Memorabilia LP MLP-731
Features the complete broadcast of December 12 1946, plus:
Who’s On First

Hey AAA-Abbott!
Murray Hill 3LP Set 899981
Features four complete broadcasts:
February 11 1943
November 9 1944
April 51945
June 14 1945
and two complete television soundtracks:
Getting A Job
The Actors’ Home

The Great Radio Comedians
Murray Hill 5LP Set 931699
Features the complete broadcast of January 25 1945

The Best Of Abbott and Costello
Murray Hill 3LP Set M 58039
Features three complete broadcasts:
November 11 1943
October 5 1944
May 5 1948
the complete Lux Radio Theatre “Buck Privates” of October 13 1941,
plus excerpts from two other broadcasts and four television soundtracks

Buck Privates
Radiola LP MR-1135
Features the complete Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of October 13 1941 (60 min)

Christmas Stocking
Holiday LP HDY-1939, K.R.B. Music CD KRB 6126-2
Features the complete broadcast of December 12 1946, plus two excerpts:
Who’s On First
Costello’s Farm

The Best of Abbott & Costello and Amos & Andy
Radiex-6 LP
features the complete television soundtrack of The Actors’ Home

The Best Of Abbott & Costello
Metacom/Listener’s Choice/Golden Age Radio CD RM 0482201 (1994)
Girls, Girls, Girls
U-Drive
Costello The Stunt Man
Hull Of A Boat
Costello’s Horse Peanut Butter
Gold Ore
Moby Dick
The Crap Game From Buck Privates
Room And Board
Buying A Baseball Uniform
Who’s On First

Who’s On First
I.M.C. Music/On The Air CD OTA 101913 (1999)
Features the broadcast of November 9 1944, plus extracts:
Who’s On First
The Story Of Moby Dick
Abbot & Costello In Alaska
Hertz U-Drive

Abbott and Costello
Radio Spirits CD 39990
Features broadcasts of:
April 10 1947
April 17 1947

The Abbott and Costello Show
Radio Spirits CD 7700 (2001)
Features broadcasts of:
April 17 1947
March 30 1944

Abbott & Costello – Volume 1
Radio Spirits CD CBCDBX-1
Who’s On First
Lou Gets A Job

Abbott & Costello – Volume 2
Radio Spirits CD 40354
Lucille Ball’s Nylon Stockings
Bela Lugosi’s Haunted House

A Classic Cornucopia Of Confusion
Raven CD RVCD 101 (2001)
Who’s On First
Flee-Flu
Moby Dick
Horse’s Fodder
Up And Down
Laugh, Laugh, Laugh

The Golden Age Of Comedy – Abbott & Costello
Castle/Pulse CD PLS CD 604 (2002)
Who’s On First
Shooting A Picture
On The Ranch With Tex Melonhead
Christmas Shopping
Lending Abbott Money
Pay The Dollar
Getting A Whole Year’s Pay
Costello Honoured By Patterson, New Jersey
The Car

Legends Of Radio – Abbott & Costello
Radio Spirits 10CD 40012 (2002)
Features 20 broadcasts:
April 17 1947
October 15 1942
November 18 1943
November 25 1943
April 6 1944
October 12 1944
January 18 1945
April 26 1945
April 11 1946
May 9 1946
May 30 1946
March 6 1947
May 22 1947
June 5 1947
May 5 1948
June 2 1948
September 11 1948 (Children’s show)
November 18 1948
November 25 1948
December 16 1948

Abbott & Costello
Radio Spirits 6CD 50422 (2003)
Features broadcasts of:
January 20 1944
February 17 1944
March 1 1945
September 11 1948 (Children’s Show)
December 21 1944
December 30 1948
plus Lux Radio Theatre October 13 1941 – “Buck Privates”
The Andrews Sisters Show November 28 1945
The Rudy Vallee Show July 3 1941
The Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy Show June 21 1942
Request Performance April 21 1946

Abbott & Costello – Masters of Comedy
Radio Spirits 8CD 44192
Features broadcasts of:
November 19 1942
February 1 1945
March 20 1947
November 18 1948
December 2 1948
December 9 1948
December 23 1948
January 20 1948
February 3 1949
February 10 1949
March 10 1949
March 17 1949
March 24 1949
March 31 1949
April 7 1949
plus
THE CHASE AND SANBORN PROGRAM: February 8 1942
SHOW STOPPERS: March 22 1946

It’s Time to Smile
Radio Spirits 4CD 44832
Features broadcasts of:
July 31 1940
October 5 1944
January 25 1945
March 7 1946
October 10 1946
April 21 1948
February 17 1949
February 24 1949
plus
BILL STERN COLGATE SPORTS NEWSREEL: January 4 1946

Abbott & Costello
E.M.I.CD 590502 2 (2003)
Costello Goes To Peter Lorre’s Sanatorium
Giving Marilyn A Driving Lesson
Costello Buys A Radio Station

 

MOVIES

One Night In The Tropics (Universal 1940)
Buck Privates (Universal 1941)
In The Navy (Universal 1941)
Hold That Ghost (Universal 1941)
Keep ‘Em Flying (Universal 1941)
Ride ‘Em Cowboy (Universal 1942)
Rio Rita (MGM 1942)
Pardon My Sarong (Universal 1942)
Who Done It? (Universal 1942)
It Ain’t Hay (Universal 1943)
Hit The Ice (Universal 1943)
In Society (Universal 1944)
Lost In A Harem (MGM 1944)
Here Come The Co-eds (Universal 1945)
The Naughty Nineties (Universal 1945)
Abbott And Costello In Hollywood (MGM 1945)
Little Giant (Universal 1946)
The Time Of Their Lives (Universal 1946)
Buck Privates Come Home (Universal 1947)
The Wistful Widow Of Wagon Gap (Universal 1947)
The Noose Hangs High (Eagle/Lion 1948)
Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (Universal 1948)
Mexican Hayride (Universal 1948)
Abbott And Costello Meet The Killer, Boris Karloff (Universal 1949)
Africa Screams (United Artists 1949)
Abbott And Costello In The Foreign Legion (Universal 1950)
Abbott And Costello Meet The Invisible Man (Universal 1951)
Comin’ Round The Mountain (Universal 1951)
Jack And The Beanstalk (Warner Bros. 1952)
Abbott And Costello Meet Captain Kidd (Warner Bros. 1952)
Lost In Alaska (Universal 1952)
Abbott And Costello Go To Mars (Universal 1953)
Abbott And Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (Universal 1954)
Abbott And Costello Meet The Keystone Cops (Universal 1955)
Abbott And Costello Meet The Mummy (Universal 1955)
Dance With Me, Henry (United Artists 1956)
The Thirty Foot Bride Of Candy Rock (Columbia 1959 – Costello solo)
The World Of Abbott And Costello (Universal 1965 compilation of highlights)

DVD RELEASES

All the Universal titles (except It Ain’t Hay) have been released in four double-DVD box sets. Africa Screams and Jack and the Beanstalk appear on numerous releases, indicating they are presumably now in the public domain.

 

TELEVISION

THE COLGATE COMEDY HOUR (NBC Sundays, 8-00pm)

January 7 1951
Evelyn Knight, Hal Le Roy

March 11 1951
Lon Chaney Jr.

October 14 1951
Phil Regan, Gale Storm

November 18 1951
George Raft, Louis Armstrong

January 13 1952
Errol Flynn, Rhonda Fleming

April 6 1952
Charles Laughton

May 4 1952
Vera Zorina, Tony Bavaar (French theme)

October 19 1952
Lizabeth Scott, Gisele McKenzie

November 23 1952
Peggy Lee, Fisher & Ross

December 14 1952
Margaret Whiting, The Nicholas Brothers

January 11 1953
Victor Borge, Allan Jones, President Truman

March 22 1953
100th Edition with Cantor, Hope, Martin & Lewis, O’Connor

April 26 1953
Hoagy Carmichael, Teresa Brewer, The Amin Brothers

November 1 1953
(Lou ill) Martin & Lewis help Bud

February 21 1954
appearance on the Sonja Henie edition

March 21 1954
Les Paul & Mary Ford

April 18 1954
Jane Russell, Rhonda Fleming (south of the border theme)

May 23 1954
Peggy Lee, Hoagy Carmichael, Ricky Vera

March 13 1955
Gordon MacRae, Debra Paget, Carl “Bobo” Olson

May 15 1955
for Armed Services Week (from March Field Army Base)

 

THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW (30-minute sitcom)
Originally aired by CBS from December 5 1952
with Sidney Fields, Gordon Jones and (series one only) Hillary Brooke, Joe Besser and Joe Kirk.

Series 1:

The Drugstore
Mr. Fields employs Bud and Lou in his drugstore and they cause havoc.

The Dentist Office
Lou tries to get arrested to make him eligible for free dental treatment.

Jail
Lou is sent to prison for shooting a hole in a neighbour’s bucket (includes the “Niagara Falls” routine).

The Vacation
The boys are worried Mr. Fields will rent out their apartment while they’re away on holiday.

The Birthday Party
Lou’s birthday celebrations result in his guests going down with food poisoning.

Alaska 
When Lou’s uncle strikes gold in Alaska the boys decide to help him spend his newfound wealth.

The Army Story
Bud and Lou enlist in the army reserves (includes the dice game and drill routines).

Pots And Pans
Selling kitchen utensils door-to-door leads Lou to preparing dinner for his neighbours.

The Charity Bazaar
Bud and Lou take part in the annual bazaar (includes the “Lemon Bit”).

The Western Story
The boys visit a dude ranch where they encounter cattle rustlers.

The Haunted House
Bud and Lou helpHillary stay overnight in acreepy mansion to inherit a fortune.

Peace And Quiet
Lou checks into a sanatorium to help cure his insomnia (includes “Crazy House” routine).

Hungry
Ordering a meal in a restaurant proves to be a problem for Lou

The Music Lovers
Lou has to attain some musical prowess to impress Hillary’s father

The Politician
Lou’s attempts at electioneering result in a riot.

The Wrestling Match
Lou agrees to wrestle Stinky for charity, but a last minute substitution by his big brother threatens life and limb.

Getting A Job
The boys’ attempts at delivering a consignment of straw hats results in altercations with passers-by (includes “Susquehanna Hats”).

Bingo
Getting a licence for Lou’s pet monkey causes trouble.

Hillary’s Birthday
The boys’ surprise party for Hillary leads to an argument with the landlord over noise (includes “Go Ahead And Sing”).

Television
Lou wins some bubble gum on a TV. quiz show and ends up in court following a dispute with a neighbour.

Las Vegas 
The boys drive to Las Vegas where Lou has a violent game of billiards.

Little Old Lady
Bud and Lou raise some money for an elderly lady who has just been dispossessed but she immediately bets it on a horse.

The Actors’ Home
Bud becomes distraught when he learns he’s destroyed a perfectly good S500 bill and has to rest up at the Actors Home. (includes ‘Who’s On First’).

Police Rookies
Bud and Lou join the police but hand grenade practice creates havoc.

Safari
Lou thinks his chimp is homesick so the boys take him to Africa.

Series 2:

The Paperhangers
When the boys’ attempts at wallpapering end in disaster they get work at a seafood restaurant.

Uncle Bozzo’s Visit
The arrival of Lou’s uncle leads to a jail term when his loud singing causes an argument with Mike the cop.

In Society
Bud and Lou are hired to masquerade as English aristocrats at a banquet.

Life Insurance
Lou must spend a few weeks in the country to be fit enough to pass an insurance medical.

Pest Exterminators
The boys are mistaken for psychiatrists when they undertake a job of removing an infestation of ants.

Killer’s Wife
Lou is in trouble with an ex-prize fighter neighbour who thinks he is fooling around with his wife.

Cheapskates
The boys buy a crate containing stolen diamonds hidden in hundreds of roller skates.

South Of Dixie
Lou overhears some actors rehearsing a Civil War melodrama and thinks a girl is about to be murdered.

From Bed To Worse
The boys try to beautify their garden to win a prize but end up arguing with a neighbour.

$1000 TV Prize
While the boys are trying to fix Mr. Fields’ television, Lou answers a phone competition on his number.

Amnesia
To break up Lou’s romance, Bud tries to convince him he has amnesia and is really already married.

Efficiency Experts
While trying to curb the spending habits of two sisters, the boys are lured into a casino.

Car Trouble
Lou wins a dud automobile but their motoring trip to Michigan to buy a new one is fraught with difficulties.

Wife Wanted
Lou will inherit a large sum of money providing he is married.

Uncle From New Jersey
To stop Mr. Fields evicting them, the boys try to convince him Lou is the sole heir to a very rich uncle.

Private Eye
Lou wants to be a detective and offers to help a girl find some bonds that are believed hidden in a creepy mansion.

The Tax Return
Lou is mistakenly sent a one million dollar tax refund which attracts the attention of some gangsters.

Public Enemies
When criminals move into the boys’ apartment house, Lou is mistaken for a fellow crook and taken along on their heist.

Bank Hold-up
Bud and Lou are conned into helping two bank robbers stage a hold-up.

Well Oiled
Lou poses as a rich Texan to help Mr. Fields get out of a breach of promise suit.

The Pigeon
Lou becomes the middleman when a gangster’s lady friend wants to ditch her beau and run off with another man.

Honeymoon House
Lou’s attempts to build a prefabricated house for his fiancée are sabotaged by a jealous rival.

Fencing Master
Lou is suckered into being the guinea pig for a scientist who claims he can be made immune to injury.

Beauty Contest Story
The boys agree to help judge a beauty pageant but when Mr. Fields’ niece becomes a contestant their impartiality is threatened.

Fall Guy
While helping two men get their girlfriends out on a date, Bud and Lou are coerced into helping their father put a TV antenna.

Barber Lou
While taking part in a neighbour’s theatrical production, Bud unwisely gets Lou to give him a massage.

 

TELEVISION MATERIAL RELEASED ON VIDEO

The Best Of Abbott and Costello Live
Warner Home Video
Features highlights from the team’s appearances on The Colgate Comedy Hour including “Who’s On First”, “Drill Routine”, “Crap Game”, “Necklace-In-The Hamburger”, “Bryant 4444” and “Don’t Order Anything”

Who’s On First
Viking Video
Features the complete Colgate Comedy Hour of March 11 1951 

Abbott and Costello – Volume 1
Viking Video
Features the complete Colgate Comedy Hour of April 6 1952

Abbott and Costello – Volume 2
Viking Video
Features the complete Colgate Comedy Hour of May 4 1952

Abbott and Costello – Volume 3
Viking Video
Features the complete Colgate Comedy Hour of February 21 1954

Abbott and Costello – Volume 4
Viking Video
Features the complete Colgate Comedy Hour of January 11 1953

Abbott and Costello Television Shows – Volume 1
Shanachie 401
Contains four 25m episodes: Duck Dinner (aka Pots And Pans)/Hillary’s Birthday/Million Dollar Refund (aka The Tax Return)/Actor’s Home

Abbott and Costello Television Shows – Volume 2
Shanachie 402
Lou’s Birthday (aka The Birthday Party)/Getting A Job/Uncle Bozzo (aka Uncle Bozzo’s Visit)/Stolen Skates (aka Cheapskates)

Abbott and Costello Television Shows – Volume 3
Shanachie 403
Lou Falls For Ruby (aka Killer’s Wife)/Hillary’s Father (aka The Music Lovers)/Uncle Ruppert (aka Uncle From New Jersey)/Bingo’s Troubles (aka Bingo)

 

TELEVISION MATERIAL ON DVD

The Abbott & Costello Show
Genius Entertainment/AMC 2DVD 55220 (2003)
Features 6 editions of the Colgate Comedy Hour:
March 11 1951
October 19 1952
January 11 1953
April 26 1953
March 21 1954
May 23 1954

Abbott & Costello Collector’s Edition
Diamond Entertainment 2DVD 93021 (2003)
Features 5 editions of the Colgate Comedy Hour:
October 14 1951
November 18 1951
January 13 1952
April 6 1952
April 18 1954

The Best of the Abbott and Costello Show – volume 1
GoodTimes DVD 05 50314 (2005)
features 4 editions of the Colgate Comedy Hour
December 14 1952
April 18 1954
January 11 1953
April 6 1952

The Best of the Abbott and Costello Show – volume 2
GoodTimes DVD 05 50315 (2005)
features 5 editions of the Colgate Comedy Hour
April 26 1953
January 13 1952
March 11 1951
November 18 1951
March 21 1954

Golden Years Of Classic Television – volume 1: The Colgate Comedy Hours
Cascadia Entertainment DVD CCE 545
Features the Colgate Comedy Hour of January 11 1953, plus the “Who’s On First” routine

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 401 (2002)
Duck Dinner/Hillary’s Birthday/Million Dollar Refund/Actor’s Home

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 402 (2002)
Lou’s Birthday/Getting A Job/Uncle Bozzo/Stolen Skates

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 403 (2002)
Lou Falls For Ruby/Hillary’s Father/Uncle Ruppert/Bingo’s Troubles

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 404 (2002)
The Drugstore/Square Meal/$1000 Prize/Wife Wanted

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 405 (2002)
Police Academy/Charity Bazaar/Killer’s Wife/Well Oiled

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 406 (2002)
Wrestling Match/In Society/Lou’s Marriage/Beauty Contest

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 407 (2002)
Jail/Private Eye/Vacuum Cleaner Salesman/Fall Guy

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 408 (2002)

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 409 (2002)

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 410 (2002)

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 411 (2002)
Western Story/Barber Lou/Las Vegas/Pest Exterminators

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 412 (2002)
Television/The Haunted House/The Vacation/South Of Dixie

The Abbott & Costello Show
Shanachie DVD 413 (2002)
Safari/Paperhangers/Life Insurance/Alaska

The Abbott & Costello Show – Series 1
Beyond 5-disc DVD set FV 3008
Features all 26 episodes of first season (plus bonus items)

The Abbott & Costello Show – Series 2
Beyond 5-disc DVD set BHE 3045
features all 26 episodes of the second season (plus bonus items) 

Legends of Laughter: Abbott & Costello
Infinity 6-disc set
includes 14 Colgate Comedy Hours:
January 7, March 11, October 11 and November 18 1951
January 13, April 16, May 14, October 19 and December 14 1952
January 11 and April 26 1953
March 21, April 18  and April 25 1954
2 movies:
Africa Screams and Jack and the Beanstalk
plus 17 radio broadcasts

 

 

 

BOOKS

BUD AND LOU – THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO STORY
by Bob Thomas (W.H. Allen, London. 1977)

THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO BOOK
by Jim Mulholland (Popular Library paperback, New York. 1975)

THE OFFICIAL ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SCRAPBOOK
by Stephen Cox and John Lofflin (Contemporary Books paperback, Chicago. 1990)

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