Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Abbott & Costello Heirs Lose Appeal Over Broadway Play's Use of "Who's on First" Routine

The heirs of Abbott and Costello have lost a very important court ruling in terms of a copyright over the classic routine "Who's on First". The heirs have claimed they held the copyright for "Who's on First" based on a the copyright that was tied to the film "One Night in the Tropics". As such the heirs sued the producers of the Broadway play Hand to God. The play uses the famous routine and declared that it was "Fair Use". However the court ruled that in fact the Heirs of Abbott and Costello no longer hold a copyright of the Famous routine and that in fact it is in the Public Domain. I am sure that this ruling will be appealed and future court decisions on this matter is forthcoming. To read more about this story you can click the link below:

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Memories of Abbott and Costello: Chris Costello Talks ‘Who’s on First,’ Frankenstein, and Growing Up in Old Hollywood

Yahoo Movies recently did an interview with Lou Costello's daughter Chris.

You can read the compete interview below:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Artist enters Abbott and Costello painting in Art Exhbit

An artist has entered a painting with the subject of Abbott and Costello in the 72nd Annual Juried Exhibition which runs from May 25–September 1, 2013 at the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA

 The painting depicts Bud and Lou sitting at a table with plate of tacos in front of them. The artist, Camille Schefter, 26, was asked why she chose Abbott and Costello as a subject and she had a very interesting answer:

"The Abbott and Costello painting is one from a large series of film still paintings, all from American “buddy” movies. My parents raised me (and I’m grateful for this now) without much access to TV or pop culture in general. I played a lot outside and made a lot of art and music, built forts, was left to my own imagination really. What we were allowed to watch was an idiosyncratic mix of old stuff like Abbott and Costello and the Marx Brothers, British comedy like Monty Python and all the PBS we could soak up. So I suppose Bud and Lou are something I see as just a part of my life, like someone my age might think of Beavis and Butthead."

See a complete interview with the artist:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Today March 6th Lou Costello was born in 1906.

Louis Francis "Lou" Costello (March 6, 1906 – March 3, 1959) was an American actor and comedian best known as half of the comedy team of Abbott and Costello, with Bud Abbott. Costello was famous for his bumbling, chubby, clean-cut image that has appealed to many Americans over the decades, and for his famous shouted line of "HEEEEYYY ABBOTT!!."

Lou Costello was born as Louis Francis Cristillo in Paterson, New Jersey to an Italian father from Calabria, and a mother of French and Irish ancestry.[1]. He attended School 15 [2] at Paterson, NJ and was considered a gifted athlete, he excelled in basketball and reportedly was once the New Jersey state foul shot champion. (His singular basketball prowess can be seen on film, in Here Come The Co-Eds (1945), in which Lou performs all his own tricky hoop shots without special effects.) He also fought as a boxer under the name "Lou King."[3] He changed his professional name to Costello from actress Helene Costello. "There was a girl named Helene Costello, and I took her name".[4]
In 1927, Costello went to Hollywood to become an actor - but could only find work as a laborer or extra at MGM and Warner Brothers. His athletic skill brought him occasional work as a stunt man, notably in The Trail of '98, (1927). He can also be spotted sitting ringside in the Laurel and Hardy film The Battle of the Century (1927).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review of the new children’s book “Who’s on First” by Quirk Books

The new children’s book “Who’s on First” by Quirk Books,  is very faithful to the classic routine and thus is an enjoyable read for both child and Abbott and Costello fan alike. In 1999, Time magazine named:  “Who’s on First”, the Best Comedy Sketch of the 20th century. And in 1956 a gold record of "Who's on First?" was placed in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. A video (taken from The Naughty Nineties) now plays continuously on screens at the Hall. The routine has been performed on stage, radio, record, board game, television, film and now as a children’s book.

The book’s story is based on the classic comedy routine “Who’s on First” by Abbott and Costello with illustrations by John Martz. The story follows the exploits of a rabbit named Costello and a bear named Abbott as they discuss the names of the players on a baseball team tha the rabbit (Costello) is going to join. As with the classic routine, the more that the bear tells the rabbit the players name the more the rabbit gets confused. The routine lends itself wonderfully to a children’s book as the banter between the rabbit and bear is fast paced and without a great deal of dialogue. This allows the illustrator the luxury of drawing the characters with exaggerated expressions while advancing story with few words on the page.

John Martz has done a wonderful job illustrating this book.  He has used wonderful looking  characters to represent Abbott and Costello and thus captured the essence of this great comedy duo.. He has also done a great job of illustrating the routine to allow the younger  reader the ability  to follow along more easy. By drawing a baseball diamond with arrows to illustrate which players are on which base he has made  following  along to a very intricate comedy routine a much easier task.

This is one children’s book that can be enjoyable to both the child and the reader. Although the routine may be a little too confusing  for younger children to fully understand , They can still enjoy the illustrations and the spirit of the story. However it is the reader who gets the most out of the book. Reading this classic routine to a child allows the reader to go back in time when they first heard Abbott and Costello do the routine in their childhood.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Today March 3rd Lou Costello died in 1959.

After making one solo film, The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, Costello died of a heart attack at Doctors' Hospital in Beverly Hills on March 3, 1959, three days before his 53rd birthday. He is interred at the Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California. His last words as reported in the March 4, 1959 Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Evening Mirror News were "I think I'll be more comfortable," according to a private nurse who was the only person in the room with him at the time.[7][8] The widely reported claim that he died in the presence of friends and that his last words were actually "that was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted" appears to have been fabricated some time after the event, possibly as a dig against Costello's weight.[9]
That same year on December 5, Lou's wife Anne died at age 47. Their second daughter, Carole, who was a contestant coordinator for the game show Card Sharks, died on March 29, 1987 at age 48.(synopsis from Wikipedia)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Today February 22nd "Little Giant" opened in 1946.

A naive country boy named Benny Miller (Lou Costello), from Cucamonga, California, has been taking correspondence phonograph lessons in salesmanship. Upon completion of the course, he leaves his mother (Mary Gordon) and his girlfriend Martha (Elena Verdugo) to pursue a career in Los Angeles. He arranges a meeting with his Uncle Clarence (George Cleveland), a bookkeeper with the Hercules Vacuum Cleaner Company. When he arrives to ask for a job, the sales manager, John Morrison (Bud Abbott), mistakes him for one of the auditioning fashion models and has him remove his clothing. Morrison's secret wife, Hazel Temple (Jacqueline de Wit), discovers the mistake and suggests that Benny be hired to avoid an accounting scandal, as they have been "cooking the books". Unfortunately, Benny is fired from his salesman post after only one day. Clarence transfers Benny to the company's Stockton branch, which is run by Morrison's cousin, Tom Chandler (also played by Bud Abbott).
Benny's misfortunes continue, including a prank played on him by his new coworkers when they convince him that he can read minds. However, the prank gives Benny sufficient confidence to become Hercules' 'Salesman of the Year'. He is sent back to the Los Angeles branch to receive his award, and while demonstrating his 'abilities' to Morrison, he alludes to the fact that Morrison has a secret bank account. Morrison sends his wife (Hazel) to obtain more information from Benny to determine what he actually knows. Hazel and Benny go to her apartment, where Benny becomes ill after smoking a cigar. Hazel then gives Benny a sedative, and inadvertently takes one herself. Morrison comes home to find the two asleep together, and fears that they had a tryst.
At the awards ceremony that evening, Benny learns of the mind-reading ruse, and overhears Morrison speaking ill of him. Benny returns to his mother and his girlfriend in Cucamonga, where he also encounters Chandler, his coworker Ruby (Brenda Joyce), and the Hercules company president, Mr. Van Loon (Pierre Watkins). They announce that Morrison has been fired, and has been replaced by Chandler. Benny is now sales manager of the Cucamonga district. (synopsis from Wikipedia)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Abbott & Costello's classic "who's on first?" routine retold in a children's book

Abbott & Costello's classic "who's on first?" routine retold in a children's book

Boinb Boing has an article about a new children's book that is based on Abbott and Costello's classic routine "Who's on First". According to the article it has replaced  Bud and Lou by a rabbitt (Costello) and a bear (Abbott). This is such a great idea I wished I had thought of it. I hope to get a copy soon and read it to my seven year old son, I think he would really enjoy it. You can read the Boing Boing article here:

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Today January 31st "Buck Privates" opened in 1941.

Slicker Smith and Herbie Brown (Abbott and Costello) are sidewalk peddlers who hawk neckties out of a suitcase. They are chased by a cop and duck into a movie theater, not realizing that it is now being used as an Army Recruitment Center. Believing that they are signing up for theater prizes, they end up enlisting instead.
Meanwhile, spoiled playboy Randolph Parker (Lee Bowman) and his long-suffering valet, Bob Martin (Alan Curtis), are also enlisting at the old theater. Randolph expects his influential father to pull some strings so he can avoid military service. Bob, on the other hand, takes his military obligations in stride. Tensions between the two men escalate with the introduction of Judy Gray (Jane Frazee), a camp hostess and friend of Bob's upon whom Randolph sets his sights.
At boot camp, Slicker and Herbie are mortified to discover that the policeman who chased them is now their drill sergeant(!). Randolph, meanwhile, learns that his father will not use his influence on his behalf, believing that a year in the Army will do Randolph some good. Life at camp is not so bad, since the Andrews Sisters appear at regular intervals to sing patriotic or sentimental tunes, and Herbie continues to screw up with little consequence.
Randolph decides to skip an army shooting match (that his company eventually loses) to meet with Judy, which causes the rest of his company to resent him. But during a war game exercise, Randolph redeems himself by saving Bob and coming up with a ruse to win the exercise for his company. He is finally accepted by his unit, and wins Bob's and Judy's admiration in the process. Randolph soon learns that he's been accepted to Officer Training School, but initially refuses thinking that his father's political influence was responsible. However, his commanding officer assures him that his training record (along with recommendations from others in his class) factored in the decision. Randolph later finds out that Bob has also been offered an appointment to OTS, and Judy announces that she will be joining them as a hostess at the OTS training facility. (synopsis from Wikipedia)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Patty Andrews, Last Survivor of Wartime Sister Trio, Dies at 94

Patty Andrews, Last Survivor of Wartime Sister Trio, Dies at 94

Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the Andrews Sisters trio, who lifted American spirits in World War II with songs such as “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” has died. She was 94.

She died yesterday at her home in Northridge, California, near Los Angeles, of natural causes, the Associated Press reported, citing family spokesman Alan Eichler.

Maxene, Patty, and LaVerne appeared in 17 Hollywood films. Their first picture, Argentine Nights, paired them with another enthusiastic trio, the Ritz Brothers.[12] Universal Pictures, always budget-conscious, refused to hire a choreographer, so the Ritzes taught the sisters some eccentric steps. Thus, in Argentine Nights and the sisters' next film, Buck Privates, the Andrews Sisters dance like the Ritz Brothers.
Buck Privates, with Abbott and Costello, featured the Andrews Sisters' best-known song, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". This Don Raye-Hughie Prince composition was nominated for Best Song at the 1941 Academy Awards ceremony.
Universal hired the sisters for two more Abbott and Costello comedies, and then promoted them to full-fledged stardom in B musicals. What's Cookin', Private Buckaroo, and Give Out, Sisters(the latter portraying the sisters as old ladies) were among the team's popular full-length films.
The Andrews Sisters have a specialty number in the all-star revue Hollywood Canteen (1944). They can be seen singing "You Don't Have to Know the Language" with Bing Crosby in Paramount'sRoad to Rio with Bob Hope, that year's highest-grossing movie. Their singing voices are heard in two full-length Walt Disney features ("Make Mine Music"[13] which featured Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet, and "Melody Time", which introduced Little Toot, both of which are available on DVD today).