Saturday, August 22, 2009
Today August 22nd "Abbott and Costello in Hollywood" opened in 1945.
A barber, Buzz Curtis (Bud Abbott), and a porter, Abercrombie (Lou Costello), work for a Hollywood salon. It is from there that they are sent to an agent's, Norman Royce (Warner Anderson), office to administer a haircut and shine. On the way there they run into a former co-worker, Claire Warren (Frances Rafferty) who is about to star as the lead in a new musical. At the same time, her co-star Gregory LeMaise (Carlton Young), who fame is dwindling, arrives and invites her to join him at lunch. She declines, which angers him.
While at the agent's office, Buzz and Abercrombie witness LeMaise enter and declare to Royce that he cannot work with Claire. Royce, who has just seen a young singer, Jeff Parker (Robert Stanton), audition fires LeMaise and offers the job to Parker. This causes LeMaise to change his mind, and Royce does as well, giving LeMaise his job back. Buzz and Abercrombie quickly switch careers and become Parker's agents, and then head to the studio's chief, Mr. Kavanaugh (Donald MacBride), to find a role for Parker.
Unfortunately when they meet up with Kavanaugh it is because they just crashed their car into his at the studio gate. Kavanaugh bans them from the lot, but they manage to sneak back in with a group of extras. Once inside they find themselves at the wardrobe department and Buzz gets dressed as a cop and Abercrombie as a tramp. They use their new found disguises to roam the lot.
Later, Buzz and Abercrombie try to help Parker get the role by getting rid of LeMaise by trying to start a fight with him. Their plan is to photograph him hitting Abercrombie and then having him arrested. The plan goes off without a hitch until Abercombie falls overboard after being hit and is feared drowned. LeMaise decides to hide, and Parker is giving the role in his place. LeMaise eventually discovers that Abercrombie is still alive and chases him around the backlot. LeMaise eventually is caught, and Claire and Parker become famous when the film is successful. And Buzz and Abercrombie become bigtime agents in Hollywood.(synopsis from Wikipedia)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Today August 18th "In Society" opened in 1944.
Eddie Harrington (Bud Abbott) and Albert Mansfield (Lou Costello) are plumbers who receive a call about a leak in the private bathroom of Mr. Van Cleve (Thurston Hall), a wealthy businessman. The leak is keeping him awake, but the costume ball that his wife (Nella Walker) is throwing downstairs is not.
Eddie and Albert enlist the aid of a friend, Elsie Hammerdingle (Marion Hutton), a taxi driver, to take them to the mansion. While they are upstairs attempting to fix the leak, but flooding the room instead, Peter Evans (Kirby Grant), a guest dressed as a cab driver, mistakes Elsie for another costumed guest...despite her insistence that she really is just a cab driver. He winds up inviting her to another gala event, Mrs. Winthrop's (Margaret Irving) estate Briarwood, where a valuable painting The Plunger is to be revealed.
Meanwhile, Eddie and Albert mistakenly receive their own invitation to the event, as Mrs. Van Cleave was intending to send them a letter of complaint for the devastation that they inflicted on her home, but instead mails them her invitation to Briarwood. They think it is a reward for a job well done, and look at it as a chance to meet other wealthy clients. However, a loan shark named Drexel (Thomas Gomez) that they owe money to demands they steal the painting while they are there. When they refuse to go through with the plan, Drexel and Marlow (Murray Leonard), a crooked chauffeur at the party, attempt the steal the painting themselves. When the painting is discovered as missing, Gloria Winthrop (Ann Gillis), accuses Elsie, Eddie, and Albert as the thieves. However, they clear their names when Eddie and Albert, in a firetruck, capture Drexel and Marlow and recover the painting.
(synopsis from Wikipedia)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Today August 16th "The Time of their Lives" opened in 1946.
The time is 1780, and Horatio Prim (Lou Costello) is a master tinker. He travels to Tom Danbury's (Jess Barker) estate with a letter of commendation from General George Washington. He plans to present this letter to Danbury, whom he hopes to persuade into allowing Horatio to marry Nora O'Leary (Anne Gillis), Danbury's housemaid. Unfortunately, Horatio has a romantic rival in Cuthbert Greenway (Bud Abbott), Danbury's butler, who is very fond of Nora and intends to prevent Horatio from presenting his letter, which Nora has taken for safekeeping.
Nora happens to overhear Danbury discussing his part in Benedict Arnold's plot; Danbury captures her, and hides the commendation letter in a secret compartment of the mantel clock. Danbury's fiancée, Melody Allen (Marjorie Reynolds), witnesses the situation and sets off on horseback to warn Washington's army. She enlists Horatio's help, but the two of them are mistakenly shot by American troops that are arriving at the estate. The two are thrown down a well and condemned to remain bound to the estate unless evidence can prove their innocence. The soldiers ransack the house and burn it to the ground.
For the next 166 years, Horatio and Melody's ghosts roam the grounds of the estate before it is restored by Sheldon Gage (John Shelton). When the restoration is finished, complete with the "original" furniture (which was removed before the estate's fateful burning), Sheldon invites some friends to spend the night there. Accompanying him are his psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenway (Bud Abbott), a descendant of Cuthbert, as well as Sheldon's fiancée, June Prescott (Lynn Baggett) and her Aunt Millie (Binnie Barnes).
Upon arriving, they are greeted by Emily (Gale Sondergaard), the maid who strongly believes that the estate is haunted. Ghosts Horatio and Melody have some fun with this idea and try to scare the guests, especially Greenway whom Horatio mistakens for Cuthbert. The newcomers hold a seance and learn the identities of the two ghosts, and of the letter which can free them. They search for the letter but soon learn that all of the furniture is not original, as the clock which holds the letter sits in a New York museum. Greenway, as a way of atoning for the cruelty of his ancestor, travels to the museum to retrieve the letter. However, unexpected events force him to steal it. He arrives back at the estate, with state police on his tail.
The letter has been found, and Melody and Horatio leave the estate to enter heaven. Unfortunately for Horatio, who is met at the gate by Nora, he must wait one more day, as Nora points to a sign that says heaven is "Closed for Washington's Birthday."
(synapsis from Wikipedia)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Hey Abbott!! (1978) is out today on DVD at Amazon. This is a compilation of some of Bud and Lou's greatest bits. The tag line of this movie is "Take a golden trip down memory lane with Abbott & Costello in the zany, rapid-fire routines that keep generations laughing!" and it aptly describes the movie. Hosted by Milton Berle this is a must have for any Abbott and Costello fan.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Today August 10th "Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" opened in 1953.
Slim (Bud Abbott) and Tubby (Lou Costello) are American cops in London studying police tactics. A newspaper reporter, Bruce Adams (Craig Stevens), gets into an altercation at Hyde Park that was instigated by Vicky Edwards (Helen Westcott), a suffragette. Bruce and Vicky wind up in jail, while Slim and Tubby are kicked off the police force. Dr. Henry Jekyll, Vicky's guardian, bails them out.
Jekyll has been conducting home experiments in which he injects a potion and transforms into Mr. Hyde, a monster who murders a fellow doctor when he scoffed at Jekyll's experiments. Jekyll has more thoughts of murder when he notices that Vicky and Bruce are mutually attracted. Tubby and Slim witness the doctor's shenanigans at a music hall, where they begin to chase him with Bruce at their side. Tubby traps Hyde in a wax museum, but by the time he brings the Inspector (Reginald Denny) and Slim to the scene, the monster has already reverted back to Dr. Jekyll. The "good' doctor then asks Slim and Tubby to escort him to his home, where Tubby drinks a potion that transforms him into a large mouse. Slim and Tubby bring news of Jekyll's activities to the Inspector, who refuses to believe them.
Vicky announces her engagement to Bruce and Mr. Hyde reemerges, this time with intent to murder Vicky. Bruce saves her, but Hyde escapes. Tubby accidentally falls onto a serum-filled syringe, transforming Tubby into a Hyde-like monster as well. Bruce chases after Hyde, while Slim pursues Tubby, each believing still that there is only a single monster. Bruce ends up back at Jekyll's home, where Hyde falls from an upstairs window to his death, revealing to everyone his true identity when he reverts to normal form. Slim then brings Tubby (still in monster form) to the Inspector. Before reverting to human form, Tubby bites the Inspector and a half-dozen officers, transforming them into monsters who begin to chase Slim and Tubby. (synapsis from Wikipedia)
Friday, August 7, 2009
Today August 6th "Hold That Ghost" opened in 1941.
Chuck Murray (Bud Abbott) and Ferdie Jones (Lou Costello) work at a gas station, but long to move up to waiting tables at Chez Glamour, a high-class nightclub.
Opportunity comes their way and they find themselves working there. But on their very first night, they cause a disturbance, only to wind up back at the gas station, when a gangster named "Moose" Matson (William Davidson) brings in his car for servicing. Chuck and Ferdie happen to be inside the vehicle when the gangster speeds off to escape police, who are searching for him. During the chase, the gangster is killed, and through a strange clause in his will, Chuck and Ferdie inherit his tavern, 'Forrester's Club'.
The lawyer in charge of the will arranges a private bus (actually just a large car) to take them to the tavern, but the driver abandons them and the other passengers there and takes off with everyone's luggage, a scheme that is known as the "wildcat bus racket". Unbeknownst to everyone, one of the passengers, Charlie Smith (Marc Lawrence) is a member of Moose's gang, and wants to search the tavern for a hidden money stash. (Moose did give one rather cryptic clue as to the money's location, by stating that he always kept his money "in his head").
As the night progresses, strange things begin to happen, and the tavern appears to be haunted. More gangsters arrive to search for the money and unsuccessfully attempt to scare off the guests. Ferdie eventually finds the treasure hidden inside the head of a stuffed moose; he and Chuck use the money to transform the tavern into a health resort. They hire Ted Lewis and His Orchestra, along with The Andrews Sisters, to headline. (synapsis from Wikipedia)
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Today August 6th "The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock" opened in 1959.
Dorothy Provine plays Emmy Lou Raven who is in love with Artie Pinsetter, but he won't marry her until he is a great scientist. Distraught, she runs into Dinosaur Springs where the radiation turns her into a giant. A misunderstanding with her father forces Emmy and Artie to get married, but further confusion results when Emmy comes to town for the first time since her transformation and causes a panic. (Synapsis by IMDB)
Monday, August 3, 2009
There is an interesting story in today's copy of the Press of Atlantic City on Abbott and Costello. The newspaper article by By Devin McLaughlin, examines Bud and Lou's relationship with the City of Atlantic City and is a very interesting read. There is also a downloadable PDF of the article as it appears in the actual newspaper. You can read the article at:
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Today July 28th "Lost in Alaska" opened in 1952.
The time is the 1890s, and the place is San Francisco. George Ball (Lou Costello) and Tom Watson (Bud Abbott) are firemen who rescue 'Nugget' Joe McDermott (Tom Ewell) from committing suicide by drowning. Joe wants to die because his girlfriend, Rosette (Mitzi Green) no longer loves him. He tells George and Tom about his fortune in gold that he has stashed in Alaska, and they decide to keep an eye on him. Joe receives a letter from Rosette claiming that she still loves him. He returns to Alaska, with George and Tom in tow. Once they arrive, it is learned that many people want to kill Joe, as he was once the local sheriff who had many people hanged.
Rosette works at a casino whose owner, Jake Stillman (Bruce Cabot), demands that she marry Joe, whom Jake plans to kill once he is married to Rosette, so that he can marry her and gain the fortune in gold.
Rosette reveals Jake's intent to George and Tom, who hide Joe and Rosette by sending them out of town. Jake is not happy about this turn of events and sends his gang to deal with George and Tom, who manage to outwit them. In the ensuing melee, the gold falls into a deep crevice in the ice, and is lost. Everyone manages to overcome their greed for the sake of friendship, and Joe and Rosette marry. (synapsis from Wikipedia)
Friday, July 24, 2009
Today July 18th "Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion" opened in 1950. Bud Jones (Bud Abbott) and Lou Hotchkiss (Lou Costello) are wrestling promoters. Their star, Abdullah (Wee Willie Davis), no longer wishes to follow the script for their crooked matches, especially since he is supposed to lose his next match. Abdullah leaves America to return to his homeland, Algeria. The promoters' financiers, a syndicate that has lent them $5,000 to bring Abdullah to the States, are now requiring them to return the money or face the consequences. The two men follow Abdullah to Algeria in hopes of bringing him back.
Meanwhile, Abdullah's cousin, Sheik Hamud El Khalid (Douglass Dumbrille) and a crooked Foreign Legionnaire, Sergeant Axmann (Water Slezak), have been raiding a railroad construction site in order to extort "protection" money from the railroad company. When Bud and Lou arrive, they are mistaken for company spies, and the Sheik and Axmann attempt to murder them. As each attempt fails, the assassins' hatred for Bud and Lou intensifies, especially when Lou outbids the Sheik for six slave girls, one of whom, Nicole (Patricia Medina), is actually a French spy assigned to gain entry into the Sheik's camp. The boys are then chased, only to wind up hiding at the Foreign Legion headquarters, where Axmann convinces them to join.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Legion Commandant (Fred Nurney) suspects that there is a traitor among the Legionnaires, as the Sheik anticipates every one of the Legion's moves. The Commandant then grants Bud and Lou a pass into town where they meet up with Nicole. She informs them that they must search Axmann's room, but he catches them in the act. However, they are spared, only to end up at a Legionnaire desert camp. Just before the camp is ambushed by the Sheik's men, Bud and Lou wander off in search of a camel, and escape death. They are eventually captured, along with Nicole, who is put in Sheik Hamud's harem. The Shiek orders that one of his wrestlers execute them. The wrestler turns out to be Abdullah, who helps them escape. They head to Fort Apar, where they lure the Sheik's men, and blow it up. They are given awards by the Commandant and discharged from the Legion. (synapsis from Wikipedia)
Friday, July 17, 2009
Today July 18th "Comin' Round the Mountain" opened in 1951. Theatrical agent Al Stewart (Bud Abbott) has successfully booked his client, Dorothy McCoy (Dorothy Shay), "The Manhattan Hillbilly", at a New York nightclub. Unfortunately, he has also booked an inept escape artist, The Great Wilbert (Lou Costello), at the same location. During his performance, Wilbert cannot escape from his shackles and screams for help. Dorothy recognizes Wilbert's shrill scream as the 'McCoy clan yell'. More evidence of Wilbert's heritage, namely a photograph and concertina, are found in his dressing room, and prove that he is the long-lost grandson of 'Squeeze Box' McCoy, leader of the McCoy clan. Granny McCoy (Ida Moore) has been looking for Wilbert, as she will reveal where Squeeze Box hid his gold to 'kin folk' only. Al, Dorothy and Wilbert head to Kentucky, and Granny recounts the story of the McCoy-Winfield feud that began over sixty years ago. The McCoys choose Wilbert to represent them against Devil Dan Winfield (Glenn Strange) in a turkey shoot. Wilbert has never even seen a gun before, and his carelessness leads to a revival of the feud.
Granny informs Wilbert that even though he is Squeeze Box's kin, he must get married before the location of the gold can be revealed. Wilbert proposes to Dorothy, who declines because she is in love with Clark Winfield (Kirby Grant). Wilbert then goes to Aunt Huddy (Margaret Hamilton) to obtain a love potion to use on Dorothy. While obtaining the potion, Huddy and Wilbert make voodoo dolls of each other and proceed to stick pins in them, which inflicts pain in the other person. After finally obtaining the potion, Wilbert gets on Huddy's broom (complete with windshield and wipers), flies through the door, and crashes into a tree.
The potion initially works well, as Dorothy does fall for Wilbert, but unfortunately, everyone gets a sip of the concoction and falls in love. The potion's effects eventually fade, and Clark and Dorothy prepare to marry. The Winfield clan soon arrive ready for a fight, during which a stray bullet breaks the love potion jar, leading Devil Dan to taste it and fall for Wilbert. Soon afterwards, a map leading to the treasure is found in Wilbert's concertina. Devil Dan helps them enter the mine, where they eventually break through the rock, finding themselves in a vault filled with gold. Armed guards arrive to arrest the hapless treasure seekers, who have just broken into Fort Knox. (synapsis from Wikipedia)
Monday, July 6, 2009
Today July 6th "The Naughty Nineties" opened in 1945. The time is the 1890s, and Captain Sam (Henry Travers), owner of the showboat River Queen, is travelling from port to port along the Mississippi River, bringing his entertainment to each town. During one stop, in the river town of Ironville, he meets up with three individuals, Crawford (Alan Curtis), Bonita (Rita Johnson), and Bailey (Joe Sawyer), who are hiding from the local sheriff. Against the advice of his daughter Caroline (Lois Collier), his lead actor Dexter Broadhurst (Bud Abbott), and his chief roustabout Sebastian Dinwiddle (Lou Costello), the Captain joins them for a card game at a local gambling house.
The Captain is fed drink after drink until he is intoxicated and gets involved in a crooked card game where he loses controlling interest in the show boat to Bonita and Crawford. They use their newfound power to turn the showboat into a floating gambling casino with every game rigged in their favor. Dexter and Sebastian help the captain regain ownership of his vessel and oust the unwanted criminals. (synapsis from Wikipedia)
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Scott Allen Nollen
Abbott and Costello on the Home Front
A Critical Study of the Wartime Films
North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc, 2009
In Scott Allen Nollen's new book Abbott and Costello on the Home Front: A Critical Study of the Wartime Films, his goal was to examine "the production, content, and reception of 18 films within the context of wartime events on the home front and abroad." Although, he does succeed in his goal of discussing the film's production, content and reception; he fails to relate them to the events of the time.
He brings a love and new insight to the material that makes the book an enjoyable read. More importantly, he adds new anecdotes and stories that have been revealed, in recent years, which adds, immensely, to the overall depth and understanding of these two great Comedians but at no point does the book tie together nor fulfills the promise of putting these stories into the context of this traumatic time in American history.
In 1975, Jim Mulholland wrote the quintessential book on Abbott and Costello, The Abbott and Costello Book; since then, no one has been able to recapture the life and career of this great comedic team. Scott Allen Nollen, in this book, comes as close as anyone since Jim Mulholland.
The book is well written and in a style that is easily understood; it is illustrated with some amazing photos and lobby cards, from the author's personal collection, which adds to the overall enjoyment of the book and because of this it is a must read for any Abbott and Costello fan. However, it fails to deliver a critical study but rather is a retelling of the Mulholland’s book in terms of these 18 films. Although it is well written and has new insight, it could have been greatly improved had he only given us what he had promised.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Today July 2nd "Hit the Ice" opened in 1943. Flash Fulton (Bud Abbott) and Weejie McCoy (Lou Costello) take pictures of a bank robbery. Lured to the mountain resort hideout of the robbers and accompanied by Dr. Bill Elliott (Patric Knowles) and Peggy Osborn (Elyse Knox), they also meet old friend Johnny Long (Himself) and his band and singer Marcia Manning (Ginny Simms). Dr. Elliott and Peggy are being held in a remote cabin by the robbers, but Weejie rescues them by turning himself into a human snowball that becomes an avalanche that engulfs the crooks (synapsis from IMDB)
Monday, June 22, 2009
Monster Bash Convention 2009! will be happening this weekend June 26-28, 2009 at the Days Inn Conference Center - Butler , PA (north of Pittsburgh). There will be a wide range of Guest Stars in attendance including Butch Patrick of the Munsters, Lou Ferrigno of TV's THE INCREDIBLE HULK, Tom Savini of Dawn of the Dead fame and Cris Costello, Lou's daughter. Chris will be doing commentary on her father's home videos. Also there will be Bill Riley and Joe Ziegler - The Ultimate Abbott & Costello impersonators doing a live Abbott and Costello show. If you are the PA area this weekend you should definitely check it out. Get more info at:
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Jane Randolph who starred as Joan Raymond in Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein passed away on May 4th at the age 94. You can read a complete obituary at http://cinefantastiqueonline.com/2009/06/02/cat-people-actress-jane-randolph-dies/
Monday, May 18, 2009
Greg Lenburg has a new self published book on Classic Comedy Teams called "Classic Comedy Teams: A Screenshots Book". I have not seen the book yet but from the website it seems to be a collection of screen shots of classic comedy's greatest teams, including The Three Stooges, The Marx Brothers and of course Abbott and Costello. Bud and Lou seem to be well represented in the book with numerous screen shots of them. Check out the book at:
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Since Yahoo has announced the end of Geocities, I had no choice but to move my website that I have had since 1999. The new home of the Unofficial Abbott and Costello Blog is www.buckprivates.com. I hope to stay here for a very long time. Please update your bookmarks or links.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I'm embarrassed to say I only found out that Abbott and Costello has a MySpace page today. You can find the page at:
It has info on Bud and Lou as well as videos and music from Abbott and Costello movies. I will be linking to it on the "links" portion of this blog, and I recommend that you check it out.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
On May 3rd Abbott and Costello will be inducted into the NJ Hall of Fame at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark NJ. Other inductees include Jon Bon Jovi, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Althea Gibson, Jerry Lewis, Guglielmo Marconi, Shaquille O'Neal, Meryl Streep, Phil Rizzuto, Paul Robeson, Carl Sagan, Walt Whitman, and William Carlos Williams. For Ticket info check one of the following links:
Friday, March 27, 2009
According to the website www.prlog.org, Abbott and Costello have signed an agreement with MODA Entertainment to release new media and licensing products. I guess the agreement has been signed with the families of Abbott and Costello since both Bud and Lou have passed away. Anyway I see this as a good thing for Abbott and Costello fans as it should allow for new products to be produced and sold. In recent years other celebrities have sold their licensing rights for large sums of money, including Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali. I hope the families of Abbott and Costello have made a similar deal in this case. See the whole article here:
Monday, March 9, 2009
The Abbott and Costello Radio show ran from 1940 to 1949. Bruce Forsberg has created a PDF file that logs every one of these radio appearances. The log is comprehensive and concise. Each episode is listed by date as well as listing 9 points of information: SOURCE,ORCHESTRA LEADER,VOCALIST,SONGS,SPONSOR,ANNOUNCER,GUEST,NETWORK and SHOW NOTES. Any Abbott and Costello fan who has ever listened to one of the radio shows will find this log amazingly useful. The information is helpful and easy to find for which ever show you are listing to. The Log also includes appearances that Abbott and Costello made on other radio shows including The Kate Smith Show and The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy show. So do yourself a favor and go to Bruce's website http://users.tns.net/~forsbergweb/index.html and download the latest verison of the Log (currently version 2.6).
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
A new book on Abbott and Costello will be released on March 8. It is a study of the War time films of Abbott and Costello.I have yet to get my copy but when I do will be writing a review and posting it here.