Friday, July 17, 2009

On This Day in Abbott and Costello History

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)

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