Saturday, August 22, 2009

On This Day in Abbott and Costello History

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

On This Day in Abbott and Costello History

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

On This Day in Abbott and Costello History

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) out today on DVD!

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

On This Day in Abbott and Costello History

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

On This Day in Abbott and Costello History

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

On This Day in Abbott and Costello History

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

Abbott and Costello still leave us laughing

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: