Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Abbott & Costello Show - The Complete Series Collector's Edition (1952)

The Abbott & Costello Show - The Complete Series Collector's Edition (1952) goes on sale on March 30th. The 9 DVD set of the complete series has recently had a price drop on Amazon from $59.98 to $38.99. This is an amazing price for the re-mastered complete set of the great TV series and is a must have for any Bud and Lou fan. It can be pre-ordered today.

The Abbott and Costello Show, a half-hour television sitcom starring the popular comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello that premiered in syndication in the fall of 1952 and ran until the spring of 1954. It is regarded among the most influential comedy programs in history. In 1998Entertainment Weekly praised the series as one of the "100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time." In 2007, Time magazine selected it as one of the "The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME."
The show was a vehicle to bring the duo's tried and true burlesque routines to television in a format that the team could control. There were none of the musical interludes or love stories that marred most of their feature films. Basically, if a situation or gag was funny, they filmed it without regard to plot, character or continuity. As a result, the show became a valuable record of classic burlesque scenes performed by one of the greatest comedy teams to come out of burlesque.
The supporting cast included Sidney Fields as their landlord; Hillary Brooke as a neighbor and sometime love interest; Gordon Jones as Mike the Cop, a dimwitted foil for the boys; Joe Besser as Stinky, a 40-year-old man dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit; and Joe Kirk (Costello's brother-in-law) as Mr. Bacciagalupe, an Italian immigrant caricature who held a variety of jobs depending upon the requirements of the script. Several episodes featured a pet chimp named "Bingo", who was dressed exactly the same as Costello. Bingo, who was a female chimp, was fired from the show after biting Costello. Brooke, Besser, and Kirk also left the cast after the first season.
The program lasted two seasons (52 episodes) and was directed and produced by Jean Yarbrough. The first season episodes are considered to be far superior to those of the second, which introduced a more traditional (and restrictive) sitcom approach, often featuring "unhappy" endings. Most of the scripts for the first season were written by Sid Fields after Eddie Forman wrote the early establishing episodes. Episodes in the second season were written by Jack Townley, Felix Adler or Clyde Bruckman.(synopsis from Wikipedia)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Handwritten Manuscript of "Abbott and Costello Go To Mars" On Sale

A handwritten copy of D.D. Beauchamp's manuscript for "Abbott and Costelo Go to Mars" is on sale for $4500.00 from Royal Books.  The Royal Books website describes the manuscript as " Present in its entirety is Beachamp's original treatment, executed in pencil, with holograph corrections. Interspersed throughout are the resulting typewritten pages (also with holograph corrections). The combined pages are bradbound with green studio covers, showing a date of December 5, 1951 (two years prior to the film's release, and well before production began)". Although  "Abbott and Costello Go To Mars" is one of my favorite A and C movies I do don't see myself spending $4500 for this manuscript. But I'm sure someone will! You can find more info on the mamuscript at the link below.

Monday, February 22, 2010

On This Day in Abbott and Costello History

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)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bay Street Theatre Showing "The Time of their Lives" On February 26th

On Friday February 26th at 8pm the Bay Street Theatre is showing Abbott and Costello's "The Time of their Lives". Tickets are $5 each - unless otherwise noted - and can be purchased one half hour prior to the movie. Doors open at 7:30 pm - movies start at 8:00 pm.

The BAY STREET THEATRE is a not-for-profit 299-seat professional regional theatre situated on Long Wharf, in Sag Harbor, NY, and founded in 1991 by Sybil Christopher, Stephen Hamilton and Emma Walton.