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)