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A Dollar a Day

A dollar a day routine, made famous by  Abbott and Costello

Bud Abbott, Lou Costello in the 1930s

A Dollar A Day  is a classic vaudeville skit, made famous by  Bud Abbott  and  Lou Costello, where Lou Costello has been working for Bud Abbott for the last year for the “princely” sum of one dollar per day—and Bud Abbott finds one reason after another to keep deducting wages, and deducting, and deducting …

It was first shown in their first movie,  One Night in the Tropics, but the version displayed below is taken from their popular radio show.

Bud Abbott: How can I help you?   I’m a pauper.
Lou Costello: A pauper?   Congratulations!   Is it a boy or a girl?
Bud Abbott: Never mind that … I’d still like to know where you’re going to get the money.
Lou Costello: Now, Abbott, you know I got the money coming. Now this is the end of the year—no more after this.
Bud Abbott: What do you mean?
Lou Costello: You know, 365 days in a year.
Bud Abbott: Well, I know that.
Lou Costello: I’m working for you, and you owe me a whole year’s salary!
Bud Abbott: Wait a minute …
Lou Costello: 365 days, 365 dollars, you owe me a dollar a day.
Bud Abbott: Wait a minute, let’s straighten this out.
Lou Costello: Pay me up!
Bud Abbott: You say you worked 365 days for me, and you want to be reimbursed.
Lou Costello: Look, I don’t want to burst anything!   Just give me my money, 365 bucks, I’ll get out.
Bud Abbott: Okay, look, now don’t get excited, take it easy. Now, listen. How many hours a day did you work?
Lou Costello: Eight hours a day.
Bud Abbott: And how many hours are there in a day?
Lou Costello: Look, now Abbott, don’t try to put anything over on me. There’s 24 hours in a day, all but February, which has 28.
Bud Abbott: You’re absolutely right, there are 24 hours in a day.   But by working 8 hours you only really worked one-third of each day, isn’t that right?
Lou Costello: That’s according to the way you figure it.
Bud Abbott: Well, one-third of 365 is about 121 dollars. So you only actually have 121 dollars coming to you. That’s the way I reckon it
Lou Costello: You sure are wreckin’ it! Come on, give it up, give me the dough.
Bud Abbott: Well, you did have 121 dollars coming, but …
Lou Costello: I knew there was a but in it.
Bud Abbott: But you didn’t work Sundays, did you?
Lou Costello: No, I had to take a day off to wash my lingerie!
Bud Abbott: All right, there are 52 Sundays in a year, deduct 52 from 121 dollars which leaves 69 dollars coming to you.
Lou Costello: You’re sure of that?
Bud Abbott: Positive!
Lou Costello: You see, I don’t want you to cheat yourself.
Bud Abbott: Now, that’s mighty nice of you, to look out for my interests.
Lou Costello: I may as well look out for yours, you already wrecked mine! Come on, Abbott, give me the money. Give up something, will you?
Bud Abbott: All right, I’ll be glad to give you the 69 dollars, but …
Lou Costello: Hold on to your hats, here we go again! Look, Abbott, give me a couple of dollars. How’s that?
Bud Abbott: Well, you must admit you only worked a half a day on Saturday, isn’t that right, partner?
Lou Costello: Partner! Now that I’m losing money, I’m a partner! Look, will you give me a dollar? I’ll settle … give me a half a buck.
Bud Abbott: Now wait a minute! Wait a minute, just a second. Just a minute, now where was I?
Lou Costello: You just had a toehold on my 69 dollars.
Bud Abbott: Oh yes, yes. a half a day on Saturdays, 52 Saturdays in a year, one half of 52 is 26, so you will deduct 26 from 69, leaving you the sum of 43 dollars.
Lou Costello: Sum of?
Bud Abbott: Yes, sum of.
If I get some of it, I’ll be lucky! Look, Abbott, give me a quarter, will you let me have a quarter? Give me 20 cents.
Bud Abbott: Well, now wait a minute.
Lou Costello: I’m going out of here with something!
Bud Abbott: Now wait a minute, just a minute. There’s still a balance of 43 dollars. But!
Lou Costello: Stop ‘butting’! You’re getting my goat!
Bud Abbott: But you took a two weeks vacation, didn’t you?
Lou Costello: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Bud Abbott: That’s 14 days. Take 14 from 43 dollars, leaving you the exact sum of 29 dollars.
Lou Costello: Look, Abbott, will you give me a dime? Is that asking too much? Will you give me anything?
Bud Abbott: Well, I’d give you the 29 dollars,
(in unison) but …
Lou Costello: I know it as good as you do!
Bud Abbott: How much time did you take off for lunch?
Lou Costello: Oh, this is going to run into money! I took off one hour a day.
Bud Abbott: Very well, 365 hours is equal to 15 days, I take it.
Lou Costello: You might as well take it, you’ve taken everything else! Go ahead!
(in unison) 15 from 29 leaves 14, but …
Lou Costello: Now I know it better than you do! Look, Abbott, will you give me something? Will you give me a nickel?
Bud Abbott: What do you mean?
Lou Costello: Give me four pennies!
Bud Abbott: What do you mean give you four pennies?
Lou Costello: Look, can you spare a rat biscuit? Maybe you got a spare mothball?
Bud Abbott: A mothball?
Lou Costello: Look, is it asking … give me a sardine, go ahead, Mrs. Niles is going to have me in the can anyway!
Bud Abbott: Just a minute, let’s straighten this thing out. There are 13 holidays in a year which you didn’t work, and as you only have 14 dollars coming to you, we deduct the 13 from the fourteen, leaving you the exact sum of 1 dollar. Here you are, my dear friend, and good luck to you.
Lou Costello: Nice work, Abbott. I need money for a lawyer because Mrs. Niles is going to throw me in jail, and you’re giving me only a dollar.
Bud Abbott: Let’s have no more words about it!
Lou Costello: One measly dollar! After I worked and slaved for you for a whole year!
Bud Abbott: I always pay my obligations – here’s your dollar.
Lou Costello: I wouldn’t mind, Abbott, I wouldn’t care if it was just for me alone, I need more than a dollar. I got another mouth to feed.
Bud Abbott: Now listen, your troubles are not my … wait a minute. You what?
Lou Costello: I have another mouth to feed.
Bud Abbott: Another mouth to feed? You never told me that.
Lou Costello: I know it.
Bud Abbott: Why, you’ve been with me all this time, Costello, and now you tell me you have another mouth to feed?   Why didn’t you tell me that before?
Lou Costello: I was ashamed.
Bud Abbott: Oh, you fortunate fellow, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.   I was only kidding about the other money.   Here, here’s your 365 dollars.   And to show you that my heart’s in the right place, here’s 50 dollars of my own.   You should be so happy!   What is it, a boy or a girl?
Lou Costello: A goldfish!
Bud Abbott: Get out of here!

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