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The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party – The Abbott and Costello Show season 1 – originally aired January 2, 1953

In The Birthday Party, Lou throws himself a birthday party. Where everything that can go wrong, does.

In The Birthday Party, Lou Costello is throwing himself a birthday party. He invites his friends from the boarding house … Although that backfires in the end. First, he tries to invite the landlord, Sid Fields, to the party.

Sid Fields taking offense at everything that Lou Costello says

A routine that Sid Fields did many times, including on their radio show, is to take offense at something that Lou says. Every time that Lou says anything. It’s a funny routine, that doesn’t go on too long, and ends with Lou hitting Sid in the face with a carton of ice cream!

Later, Lou is trying to make his “world famous” antipasto hor d’oeuvres. This leads to a short, funny bit where Lou gets his hand stuck to a can of chocolate syrup, and needs Bud’s help to get free. Which ends in Bud being stuck to the can instead. But then Lou’s illiteracy causes a problem. But first …

The party guests arrive, and give various presents to Lou:

  • Sid Fields brings a “kaleidoscope” (a small tube that typically has a “dirty picture”) — with a photo of Sid in the bathtub.
  • Mike the Cop (Gordon Jones) gives him a broken policeman’s whistle.
  • Mrs. Crumbcake (Elvia Allman) brings a single birthday cupcake with a long candle.
  • Lou’s girlfriend, Hillary Brooke, brings him a brand-new comic — “Terry and the Used Car Dealers”. This is a parody of the then-popular “Terry and the Pirates” series.
  • His best friend and roommate Bud Abbott brings … nothing at all.

Antipasto?

Lou then begins serving his antipasto treat. Which quickly gets everyone sick, and they all leave. It turns out that illiterate Lou used “ant paste” (an insect poison) instead of “antipasto”. Bud swiftly throws him out, telling him to never return. Mike the Cop orders him to leave the neighborhood. And Lou begins throwing himself a pity party.

He tries to help a little old lady cross the street … But she didn’t want to cross the street! Getting him into even more trouble with Mike the Cop. So, Lou decides to buy himself a birthday cake from Mr. Bacciagalupe (Joe Kirk).

Birthday cake

Lou Costello ordering his birthday cake from Mr. Bacciagalupe

Lou goes to the bakery, and orders his birthday cake. Mr. Bacciagalupe and Lou do a little verbal jousting about “kneading the dough” vs. “needing the dough”, but Lou eventually leaves while Mr. Bacciagalupe works. And he comes back to a beautiful cake …

But it doesn’t have marshmallows between the layers! Even though Lou didn’t mention that, Mr. Bacciagalupe has him leave while he fixes the cake. Lou comes back, and the cake is perfect! Except …

White frosting? He wanted pink frosting … although he never mentioned it. So, the suffering Mr. Bacciagalupe fixes it again. And Lou comes back, and it’s perfect! Except it doesn’t have Lou’s initials on it …

Eventually, the suffering Mr. Bacciagalupe has the cake “fit for a king” passing Lou’s inspection.

“Where do you want a-take-a this cake?”

“I don’t want you to take it no place, Mr. Bacciagalupe. Get me some coffee, I’ll eat it here!”

Which ends with Lou having a face full of cake, of course.

And The Birthday Party ends with Bud and Lou on stage, with Lou addressing anyone in the audience who’s had an unhappy birthday … with Bud “zinging” him one more time.

Conclusion

The Birthday Party is a different Abbott and Costello Show episode. It’s not a favorite, but it’s not terrible, either.

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