Editorial review of The Naughty Nineties, starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, courtesy of Amazon.com:
In this zany Abbott and Costello musical comedy, Bud Abbott plays a ham actor and Lou Costello, his dimwitted assistant on the Mississippi showboat, the River Queen. When the boat docks in St. Louis, Bud and Lou try to rescue Captain Sam from a poker game with three card sharks, but they are too late. The gamblers win a controlling interest in the River Queen and — to Captain Sam’s dismay — set up a crooked casino operation on board. Before ridding the showboat of the villains, Abbott and Costello perform several of their most famous bits, including the complete rendition of their hysterical Who’s on First? routine, which has become one of the most popular comedy moments ever captured on film.
Trivia about Abbott and Costello’s The Naughty Nineties:
- Contains the famous “Who’s on First?” routine. The routine began life as part of Abbott and Costello’s Vaudeville act, then it debuted in their first film One Night in the Tropics (1940), though none of the previous incarnations were as lengthy as the one in this movie.
- The only baseball defensive position NOT mentioned in the “Who’s on First?” routine: Right Field.
- The scene of Abbott and Costello doing their classic “Who’s on First?” routine is run continuously at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. It is regarded as the best version of this routine in existence.
- Listen closely during the “Who’s On First” routine. The laughter that can be heard faintly belongs to the film crew and director. After numerous takes trying to eliminate it, the power of Abbott and Costello to elicit laughter during this sequence proved too strong. The director had no choice but to leave the giggling in.
- Lou Costello recycles the ‘Lifesavers Candy’ routine Groucho Marx used in the Marx Brothers‘ hit Horse Feathers (1932).
- The boat used as the showboat ‘River Queen’ in this production was also used as the “Cotton Palace” in Show Boat (1936)