Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953) starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Mari Blanchard
Abbott and Costello Go to Mars is not one of the better-known Abbott and Costello movies, which is too bad. It’s more of a children’s film, similar to Jack and the Beanstalk – but with some “eye candy” for the adults as well. The basic premise is that Orville (Lou Costello) is the oldest orphan at an orphanage, who is assigned to help Lester (Bud Abbott) load equipment onto an experimental spaceship. Predictably enough, they accidentally launch into space; unpredictably enough, they land back on Earth in New Orleans, and mistake the annual Mardi Gras parade for an alien civilization on Mars. They actually spend a fair amount of time interacting with the “aliens” at Mardi Gras, with the expected frightened reactions as the costumed revelers rotate their “heads,” etc.
Off to Venus!
Two thieves run across the abandoned spaceship, and don the same style spacesuits that Abbott and Costello are wearing to protect themselves from the “alien” atmosphere. Leading to Bud and Lou being accused of the crime. All four make it back to the spaceship, and blast off again, with a funny zero-gravity fight scene.
The ship eventually lands — this time on Venus, where they find a civilization of beautiful women (played by various Miss Universe contestants). But, all doesn’t end well for our heroes, and they end up back on Earth, with the criminals in jail.
Classic routines from Abbott and Costello Go to Mars
- Slapping contest between Lou Costello (Orville) and Dr. Orvilla (with Italian accent) over who’s “Orvilla”
- Lou unloading the truck, starting with the box that Bud Abbott’s standing on
- Lou Costello falling down a set of beds in the spaceship like dominoes
- Crooks having fun with a “paralysis ray gun” – for example, freezing a man as he’s drinking from a water fountain
- Lou Costello reacting to Limburger cheese
Funny movie quotes from Abbott and Costello Go to Mars
Miss Frances Planey: Orville, after you’ve finished flying the jet ships for the children, bring them back to the orphanage. Then cut the lawn and water the plants.
Orville (Lou Costello): All right, Miss Planey.
Orville (Lou Costello): Anything else I can do to help, doctor?
Doctor: I’m afraid not, Orville. Most of this work requires a high IQ.
Orville (Lou Costello): What?
Doctor: High IQ.
Orville (Lou Costello): High IQ too, doctor.
Orville (Lou Costello): Get me down from here – I want to collect my social security.
Lester (Bud Abbott): You can’t collect Social Security until you’re 65.
Orville (Lou Costello): I just aged 50 years!
Lester (Bud Abbott): I hereby claim Mars in the name of the United States of America.
Orville (Lou Costello): Me too.
Lester (Bud Abbott): Go see what made that noise.
Orville (Lou Costello): Uh-uh. You go.
Lester (Bud Abbott): Didn’t you make me promise not to leave you alone?
Orville (Lou Costello): Yes.
Lester (Bud Abbott): If I go look, you’ll be all alone here by yourself.
Orville (Lou Costello): Okay; I didn’t think of that. [Goes off to investigate]
Mugsy: I would like to ask you one simple question: How many states are you wanted in?
Harry: How many are dere?
Harry: Dat’s how many.
Mugsy: That’s a paralysis ray. Flash Gordon uses one of them.
Harry: What mob does he run with?
Orville (Lou Costello): What kind of hot rod was that?
Venusian #1: What is it?
Allura: I could be wrong, but I think it’s a man.
Venusian #2: That’s a man?
Orville (Lou Costello): May I stand up?
Queen Allura: Go ahead.
[Lou Costello stands up]
Queen Allura: He looks worse standing up than sitting down.
Queen Allura: What can a king do that a queen can’t do?
Orville (Lou Costello): Be the father of a large family.
Orville (Lou Costello): She found me again.
Trivia for Abbott and Costello Go to Mars
- A very young Harry Shearer (The Simpsons) appears as one of the boys seen near the beginning.
- Despite the title, Abbott and Costello never come close to Mars. Venus, yes, but not Mars.
- Miss Sweden of 1950, Anita Ekberg, makes an early career appearance as one of the guards on the planet Venus
- Shortly after the film’s release, Abbott and Costello appeared on The Colgate Comedy Hour and did a sketch in which they attended the film’s premiere
- The Venusian women were played by contestants in the Miss Universe competition
- Most foreign posters publicized the fact that the protagonists actually set foot on Venus, not on Mars
Updated February 7, 2022