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Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd - Lou and Bud find the treasure map

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd  (1952) starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Charles Laughton, Hillary Brooke

In  Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd  two waiters, Oliver “Puddin’ Head” Johnson (Lou Costello) and Rocky Stonebridge (Bud Abbott) are on their way to work at Death’s Head Tavern on the pirate hangout on the island of Tortuga. There they encounter Lady Jane (Fran Warren). She asks them to bring a love note to the singer at the tavern, Bruce Martingale (Bill Shirley).

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd - they're raising cain on the bounding main - Charles Laughton - DVD

At the tavern, the notorious Captain Kidd (Charles Laughton) is eating with Captain Bonney (Hillary Brooke), a female pirate. She accuses Kidd of raiding ships in her territory and demands restitution. Kidd informs the beautiful Captain Bonney that he has hidden the treasure on Skull Island. And only he has the map to its exact location. He agrees to take her and her ship to Skull Island …. So that she can receive her share of the booty. During their discussion, Oliver/Lou Costello is their waiter and inadvertently switches the map for Lady Jane’s love note.

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd - handcuff routine

Rocky/Bud Abbott discovers the mistake. He goes to Captain Kidd, demanding a share of the treasure and a place on the voyage …. In exchange for the map. Captain Kidd/Charles Laughton ostensibly agrees, but intends to kill Oliver/Lou Costello and Rocky/Bud Abbott once he gets the map back.   The night before they set sail, the tavern singer/love interest is shanghaied.  And so all three set sail with Captain Kidd.

Romance, treasure hunt

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd - Lou and Bud find the treasure map

Captain Kidd unsuccessfully attempts to regain the map throughout the entire voyage. Captain Bonney, meanwhile, mistakenly believes that Oliver wrote the love note. She is trying to get him to fall in love with her, instead.   On the way to the island, Captain Kidd raids another ship. It happens to have  Lady Jane on board, and she is kidnapped.   The two ships finally arrive at Skull Island; Oliver/Lou Costello and Rocky/Bud Abbott begin to dig up the treasure. And Kidd arrogantly declares his plans to dispose of them along with Captain Bonney. They alert Bonney to Kidd’s true intentions, and her crew attacks. The treasure is recovered, and Bonney’s crew wins the fight, with Kidd becoming her prisoner.

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd - Lou Costello's running gag with getting soaked from the porthole

Some  Abbott and Costello fans consider  Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd as one of their lesser comedies. But I don’t agree; the comedy is fast-paced, with Charles Laughton surprisingly funny as Captain Kidd, with numerous funny interactions with Lou Costello.   There are too many musical numbers, but several allow Lou to add his comedy touches, and are enjoyable.   There’s a  protracted scene in Captain Kidd’s cabin, where Bud and Lou are looking for the lost map. There’s a running gag of Costello getting drenched whenever he opens a porthole. But Bud and Captain Kidd have nothing happen when they do. With a very funny “cap” on the gag when Captain Kidd leaves the cabin.

I laughed at  Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd, and hope you do as well.   I rate it 3 clowns out of 5.

Abbott and Costello Routines

  • Handcuff scene
    • Captain Kidd demonstrates how to be properly handcuffed, only to have Lou take advantage of the situation.  And while Lou runs off to get Bud, Kidd gets free, and then plays along with Lou when he returns
  • Lou waiters mean Captain Kidd
  • Digging holes
    • While digging for Captain Kidd’s treasure.  As Bud digs, Lou empties his shovelfuls of dirt into the hole that Bud is digging.  And then standing on Bud’s shovel for good measure.
  • Lou Costello imitates Captain Kidd
    • Multiple times (primarily at the end) Lou impersonates Captain Kidd, only to have Captain Kidd walk in on him.

Editorial review of Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd, (1952) starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Charlies Laughton, courtesy of

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd - Lou and Bud at the Tavern

Abbott. Costello. Laughton. Three stars boasting one Oscar(r) between them deliver the yo-ho-ho-ho-ing of this merry musical-comedy tale of pirates and buried treasure. Casting an acclaimed actor renowned for gravitas in a knockabout romp may seem unusual. Yet Academy Award(r) winner* Charles Laughton, who portrayed menacing Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty and the title role in the swashbuckling adventure Captain Kidd, sails into this sea of silliness with great glee. Instigators of most of that silliness are, of course, the legendary Bud and Lou, turning the voyage under the Jolly Roger into a jollier one with their comic timing, verbal jousts and madcap mayhem. Arrrrrr you ready?

Funny movie quotes from  Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd  (1952) starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Charles Laughton, Hillary Brooke

Rocky Stonebridge (Bud Abbott): What were you doing in that barrel? Are you trying to get killed?
Oliver ‘Puddin’ Head’ Johnson (Lou Costello): Around here, a guy can get killed without even trying!

Cap’n Bonney (Hillary Brooke): If I weren’t a pirate I’d cry.

Captain William Kidd (Charles Laughton): I hate fat men!
Cap’n Bonney (Hillary Brooke): But you’re a fat man.
Captain William Kidd (Charles Laughton): I hate myself too!

Trivia for  Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd  (1952) starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Charles Laughton, Hillary Brooke

  • In the opening scene of It Started with Eve, an assistant newspaper editor comments that if Jonathan Reynolds Sr. had lived two centuries earlier, he would have made a great pirate – “Captain Kidd himself.” Three years later, Charles Laughton, who played Jonathan Reynolds Sr., played the title role. First in Captain Kidd and again in Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd.
  • As Universal would not spend extra money to make an Abbott & Costello in color, the duo did it themselves. Using a contractual agreement with Universal that permitted them to make one independent film per year. They made this film using Abbott’s company, Woodley Productions.

Cast of characters

Additional cast

  • Phil Bloom … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Willie Bloom … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Albert Cavens (Cyrano de Bergerac 1950) … Tavern Patron (uncredited)
  • George DeNormand … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Lester Dorr … Waiter at Pub (uncredited)
  • Joe Garcio … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Frank Hagney (It’s a Wonderful Life) … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Kenner G. Kemp … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Joe Kirk (Buck Privates Come Home) … Flirtatious Pirate (uncredited)
  • Rex Lease … Waiter at Pub with Black Eye (uncredited)
  • George Magrill … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Boyd ‘Red’ Morgan (Beyond the Time Barrier) … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Leonard Mudie (The Mummy (1932)) … Capt. Bonney’s First Mate (uncredited)
  • Paul Newlan … Pub Owner (uncredited)
  • Milicent Patrick … Tavern Wench (uncredited)
  • Harry Raven … Tavern Patron (uncredited)
  • Suzanne Ridgway (From Hell It Came) … Pretty Maiden in Pub (uncredited)
  • Chuck Roberson (McLintock!) … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Syd Saylor (The Crawling Hand) … Waiter at Pub Spitting Teeth (uncredited)
  • Carl Sklover … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Max Wagner (Invaders from Mars) … Pirate Lookout (uncredited)
  • Blackie Whiteford (The Hoose-Gow) … Pirate (uncredited)
  • Harry Wilson (Robin And The 7 Hoods) … Ugly Pirate (uncredited)

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