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Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man

Abbott and Costello meet the Invisible Man - promotional photo

Synopsis of Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)

Abbott & Costello Meet The Invisible Man - Lou Costello & Invisible Man in Car

Fresh graduates from detective school, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, get their first case – recapturing the escaped killer, Tommy Nelson. Nelson, however, the typical “convicted of a crime that he didn’t commit” – and has a scientist friend give him a dose of the Invisible Man formula, giving him a race against time to find the real killer — before the formula drives him mad. But Abbott and Costello are there to help

Review of  Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man

Promotional photo of Bud Abbott and the Invisible Man carrying Lou Costello

I was pleasantly surprised by Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. Like Bud  Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, the monster side of the equation is treated respectfully. And still giving Abbott and Costello room to flex their comedy muscles.  Convicted murderer (and professional boxer) Tommy Nelson escapes from police custody with the aid of the Invisible Man formula, with Abbott and Costello at first in pursuit, and then aiding him in trying to prove his innocence.

The setting gives Abbott and Costello several comedic settings. These include:

  • Dealing with a drunk, passed out, invisible man.
  • Eventually having to carry their invisible friend to bed to sleep it off.
  • Another excellent boxing scene, where the invisible man is supposed to be in the ring with Lou … But he arrives late!

The ending seems like they needed to stretch out the film’s time, but it doesn’t detract.

Cast of characters

Funny movie quotes from Abbott and Costello meet the Invisible Man

Lou Francis (Lou Costello): [about graduating from the detective school] This is the thing that ever happened to me, how did I ever graduate?
Bud Alexander (Bud Abbott): [whispering] I slipped the guy twenty bucks. Now keep quiet.

Lou Francis (Lou Costello): If that’s not Tommy Nelson it’s Frankenstein. FRANKENSTEIN!

Bud Alexander (Bud Abbott):  What would an escaped murderer want private detectives for?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello):  To catch himself?

Bud Alexander (Bud Abbott):  Wait a minute! We’re private detectives! What am I running for? Do I look like a crook?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello):  Do you want me to answer that?

At the police station

Det. Roberts (William Frawley): [Tommy Nelson is gone] How did he get out?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): Installments.
Det. Roberts (William Frawley): Installments?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): Yeah, he did a Gypsy Rose Lee, come here!
[they find Tommy’s clothes lying about]
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): That, that’s all that’s left of him.
Det. Roberts (William Frawley): Evidently Nelson changed clothes… what was he wearing when you last saw him?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): Air… nothing but air… and then he asked me how he looked.
Det. Roberts (William Frawley): Wearing air? What are you talking about?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): I went to shake his hand, his hand was gone, I looked up to speak to him, his head was gone. Then he took off his shirt, his body was gone, he took off his pants, his legs were gone! Then he spoke to me, I was gone.

Police Psychiatrist: I know, you saw this man disappear into thin air. Do you always see things?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): Only when my eyes are open.
Police Psychiatrist: Did you ever see somebody disappear before?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): Yes sir, I have.
Police Psychiatrist: This may explain it, seeing things. When did this happen?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): One day me and my brother were walking down the street… my brother disappeared.
Police Psychiatrist: Into thin air?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): No, into a manhole.
Police Psychiatrist: How about voices? Do you ever hear strange voices?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): Yes sir.
Police Psychiatrist: Aha, and when do you hear these strange voices?
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): When I get the wrong number on the telephone.

Police Psychiatrist: [hypnotizing Lou with a watch] Tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock…
Lou Francis (Lou Costello): [gasps] You forgot to say the mouse went up the clock!

Trivia for Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man

  • The last names of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello’s characters, Bud Alexander and Lou Francis, are actually their real middle names.
  • The picture in Dr. Gray’s laboratory of Griffin, the inventor of the invisibility serum, is a photo of Claude Rains, who played the title role in The Invisible Man (1933).
  • Several shots are from Universal’s The Invisible Man Returns (1940).
    • The scenes where the guinea pig turns invisible (reversed footage).
    • The harness of the invisible guinea pig moving around its cage.
    • The scene where the Invisible Man is unpacking a suitcase of clothes left outside in the woods.
  • This was originally going to be a straight film in the Invisible Man series. After the huge grosses from Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), the script was rewritten. To make it another thrill comedy with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Abbott and Costello met an invisible man in the earlier film, too. But it was a different character (played by the voice of Vincent Price).

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