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Tom Raymond

Tom Raymond is a professional computer, programmer, and writer, with a love for the classic comedy team of Abbott and Costello

Who Done It? Lou Costello, Bud Abbott

Who Done It? (1942)

Editorial review of  Abbot and Costello’s Who Done It?, courtesy of Amazon.com

Publicity photo of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in "Who Done It?"

 In this slapstick comedy thriller,  Bud Abbott and  Lou Costello play would-be radio writers who find themselves involved in a real murder during the recording of a “whodunit” play. Trying to solve the crime,  they are suspected by the police-and targeted by the killer!  A  madcap chase through the radio station  features a riotous encounter with a fitful drinking fountain, a mix-up in a sound recordings library, and a runaway elevator. With a strong supporting cast including Mary Wilkes as a wisecracking secretary and William Bendix as a cop who’s even dumber than Lou,  Who Done It? has been called “one of Abbott and Costello’s best,”  by critic Leonard Maltin.

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In the Navy, starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Dick Powell

In the Navy (1941)

In the Navy (1941) starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Dick Powell, the Andrews Sisters, Claire Dodd

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In the Navy - Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, police officer

 Bud Abbott  and  Lou Costello‘s follow up after the amazing success of  Buck Privates  was  In the Navy. Which actually did better than Buck Privates. Like their previous film, Shemp Howard and the Andrews Sisters provide a comic foil and musical interludes, respectively. In a nutshell, Abbott and Costello join the Navy. Then, they get involved in a romantic subplot with Dick Powell. Along the way, they do do some of their most famous routines. These include a version of the  con artist shell game using lemons, and  Lou demonstrating his clownish math skills by trying to prove that 28 divided by 7 equals 13 — €”this bit alone is worth the price of admission.

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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, starring Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Glenn Strange

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein

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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Glenn Strange,  Lenore Aubert, Jane Randolph

I admit to being a fan of both Abbott and Costello, as well as the Universal monster movies of the times. Thankfully, in this movie, both sides are treated respectfully and appropriately. The monsters are frightening, and act true to character, and are not caricatures used for a quick laugh. In the same way, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello play their normal, everyman characters. With Bud being the straight man, who is confused by his bumbling pal Lou’s success with two different beautiful women. Neither of whom is what they seem to be.

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Here Come the Co-Eds - Bud Abbott and Lou Costello

Here Come the Co-Eds

Here Come the Co-Eds  (1945) starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr.

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in a publicity photo for "Here Come the Co-Eds"In  Here Come the Co-Eds  Bud Abbott and  Lou Costello star as two down-on-their-luck individuals who find jobs as caretakers at Bixby College, which is facing bankruptcy. After winning a large sum of money in a wrestling match against the “Masked Marvel”.  Who was supposed to be their friend, McGurk, who was going to throw the match.  But McGurk’s replaced instead at the last minute by Strangler Johnson, played by  Lon Chaney Jr.   Despite Lou’s being outclassed, he wins in a fluke, and  Bud and Lou decide to help the school out by placing a large bet on the girls basketball team, who are massive underdogs.Read More »Here Come the Co-Eds

One Night in the Tropics - Bud Abbott, Lou Costello

One Night in the Tropics

DVD review of One Night in the Tropics (1940), the first Abbott and Costello movie, starring Bud Abbot, Lou Costello

By all rights, One Night in the Tropics shouldn’t be an Abbott and Costello movie at all.   It was a typical 1940’s romantic musical comedy, starring Allan Jones (perhaps most famous for  Showboat as well as his work with the Marx Brothers in  A Day at the Races and  A Night at the Opera), Bob Cummings and Nancy Kelly.   However, Universal Pictures had just put a pair of radio comedians under contract and wanted to give the pair, known as  Abbott and Costello, a small part in the movie as comic relief, to see how they would do.

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Abbott and Costello - the Complete Universal Pictures Collection

Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection

Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection – 15-DVD set

The  good  news is that is a compilation of all of  Bud Abbott  and  Lou Costello‘s movies made at Universal Pictures, including the newly-released  It Ain’t Hay, available for the first time on DVD.   Also, unlike the previous collection, each DVD is single-sided, as opposed to having different films recorded on both sides of the DVD.   The major ‘if’ with the collection, however, is:  if  you already own the previous collection, is it worth (at the time of this writing) $90 (U.S. dollars)?   Probably not; however, if you  don’t  already own it, then it’s definitely worth the price — at least if you’re a fan of Abbott and Costello; and I am!

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The Abbott and Costello Show - Bud Abbott, Lou Costello

The Abbott & Costello Show – The Complete Series Collectors Edition

The Abbott & Costello Show – The Complete Series Collector’€s Edition (1952) starring  Bud Abbott,  Lou Costello

Buy The Abbott & Costello Show - The Complete Series Collector'€s Edition from Amazon.com Abbott and Costello only had two seasons of their television show. In many ways, it set the stage for successful television comedies.   The Abbott & Costello Show – The Complete Series Collector’s Edition is a complete collection of all episodes, collected on 9 DVDs, remastered.

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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Buck Privates - Universal 100th anniversary collectors edition - swing it

Buck Privates

Abbott and Costello in  Buck Privates(1941), starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, the Andrews Sisters, Shemp Howard

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Buck Privates - Universal 100th anniversary collectors edition - swing it

Buck Privates,  starring  Bud Abbott and  Lou Costello, is the first movie that starred the comedy duo. In many ways, it is their funniest. In a nutshell,  Abbott and Costello are small-time con men who try to escape a police officer …. Only to enlist in the Army by mistake. Who turns out to be their drill instructor? None other than the police officer that they were trying to escape. The film contains some of their funniest moments. Including  Lou Costello becoming hopelessly confused during a drill  – it must be seen to be appreciated.

Publicity photo from Buck Privates, with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello peeling potatoes under Shemp Howard's supervision

Other characters include  Shemp Howard  (in a  pre-Three Stooges role) and the Andrews Sisters, singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” among others. A very patriotic film, based in America shortly before the U.S.A. entered World War II (1941).   Some of their best routines are found here, such as the classic you’re 40, she’s 10, and  Lou Costello explaining to Bud Abbott that 28 divided by 7 is 13 — €”a hilarious routine, that’€™s worth its’€™ weight in gold.

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Lou Costello and Bud Abbott in Newsweek 1940

Loan me 50 dollars

Abbott and Costello skit – Loan me 50 dollars

One of the classic  Abbott and Costello  routines, where Bud Abbott takes advantage of a common math mistake that we all make to fleece his pal, Lou Costello, out of all of his money.  The skit ends with a simple ‘read my mind’ routine that takes Lou’s last remaining bill.  This routine was done  many  times, both in the movies and their radio show.

Bud Abbott: Do me a favor, loan me $50.
Lou Costello: Bud, I can’t. I can’t loan you $50.
Bud Abbott: Oh, yes, ya can.
Lou Costello: No, I can’t. All I got is $40.
Bud Abbott: All right, give me the $40 and you’ll owe me 10  Read More »Loan me 50 dollars