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Bud and Lou

Buddy Hackett and Harvey Korman

Bud and Lou (1978) starring Harvey Korman, Buddy Hackett, Arte Johnson

Bud and Lou is a TV movie. It’s a biography of the famous team of Abbott and Costello, from their initial pairing up to Lou’s death

Review of Bud and Lou

Many years ago I saw Bud and Lou live on television. It’s a biography of the famous team of Abbott and Costello, how they met, how they became huge stars, how they broke up. It stars some of my favorite actors, including Harvey Korman, one of the great TV clowns. I recently stumbled across it online, and watched it again.

The Good

  • The acting is excellent, without exception. All three of the main actors are clowns, who all turn in great performances.
  • The sets, costuming, etc. all look authentic to the time period.
  • One thing that was nice was dressing Bud and Lou in costume, according to whatever movie they were making at the time. For example, when Lou Jr. is born, Lou rushes to the hospital in costume for Pardon My Sarong.
  • They don’t shy away from addressing Bud’s epilepsy, or his self-medicating with alcohol.

The Bad

  • Although it’s titled Bud and Lou, it focuses primarily on Lou. And puts him in a very negative light.
  • They mention Bud’s wife. But she’s never seen. They don’t mention his children at all.
  • The only one of Lou and Anne’s children they mention is Lou’s son, Lou Jr. If this were the audience’s only information about Lou Costello, they’d be unaware that he & his wife had several daughters.
  • They skip over large sections of their life. For example, if all you knew about them was from this movie, you’d be unaware of their TV series and appearances.
  • They totally skip over Bud’s daily visits to Lou, when he was recovering from rheumatic fever.
  • They skip over Bud and Lou’s initial breakup, except to mention it in passing. The story of how they reconciled over the youth club, named after Lou’s dead son, is heartwarming, and really should have been included.

The Ugly

  • Frankly, it comes across as a hit piece against Lou Costello. He’s portrayed as an angry little man, at war with the world. A man who holds a grudge perpetually. Who never forgives anyone, for anything.
  • They take large liberties with multiple things. How Bud and Lou met, for example.

Conclusion

The acting in Bud and Lou is wonderful, but the script isn’t. I know that they only had 90 minutes to tell the story. But it’s simply told wrong. It omits crucial elements, and amplifies others.

Cast of Characters in Bud and Lou

  • Harvey KormanBud Abbott
  • Buddy HackettLou Costello
  • Michele LeeAnne Costello. Lou’s beautiful, loving wife. Whom the story turns into an estranged alcoholic.
  • Arte JohnsonEddie Sherman. Their manager.
  • Robert ReedAlan Randall. The thoroughly unlikable Universal Pictures executive. Who treats them both as pariahs. Even though they saved the studio from bankruptcy.

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