Jail – The Abbott and Costello Show, season 1, episode 3, originally aired December 19, 1952
Jail – Lou shoots a hole in Mrs. Crumbcake’s water pail, and she sues him for 79 cents in damages. After an inept defense, Lou’s sent to jail. While in jail, he comes to blows with a crazed cell mate, who becomes enraged at the mere mention of “Niagara Falls.”
After an introduction, with the “greenhouse” routine, Lou gets what he thinks are free samples from Mr. Bacciagalupe. But, he wants to be paid! Lou, of course, has no money. Mr. Bacciagalupe decides to get even by hitting Lou with a pie …. But he ducks, and Mike the Cop gets it in the face!
A young lady is so offended by Lou … she gives him her name, address, and card! Then, another woman comes out and starts beating him with her umbrella! Finally, Lou makes his way to the back yard, where he’s going to plant the greenhouse flowers. The lovely Hillary Brooke is sunning herself there, and asks Lou to rub oil on her back. After, he starts gardening … And soaks poor Hillary with the garden hose! And, with an angry Hillary’s help, a neighbor and Mike the Cop as well!
To make up with Hillary, Lou goes to pick some oranges from the tree for her. But they keep disappearing, so he fires at the “crows” in the trees. But it’s their neighbor, Mrs. Crumbcake! Since the orange tree hangs over the wall into her yard, she’s entitled to the oranges. Bud makes a joke about a fat man’s belly hanging over the bar, but she’s undeterred. But Lou’s perforated her bucket! It will cost only 79 cents to replace …. But Bud insists on seeing his lawyer first!
So, Bud takes Lou to see his attorney, Mr. Sidney (played by Sid Fields). After some joking around, with an atrocious pun about “putting on the writs”, he takes Lou’s case. At Bud’s insistence. Rather than just paying the 79 cents to Mrs. Crumbcake. Talk about going broke while saving money …
In the courtroom, Mr. Sidney gives such a terrible defense, you’d think he’s actually the prosecutor. And Lou Costello doesn’t help matters any, when he takes the Judge’s order to “take thee stand” too literally! And speaking of the judge …. Lou suggests that the case should be dismissed, since Mrs. Crumbcake didn’t even bother to show up in court. The judge takes offense, at the implication that anything less than justice will be served. Or his name isn’t Judge Henry Q. Crumbcake! To nobody’s surprise, Lou’s convicted. But all he has to do is pay the 79 cents! But Bud and Mr. Sidney won’t hear of it, so off he goes to jail!
Once in the jail cell, Lou Costello has a cellmate — a derelict, also played by Sid Fields. He says to Lou, “I wasn’t always a derelict — like you.” Do you want to hear my story? No, Lou replies. Then, I’ll tell you!
This leads into a reenactment of the Slowly I Turned routine, which Bud and Lou did previously as Poko Moko in Lost in a Harem. Indeed, the entire episode has been leading up to this point. Whenever Lou says “Niagara Falls” — or the derelict trick him into saying it — the derelict goes into a rage, assaulting Lou! But finally Bud comes by …
The good news is, Lou is now a free man. The bad news is, he now owes the inept Mr. Sidney $300.79. The 79 cents, of course, was paid to Mrs. Crumbcake! But Lou manages to get a bit of revenge, by introducing Mr. Sidney to his newest client — the derelict. And he’s sure to say “Niagara Falls”!
At the end of the episode, Bud and Lou are on stage, and Lou is preparing to do the “Niagara Falls” bit on Bud …. Until Bud slaps him back to his senses, and the episode ends.
Abbott and Costello routines
- Bud Abbott (Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein) … Bud Abbott
- Lou Costello (Hold That Ghost) … Lou Costello
- Hillary Brooke (Abbott and Costello meet Captain Kidd) … Hillary Brooke
- Sid Fields (Mexican Hayride) … Mr. Sidney / Prisoner (as Sidney Fields)
- Gordon Jones (My Sister Eileen) … Mike Kelly
- Joe Kirk (Abbott And Costello Go to Mars) … Mr. Bacciagalupe
- Iris Adrian (Road to Zanzibar) … Lady with Umbrella
- Robin Raymond (The Vacuum Cleaner Salesman) … Young Lady
- Stanley Andrews … Judge Henry Q. Crumbcake
- Elvia Allman (The Birthday Party) … Mrs. Crumbcake
- Abbott: I’m going across the street to that greenhouse to buy some more.
Costello: You’re going to that greenhouse? Where?
Abbott: Across the street there.
Costello: That’s a white house over there.
Abbott: That’s a greenhouse.
Costello: How can that white house be a green house?
Abbott: That is! The greenhouse.
Costello: How can it be a green house if it’s painted white?
Abbott: What is the difference of how it’s painted? If it was painted red, it would still be a greenhouse.
Costello: You mean if that house was painted red, it would be a green house?
Abbott Well, sure.
Costello: Suppose it was painted blue.
Abbott: It would still be a greenhouse.
Costello: Let me smell your breath.
Abbott: In my days, men never fought with women!
Mrs. Crumbcake: In your day, men with too busy fighting with the Indians!
- Mr. Sidney: I promise I’ll get you out of jail …
Lou: That’s good.
Mr. Sidney: … the moment your sentence is up!
- Bud: I want you to walk out of here with clean hands!
Lou: I listen to you, I’ll be all washed up!
- Mr. Sidney: I’m taking advantage of the insanity clause!
Lou: What’s Santy Claus got to do with it?
- Mr. Sidney: I appeal to you, my boy. I appeal to you as a man!
Lou: You don’t even appeal to me as a woman!
- Thirty days has September, April, June, and Lou Costello!
- Lou: Hey Abbott! You gotta get me out of here! The place is crawling with rats!
Bud: What are you worried about? I’m here.
Lou: It’s the little ones that bother me.