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Private Eye

Lou Costello handcuffed to Bud Abbott in "Private Eye"

Private Eye, The Abbott and Costello Show season 2, originally aired February 20, 1954

In Private Eye, Lou receives his diploma and private eye gear from “The Watchdog Correspondence School.” Then he and Bud help a young girl locate $50,000 of bonds hidden inside her eccentric uncle’s spooky mansion. But her cousin, who was disowned, tries to scare them off.

Private Eye Act I

Private Eye begins with a proud Lou Costello receiving his Private Eye diploma in the mail — along with a variety of items from “The Watchdog Correspondence School” to go with it. After 8 weeks of study, he’s received a Private Eye badge, a police whistle, a gun, and a set of handcuffs. He accidentally shoots Bud Abbott’s hat off with the gun! Then, he handcuffs the two of them together. To make matters worse, the key is accidentally thrown into a large hole in the wall. Which Lou makes larger, trying to retrieve the key. Then, he lights one of Bud’s matches, trying to see it. And accidentally starts a fire in the wall! Lou accidentally soaks landlord Sid Fields when he runs in with a fire extinguisher!

Outside the apartment, Lou gets in trouble with his whistle — when a young man beats him up for whistling at his girlfriend, Olga! Then there’s aa funny bit as Lou’s trailing a suspicious character — very closely!

Lou Costello trailing a suspicious character in "Private Eye"

Private Eye – Act II

In the boarding house, the lovely young lady Dot has a problem. She’s inherited her grandfather’s fortune, but it’s hidden in his “crazy” house. So police officer Harry suggests Private Eye Lou! It turns into a haunted house sketch, with sliding panels, a guy pretending to be a painting, etc. Lou and his pal Bud eventually find the bonds, and knock themselves out when trying to exit, ending the episode.


  • Lou accidentally shooting Bud’s hat off his head
  • Lou accidentally handcuffs himself & Bud together — and the key’s accidentally thrown into a hole in the wall
  • Getting in trouble with his new detective kit whistle — punched for “whistling” at a pretty young lady
  • Trailing a suspicious character

Cast of characters


  • Lou becomes a detective after reading the book “How to Be a Private Eye” by Professor Lou Asker. That was the name of the TV series’ property master. 
  • This episode aired in 1953 during the height of the 3-D craze in movie theatres. During one scene, Lou Costello puts on a pair of 3-D glasses he pulls out of his suit coat while looking at a man in a picture frame and says “Isn’t that 3-D amazing?”

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