Friday, April 15, 2016

Bud ABBOTT & Lou COSTELLO Africa Screams (1949) Plus: Colgate Comedy Hour, Sitcom, Hanna Barbera Cartoon, Who's On First?

BUD ABBOTT  (born William Alexander Abbott on October 2, 1895 in Asbury Park, New Jersey) and LOU COSTELLO (born Louis Francis Cristillo on March 6, 1906 in Paterson, N.J.)

The two burlesque comedians first worked together in 1935 at the Eltinge Burlesque Theater on 42nd Street, NYC; while regulars on the Kate Smith radio show (starting 1938), they gained fame in the Broadway review "The Streets of Paris" (1939) headlined by Bobby Clark and Carmen Miranda.  Lured to Hollywood by Universal Studios in 1940 to co-star in "One Night in the Tropics" starring Bob Cummings, they moved on to starring in their next film, the comedy classic, BUCK PRIVATES (1941), a military service comedy.  Bud and Lou made 36 films together between 1940 and 1956. They were among the most popular and highest-paid entertainers in the world during World War II.

AFRICA SCREAMS (1949) directed by Charles Barton which parodied the safari genre of the day (the title is a play on the title of the 1930 documentary Africa Speaks!)  It was filmed from November 10 through December 22, 1948 at the Nassour Studios in L.A.: and was was produced by A & P heir Huntington Hartford.  The film was the first one of the independently financed productions that Abbott and Costello made while they were under contract with Universal, and it was released by United Artists.  Africa Screams marked the first time that Abbott and Costello worked with Hillary Brooke and Joe Besser; both actors would later become part of the ensemble cast for the duo's television series The Abbott and Costello Show. The film also marked the only time that Shemp Howard and Joe Besser appeared together in a film; Besser would replace Howard as one of the Three Stooges following the latter's death in 1955.


In 1951, they moved to television as rotating hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour. (Eddie Cantor and Martin and Lewis were among the others.) Each show was a live hour of vaudeville in front of an audience, revitalizing the comedians' performances and giving their old routines a new sparkle.


For two seasons from late 1952 to early 1954, a filmed half-hour series, The Abbott and Costello Show, appeared in syndication on local stations across the United States. Loosely based on their radio series, the show cast the duo as unemployed wastrels. One of the show's running gags involved Abbott perpetually nagging Costello to get a job to pay their rent, while Abbott barely lifted a finger in that direction. The show featured Sidney Fields as the landlord of the rooming house in which they lived, and Hillary Brooke as a friendly neighbor who sometimes got involved in the pair's schemes. Other regulars were future Stooge Joe Besser as Stinky, a whiny child in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit played by the clearly adult Besser, Gordon Jones as Mike the cop, who always lost patience with Lou, Joe Kirk (Costello's brother-in-law) as Mr. Bacciagalupe, an Italian immigrant caricature whose role varied with the requirements of the script, and Bobby Barber, who played many "extra" parts


In 1966, Abbott voiced his character in a series of 156 five-minute Abbott and Costello cartoons made by Hanna-Barbera.  Lou's character was voiced by Stan Irwin.


"Who's on First?" is Abbott and Costello's signature routine. (They, however, usually referred to it as "Baseball.") The sketch was based on other burlesque routines with similar wordplay. Depending upon the version, Abbott has either organized a new baseball team and the players have nicknames, or he points out the proliferation of nicknames in baseball (citing St. Louis Cardinals sibling pitchers Dizzy and Daffy Dean) before launching the routine. The infielders' nicknames are Who (first base), What (second base) and I Don't Know (third base). The longest version is seen in "The Actors' Home," an episode of their filmed TV series, in which "Who's on First?" constitutes the second half of the program. A live performance commemorating the opening day of the Lou Costello, Jr. Youth Foundation was recorded in 1947.

"Who's On First?"


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I recently returned to school; as of yet I don't have a major, but I have had a lot of minors... I was accused of "statutory rape," but my lawyer got the charge reduced to "unlawful entry"... He argued, how can you call it "rape" if she was already dead?... When found in a skid row motel with a missing girl's corpse in the bed, it's best to tell the authorities that the room was like that when you checked in... As an international superstar I try to set an example by giving back to the world and consider my trolling tween chatrooms for confused and lonely girls with daddy-issues a vocation... I formed a charity to help promiscuous teenage girls- get their start... I'm single, but "carried a torch" for my ex just long enough to set fire to her new boyfriend's car... I don't regret one day of our relationship- it was a Thursday... I want a real skinny girl; not because I think it's sexy, but it's likely she'll have poor self-esteem or a drug problem (those chicks'll do anything!)... However, I am a sucker for big tits... My dream is to settle down with a woman with whom I can have a child she wont try to drown...