Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: Abbott and Costello Show

As a kid growing up, I watched a lot of Abbott and Costello movies.  I've come to find out that there's really only one good one but as a kid, they all seemed like quality entertainment.

About 4 years ago, I found the radio show by the boys. I've listened to each one and I think I have a good grasp of the show.

I'm not sure you'd put the duo in the 'juvenile' category, but it's darn close to being there - at least in 2012.  It probably wasn't that way in the 1940's (and later on television.)  But things change.

I probably don't have to tell you this, but Bud Abbott was the duo's straight man.  He was tall and thin and quick and snarky and needless to say, he was all business.  Lou Costello was a pear-shaped, active, silly, elastic, lunatic who provided all the machine gun crazy stuff.

They were better in the films and on television, where you could see them.  On the radio though, their material worked too.  It just wasn't as strong.

Their jokes and puns were pretty corny.  They weren't the corniest people on the radio but they were up there.  I remember Milton Berle doing a very brief parody of them and he 'murdered' them.  It was eye-opening, because their corny humor (which I somewhat enjoy and always have) all of them sudden sort of died that very day that I heard the parody.

At any rate, Abbott and Costello will always be mentioned when people talk about comedy teams.  They aren't in the same class as Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen or Fibber McGee and Molly, but they do rank somewhere near the 1940's Three Stooges, in my mind (it's hard to beat the 1930's Three Stooges.)

The radio show isn't horrible it's just corn, corn and more corn.  Not the corniest.  Not the worst.  It's good, clean fun.  It's GREAT for kids.  It's fast and loud.  It's Abbott and Costello.


  1. I too enjoyed their tv appearances and films as a kid. Not so much now. I do not care to watch or listen to them now in contrast to Laurel and Hardy. Laurel and Hardy are still funny to me.

  2. Laurel and Hardy are very funny and it's just pretty much slapstick. Amazing how that holds up so well, 70-80 years later!

    I still don't mind watching Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein - the one really good film they made.

    1. A+C Meet Frankenstein is a great film by any standard in my book. It manages to be faithful to the Universal monster saga while integrating the comedians into their world. I've said before that I think the duo are brilliant and their show's wordplay often borders on genius. I also disagree with Laurel and Hardy but I do so respectfully, knowing full well their place in comedy history. Personally, I find them annoying and never had a single chuckle from them.

  3. It is interesting that films originally intended for adults (not to the exclusion of kids, though), became Saturday morning kid's fare a little over two decades later. I still like to watch the movies. I agree that the radio show is corny but there are usually one or two good jokes in each episode.

  4. @bmj2k - I think the film is funny because despite the craziness going on around them, the monsters do their roles as seriously as they did in their original roles!

  5. @Brendan - A&C radio show is mostly fun... it's not a great show but it's consistently fun.


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