Abbott &Costello Essay, Research Paper

In 1931, at Empire theater in New York City, Lou Costello and his crew grew worried that they would not be able to find a replacement for his straight man who became ill and was unable to perform. Fortunately, a fellow by the name of Bud Abbott was working the box office at the theater and offered to substitute. These two men performed so well together that Abbott played straight man to Costello?s buffoon from then on.

William ?Bud? Alexander Abbott, the clown in the straight man /clown relationship, was born on October 6, 1897 in Asbury park, New Jersey. Being born to a theatrical family, Abbott worked in carnivals while still a child and dropped out of school in 1909. He worked as assistant treasurer for the Casino Theater in Brooklyn, then as treasurer or manager of various theaters around the country. He worked as straight man to vaudeville performers such as Harry Steepe and Harry Evanson while managing the National Theater in Detroit.

Louis Francis Cristillo was born on March 6, 1906 in Paterson, New Jersey. Lou Cristillo became Lou Costello after the actress Dolores Costello. It was Ms. Costello

who advised Lou to hone his craft and then helped him make connections in Hollywood to further his career. After finishing high school Lou worked as a carpenter at MGM and Warners. He went from there to be a stuntman and then to vaudeville as a comic.

These two were very successful during the 1950s. To further display their burlesque wares on the live stage, which was always home to the boys,

NBC welcomed Abbott & Costello to its new hour long live variety show, THE COLGATE COMEDY HOUR, as guest hosts. Debuting on January 7, 1951, Bud and Lou boosted the show’s ratings as they brought the Abbott & Costello staple routines, including “Who’s On First.” In 1956, one year before the release of their last film together, “Dance With Me Henry,”(1956) and their official (and amicable) split, Bud and Lou were brought together on THE STEVE ALLEN SHOW before a live nationwide viewing audience. The emotion was further heightened when unbeknownst to both men, Steve Allen announced the induction of Abbott & Costello and their Gold Record of “Who’s On First” into the World-famous, BASEBALL HALL OF FAME in Cooperstown, N.Y. Many are not aware that Abbott & Costello are the first non-baseball playing celebrities ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. During the 50s they also made A&C In The Foreign Legion (1950), A&C Meet The Invisible Man (1951), Comin’ Round The Mountain (1951), Jack And The Beanstalk (1952), A&C Meet Captain Kidd (1952), Lost In Alaska (1952), A&C Go To Mars (1953), A&C Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1954), A&C Meet The Keystone Cops (1955), A&C Meet The Mummy (1955), The 30 Foot Bride Of Candy Rock (Lou Costello; 1958).

All through out their lives they spent much of their time making people laugh.

Their style of comedy helped lift the morale of the American public during World War II.

Unfortunately, it could not last forever. Costello died in 1959, and Abbott soon passed away in 1974. Today, their comedy continues to generate a whole new legion of fans around the world.


Work Cited

The Families of Abbott and Costello. The Lives of Abbott and Costello During the 1950s. 5 Oct. 2000

Selmer, Mark. Personal Interview. 5 Dec. 2000

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