in the 1950s!
Lou Costello’s daughter Chris
Louis Francis "Lou" Costello (right)
The team's first big motion picture,
The Abbott and Costello Show ran for
Costello was surprised by Ralph Edwards
Best 1950s TV Shows on DVD
Lou Costello’s daughter
The incredible DVD set of the 1952-1954 sitcom “The Abbott and Costello Show” (A&C) is another example of the DVD industry getting around to releasing lesser-known very good shows. The opportunity to watch well-restored versions of this program and great extras that included many home movies of Lou Costello and his family was a special treat.
The chance to interview Lou’s daughter Chris was an exceptional bonus. Chris is best known as the author of “Lou’s on First,” which is a loving but realistic biography of her father. One great aspect of this book is that Chris interviewed numerous friends and co-stars of her father for it.
I remember watching after-school reruns of A&C, and the comprehensive booklet that the DVD set includes shares that Jerry Seinfeld watching the same reruns roughly 250 miles from me inspired him to create his own classic sitcom.
The numerous similarities between A&C and “Seinfeld” include Seinfeld borrowing the technique of performing plot-related material on stage at the beginning and the end of each episode, basing the rotund sad sack George Louis Costanza on the Lou Costello character, incorporating clever word play into episodes, and having the action center around a group of eccentric urbanites.
A&C also incorporated later clichéd sitcom plots, some of which received loving tributes on “Seinfeld.” These included having to spend the night in a haunted house to inherit money, a handful of get-rich-quick schemes, a vacuum cleaner demonstration going horribly awry, and an accidental tax refund.
I asked Chris if she knew why her father and Abbott chose the premise of two unemployed actors sharing a small apartment in a boarding house over a more traditional premise, such as being neighbors or partners in a retail store. She stated that she did not know the reason for that decision but commented that “their characters in general are as two buddies, one of whom is a little dumber than the other.” This is an excellent description both of the show and the actors’ personas.
In discussing both the show and Abbott’s and Costello’s careers on the family, rather than more risqué blue, burlesque circuit, Chris mentioned that Seinfeld’s praise for A&C included the fact that it helped preserve “Who’s on First” and the other classic Abbott and Costello routines that were incorporated into the program.
One of my favorite bits from the series involved Abbott bringing Costello to a finance company to get him “a loan.” A frustrated Costello could not understand why he had to go out for that reason because he and Abbott were “alone” at their apartment.
Chris was also unsure why her father was not among the scores of stars who appeared on “I Love Lucy.” She did say that Costello and Ball were friends, that she used to play with Lucie and Desi Arnaz, Jr., and that Ball helped Chris’ mother plan her 10th birthday party.
I almost fell on the floor laughing when Chris added that her mother dragged her out of the room when Chris asked Ball if her famous vibrant red hair was her natural color.
Chris additionally provided the spot-on observation that the DVD set of A&C “will be known as one of the most complete compilations of a series.” In addition to the features that are mentioned at the beginning of this article, Chris reminded me that the set includes a re-mastered version of the documentary “10,000 Kids and a Cop” about the enormous youth center that Costello established as a memorial to his son who drowned at the age of one.
Chris further made me aware of a terrific “Friends of Abbott and Costello” cruise that is sailing out of Boston in October 2011. Her description of the chance to visit with her and her family and to attend Abbott and Costello centered events sounds very fun.
I would love to hear from other Abbott and Costello fans; my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video Vault / Holiday Specials / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the Seventies / The Eighties / TVafterparty / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
1950's TV Shows / Fess Parker & Davy Crockett / Jack Benny Program / 1952 Olympics Telethon / Amos 'n' Andy / Little Rascals & Our Gang / Howdy Doody / The Lone Ranger / Abbott & Costello TV Show / The Three Stooges: The Where They Were / The First 'Black' Show - Beulah / Women on TV in the 1950s / The Today Show / TV's First Rerun Series / The Ken Murray Budweiser Show / Saturday Morning Serials / Two Variety Shows of the Fifties / Game Shows of the Fifties /1950's TV Wrestling / Mr. Adams and Eve / TV's First Star / History of the Laugh Track / The First Interactive Video Game / Designing Winky-Dink / The McKimson Brothers & Animation / Interview with a Show Business Legend / The Soundies / Snaders Telescriptions / Steve Allen Interviewed / Racket Squad / The Big Show / Beverly Garland & Decoy / Roger Muir / Noel Coward's 1955 TV Special / 1950's TV Shows on DVD / 1950's Old Time TV Thanksgiving / Outrageous 1950's Commercial! / The Real Superman? / Mickey Mouse Club's Cheryl / Gale Storm / Captain Allen Swift / NYC's St. Patrick's Day Parade Telecasts / The Goldbergs / 1950's Female Singers / The Dead End Kids / Bowery Boys / Fred Allen / Ed Wynn / Mr. Belvedere Movies / Art Linkletter / The Bickersons / Marty & Live TV / George Gobel & Red Buttons / Barbara Billingsley / Billy Gray Interview / Abbott & Costello Show / The Honeymooners / Three Stooges' Joe Besser / Whirlybirds / Burns & Allen Show
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / North Carolina Actors / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / Gay Icon T-Shirts / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|