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The late great Lou Costello would have been 108 today. He died way too early, he was just 52 when he passed on March 3rd 1959.
Born Louis Francis Cristillo on March 6th 1906 and raised in Paterson, New Jersey, Lou Costello dropped out of high school and headed west to break into the movies. He got a job as a carpenter at MGM and Warners. He went from there to stuntman and then to vaudeville as a comic. In 1931, while working in Brooklyn, his straight man became ill and the theater cashier, Bud Abbott, filled in for him. The two formed their famous comedy team and, through the 1930s, they worked burlesque, minstrel shows, vaudeville and movie houses. In 1938 they got national exposure through the Kate Smith Hour radio show, and signed with Universal Pictures the next year. They debuted in One Night in the Tropics (1940).

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Their scene-stealing performances in that film landed them their own picture the next year, Buck Privates (1941), with The Andrews Sisters. It was a runaway hit, grossing what was then a company record $10 million on a $180,000 budget.

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Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jAcTJMPcKE

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In The Navy in 1941 was another big hit. Lou played Pomeroy Watson.

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Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUOpqnN5tVA

Hold That Ghost (1941)

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F82xYOsBd6k

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Keep Em Flying was the fourth release in 1941. 4 films in one year. Now that was a busy schedule. All around the 86 minute mark. All with similar themes. The slapstick, the comedian and the straight man. All lapped up by a war weary public.

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Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1peQ5iagq7s

The following year (1942) Abbott and Costello once again cranked out four films:

 Ride Em Cowboy (1942)

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YOlbsD4XA8

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Rio Rita (1942)

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Preview Clip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CbG8-yLWbE

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Pardon My Sarong (1942)

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Who Done It? (1942)

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yILcvT6RC4

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Just two films in 1943, Money for Jam (1943) and Hit The Ice (1943) then In Society (1944) and

Lost in a Harem (1944)

Clip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-CigziiZFw

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The Naughty Nineties (1945) cemented their genius.

This film unveiled one of the greatest ever “word” sketches in film history. Who’s on First is a clever, witty, engaging word play. If you’ve never seen it, watch because it’s genius.

Who’s On First Clip (with Japanese Subtitles)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8GYjpJapwk

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After the war their movies shifted formula to one in which they met various monsters or found themselves in exotic locations. This was the time of Abbot and Costello Meet….

and it started with Abbott and Costello Meet Frnkenstein (1948) Probably the best of the 8 “Meet” films (this is one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite films.

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Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR8yBW0xago

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Clip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88HW9wtz3F4

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In 1942 they topped a poll of Hollywood stars. They had their own radio show (ABC, 1941-46, NBC, 1946-49) and TV show (The Abbott and Costello Show (1952)).

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Next came Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff (1949)

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Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950)

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Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man (1951)

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Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUGrtJDdha4

Abbott and Costello Lost in Alaska (1952)

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Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952) How did they get the great Charles Laughton to appear in a slapstick comedy?

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Abbott and Costello Go To Mars (1953)

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Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27MQZ75rWTY

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1953)

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLmBsGQVC1U

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Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Cops (1955)

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Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)

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Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPmeEMWPMvI

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The team split up in 1957, with both winding up completely out of money after troubles with the Internal Revenue Service. After that Lou appeared in a few television shows and a final film on his own

The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock (1959)

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Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFJItlEFXE8

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Lou death

He had a This Is Your Life sprung on him in 1956. The pain in his face when they discuss the tragic death of his son is painful to watch. The phrase tears of a clown could have been written for him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAbIPO2rTkg

One of the greatest comedians of all time. Time to watch one of my DVD Box Set I guess.

DVD Box Set