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Abbott & Costello

"Abbott & Costello Meet Captain Kidd"

Original Vintage Belgian Poster w/
Censors Stamp dated 1954

Biography for
Bud Abbott

Height
5' 8"
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Mini biography
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, and, in 1931 while cashiering at the Brooklyn theater, he substituted for comic Lou Costello's ill straightman. 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 the next year for their film debut in One Night in the Tropics (1940). Their 1941 movie Buck Privates (1941), with the Andrews Sisters, grossed what was then a company record $10 million, and in 1942 they topped a poll of Hollywood stars. They had their own radio show (ABC, 1941-6, NBC, 1946-9) and TV show (_"Abbott and Costello Show, The" (1952)). After the war their movies shifted formula to one in which they met various monsters or found themselves in exotic locations. The team split up in 1957 with both members completely out of money after troubles with the Internal Revenue Service. Abbott started over with a new partner, Candy Candido, in the 1960s but failed. In 1966 he did voice for a cartoon version of their television show.

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Spouse
'Betty Smith' (17 September 1918 - 24 April 1974) (his death); 2 adopted children

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Trivia

He was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean

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Salary
Rio Rita (1942) #75,000
One Night in the Tropics (1940) $17,500

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
Actors. (Bud Abbott-b. Oct. 2, 1895, Asbury Park, N.J., as William A. Abbott; d. Apr. 24
, 1974. Lou Costello-b. Mar. 6, 1906, Paterson, N.J., as Louis Francis Cristillo; d. Mar. 3, 1959.) The most successful comedy team of the 1940s, Abbott and Costello consistently made the yearly list of filmdom's top 10 moneymakers, and while their popularity among moviegoers waned during the 1950s, the boys won over new generations of fans with a TV series and endless reruns of their old movies.

Abbott-the tall, jowly, fast-talking straight man-was born to circus performers but didn't have much success breaking into show business himself until 1931 when, as a Brooklyn theater cashier, he filled in for Costello's usual straight man. The short, chubby Costello-a former newsboy, soda jerk, and salesman whose brief, late 1920s fling in Hollywood only got him some stunt and extra work (in, among others, the 1927 Laurel & Hardy comedy The Battle of the Centurydeveloped an instant rapport with Abbott. They subsequently worked together in burlesque, vaudeville, on Broadway, and on radio, polishing their act to a high gloss, before getting their first joint Hollywood opportunity in Universal's One Night in the Tropics (1940). Although they were only supporting players, they stole the show with their rapid-fire cross-talk routines (including the classic "Who's on First?").

Universal starred the team in a lowbudget 1941 comedy, Buck Privates its enormous (and unexpected) success convinced the studio they were bona-fide stars. In the Navy, Hold That Ghost, Keep 'Em Flying (also 1941), Ride 'Em Cowboy, Pardon My Sarong, Who Done It? (all 1942), It Ain't Hay, Hit the Ice (both 1943), In Society (1944), and Here Come the Co-eds (1945) followed. The films were short on characterization, but long on slapstick (mostly featuring the agile Costello) and beautifully timed patter routines (many of which were cleaned-up burlesque skits written or polished by their personal writer John Grant). MGM borrowed the team several times, for Rio Rita (1942, which saw the boys in roles taken by Wheeler & Woolsey in the 1929 original), Lost in a Harem (1944) and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Hollywood (1945), none of which achieved the suc cess of the Universal efforts despite significantly higher production expenditures.

A restless Costello prodded Universal to break their formula, and the studio started experimenting with The Naughty Nineties (1945), a period piece that included a reprise of "Who's on First?" Little Giant and the more successful The Time of Their Lives (both 1946) had
Bud and Lou working independently of each other. Subsequent films were hit-and-miss: The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap, Buck Privates Come Home (both 1947), a sequel to their first hit, The Noose Hangs High (1948), released by Eagle-Lion but produced at Universal (and a remake of a little-known studio B picture from 1939, For Love or Money Then someone concocted Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). The blend of comedy and horror (with Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man on hand) was just right, and the film propelled Bud and Lou back to the top of the box-office heap. Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949), Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953, also costarring Karloff), and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) utilized the same format, albeit with progressively diminishing results.

None of the team's other starring vehicles-which included Mexican Hayride (1948, a curiously disemboweled version of a hit play with Cole Porter music), Africa Screams (1949), Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950), Comin' Round the Mountain (1951), the kiddie-oriented Jack and the Beanstalk, Lost in Alaska, Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (all 1952), Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953), Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops (1955), and Dance With Me, Henry (1956)-was particularly noteworthy. By this time their popularity had been eclipsed by the younger, wilder team of Martin and Lewis.

They still proved potent on TV, however, on "The Colgate Comedy Hour" (1951-54) and "The Abbott and Costello Show" (1952-54), in the latter performing many of the routines originally written for their films. The team split up in 1956 and Lou, who reportedly harbored solo starring ambitions for years, top-lined the mediocre The 30-Foot Bride of Candy Rock just before his death in 1959. Abbott, a lifelong epileptic whose steadily deterio rating health finally sent him to a nursing home, was reduced to poverty after the IRS nailed him for back taxes. He loaned his voice to a 1966 series of Abbott and Costello animated cartoons.

Biography for
Lou Costello

Height
5' 3"
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Mini biography
After finishing high school Lou worked 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 straightman 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 (I) Hour radio show, and signed with Universal the next year for their film debut in One Night in the Tropics (1940). Their 1941 movie Buck Privates (1941), with the Andrews Sisters, grossed what was then a company record $10 million, and in 1942 they topped a poll of Hollywood stars. They had their own radio show (ABC, 1941-6, NBC, 1946-9) and TV show ("Abbott and Costello Show, The" (1952)). After the war their movies shifted formula to one in which they met various monsters or found themselves in exotic locations. The team split up in 1957 with both members completely out of money after troubles with the Internal Revenue Service. After that Lou appeared in a few television shows and the movie 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The (1959), released the year he died.

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Spouse
'Anne Battlers' (1934 - 3 March 1959) (his death); 3 children

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Trivia

Founded the Television Corporation of America production company which produced "Abbott and Costello Show, The" (1952) and "I'm the Law" (1953).

Children, with Battlers, Carole, Patricia, Lou Jr.

(1942) His only son, Lou Jr, tragically drowned just days before his first birthday

Father of Carole Costello (I).

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Salary
Rio Rita (1942) $75,000
One Night in the Tropics (1940) $17,500

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
Actors. (Bud Abbott-b. Oct. 2, 1895, Asbury Park, N.J., as William A. Abbott; d. Apr. 24, 1974. Lou Costello-b. Mar. 6, 1906, Paterson, N.J., as Louis Francis Cristillo; d. Mar. 3, 1959.) The most successful comedy team of the 1940s, Abbott and Costello consistently made the yearly list of filmdom's top 10 moneymakers, and while their popularity among moviegoers waned during the 1950s, the boys won over new generations of fans with a TV series and endless reruns of their old movies.

Abbott-the tall, jowly, fast-talking straight man-was born to circus performers but didn't have much success breaking into show business himself until 1931 when, as a Brooklyn theater cashier, he filled in for Costello's usual straight man. The short, chubby Costello-a former newsboy, soda jerk, and salesman whose brief, late 1920s fling in Hollywood only got him some stunt and extra work (in, among others, the 1927 Laurel & Hardy comedy The Battle of the Centurydeveloped an instant rapport with Abbott. They subsequently worked together in burlesque, vaudeville, on Broadway, and on radio, polishing their act to a high gloss, before getting their first joint Hollywood opportunity in Universal's One Night in the Tropics (1940). Although they were only supporting players, they stole the show with their rapid-fire cross-talk routines (including the classic "Who's on First?").

Universal starred the team in a lowbudget 1941 comedy, Buck Privates its enormous (and unexpected) success convinced the studio they were bona-fide stars. In the Navy, Hold That Ghost, Keep 'Em Flying (also 1941), Ride 'Em Cowboy, Pardon My Sarong, Who Done It? (all 1942), It Ain't Hay, Hit the Ice (both 1943), In Society (1944), and Here Come the Co-eds (1945) followed. The films were short on characterization, but long on slapstick (mostly featuring the agile Costello) and beautifully timed patter routines (many of which were cleaned-up burlesque skits written or polished by their personal writer John Grant). MGM borrowed the team several times, for Rio Rita (1942, which saw the boys in roles taken by Wheeler & Woolsey in the 1929 original), Lost in a Harem (1944) and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Hollywood (1945), none of which achieved the suc cess of the Universal efforts despite significantly
higher production expenditures.

A restless Costello prodded Universal to break their formula, and the studio started experimenting with The Naughty Nineties (1945), a period piece that included a reprise of "Who's on First?" Little Giant and the more successful The Time of Their Lives (both 1946) had Bud and Lou working independently of each other. Subsequent films were hit-and-miss: The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap, Buck Privates Come Home (both 1947), a sequel to their first hit, The Noose Hangs High (1948), released by Eagle-Lion but produced at Universal (and a remake of a little-known studio B picture from 1939, For Love or Money Then someone concocted Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). The blend of comedy and horror (with Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man on hand) was just right, and the film propelled Bud and Lou back to the top of the box-office heap. Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949), Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953, also costarring Karloff), and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) utilized the same format, albeit with progressively diminishing results.

None of the team's other starring vehicles-which included Mexican Hayride (1948, a curiously disemboweled version of a hit play with Cole Porter music), Africa Screams (1949), Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950), Comin' Round the Mountain (1951), the kiddie-oriented Jack and the Beanstalk, Lost in Alaska, Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (all 1952), Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953), Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops (1955), and Dance With Me, Henry (1956)-was particularly noteworthy. By this time their popularity had been eclipsed by the younger, wilder team of Martin and Lewis.

They still proved potent on TV, however, on "The Colgate Comedy Hour" (1951-54) and "The Abbott and Costello Show" (1952-54), in the latter performing many of the routines originally written for their films. The team split up in 1956 and Lou, who reportedly harbored solo starring ambitions for years, top-lined the mediocre The 30-Foot Bride of Candy Rock just before his death in 1959. Abbott, a lifelong epileptic whose steadily deterio rating health finally sent him to a nursing home, was reduced to poverty after the IRS nailed him for back taxes. He loaned his voice to a 1966 series of Abbott and Costello animated cartoons.

These Items are FOR SALE to knowledgeable Collectors. Please ask all questions of provenance before purchase. Items are only exchangeable if autographs are not authentic.

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