Abbott & Costello With Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy
When I was growing up there were only seven television channels to choose from in New York City. Many weekend mornings I found myself laughing at the antics of Abbott and Costello on WPIX, channel eleven. A lot of other kids at that time shared that love for the fast-talking comedy duo.
Not just their movies were shown, but also the Abbott and Costello TV show was broadcast regularly as well. If today’s generation knows anything about Abbott and Costello, it is almost certainly their famous “Who’s On First” baseball skit. Unfortunately Abbott and Costello and their wordplay humor are fading into history.
But if Abbott and Costello have faded, then ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his puppet Charlie McCarthy are forgotten. Continue reading →
In general I have found that women do not find Abbott and Costello to be funny. Maybe they are an acquired taste.
What is interesting about this particular scene from their 1943 hit movie In The Navy, is that their co-star Shemp Howard (on left) was a member of another stalwart comedy team, The Three Stooges.
Shemp was the real life brother of Moe Howard and Curly Howard. Shemp appeared in Stooges films with Moe and Larry Fine after Curly suffered a stroke in 1947.
While Abbott and Costello may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they saved their studio, Universal from bankruptcy and were among the top ten box office attractions from 1941 until 1952.
Something people may not realize is that as the straight man, Bud Abbott got the lion’s share in a 60-40 split of the team’s revenue. This was the traditional arrangement among comedy teams. The reason being was that a good straight man was harder to find than a comedian and Abbott was considered among the best in the business.
One of the things that drove Lou Costello crazy was when people would come up to him on the street, praise him and then say, “can I please have your autograph Mr. Abbott.” This merely confirmed to Costello that he was the star of the act leaving him feeling that he should have been billed first and the name of the team should have been Costello and Abbott.