Tag Archives: Shemp Howard

Classic Hollywood #20

Abbott and Costello – 1943 In The Navy

Abbott Costello In The Navy

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.