Friday, May 28, 2010
ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET PETER LORRE
Before Abbott & Costello became the top moneymaking movie stars of the early 1940s, they were a hit on radio. First as featured performers on the Kate Smith Show and then as the stars of their very own radio show, Bud and Lou’s renowned patter routines, honed for years on the stage were tailor made for the radio and they became huge stars on the airwaves. Inevitably this success led to their lucrative movie contract with Universal Studios, but the duo actually continued the radio show for several years into their movie career (and of course TV would later beckon, which along with their earlier conquests of burlesque, vaudeville and Broadway made Abbott & Costello among those esteemed stars to conquer multiple mediums).
On January 13, 1944 the team met one of our favorite boogeymen, Peter Lorre of “Arsenic & Old Lace,” “You’ll Find Out” and “The Boogie Man Will Get You” fame (oh, and a couple other little films like “M” and “Casablanca,” not to mention the classic “Mr. Moto” movie series). The skit, where Bud and Lou visit Lorre’s sanitarium at midnight is more black comedy than out-and-out horror-comedy but it does play upon Lorre’s sinister image and along with at least one other radio show episode ("Bela Lugosi's Haunted House" co-starring guess who) plus episodes of TV’s “Colgate Comedy Hour” and “The Abbott & Costello Show” provide interesting additional contributions to the horror-comedy genre (beyond their feature films) from Bud & Lou. Here’s the skit for your enjoyment: