Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Lou Costello Boris Karloff

How time flies! Especially today, as I pay tribute to Lou Costello who was born 107 years ago today, on March 6, 1906.

While Stan Laurel is my favorite movie comedian of all time (and Laurel & Hardy my all-time favorite comedy team), within the realm of the "horror-comedy" genre, Abbott & Costello are the undisputed champs. A big reason for that is few comics could wring as much laughter out of being scared as Lou Costello.

Of course, Costello had the very good fortune to perfect his "scared routine" at the best possible studio: under contract to the "House of Horror" Universal Pictures, Lou got to cavort with such monster legends as Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Frankenstein Monster and the Mummy, plus a spin-off of the Invisible Man that was more mystery than horror, but still a nice nod to James Whales’ classic. As was "Hold That Ghost" with its "old dark house" (a la Whales’ "The Old Dark House"), phony ghosts and secret passageways.

Additional horror paces the studio put Costello through included nods to movie history in the form of the studio’s chief boogeyman Boris Karloff playing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well as a mysterious "swami" character in "Abbott & Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff" that resembled some of Karloff’s sinister mad doctor roles; and Margaret Hamilton matching wits with Costello as she played... what else?... a witch in "Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain!"

Here’s to you, Lou!

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