Fade Out – Abbott & Costello


Episode 22 - Abbott & Costello's DANCE WITH ME, HENRY with special guest author Nick Santa Maria.

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

You can find FADE OUT on these podcast platforms:

This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK:

Thanks for listening!

18 responses to “Fade Out – Abbott & Costello

  1. I love Abbott & Costello! I’ve got the Universal Box Set of the movies they made for the studio, CDs and cassette tapes of some of their greatest routines and even a comic book based on the cartoon show. I’ve even got Rob and Chris’s A&C meet Frankenstein commentary saved on my phone. It’s amazing to me that there are people out there disrespecting them. If you don’t enjoy their stuff, that’s fine, but… why go after their legacy? Ridiculous.
    I grew up about 40 miles north of Boston MA, and we picked up WPIX out of New York. I watched it every afternoon. Anyone remember when they’d do a video game and a kid would have to call in and say “PIX” into the phone to blow up spaceships for prizes?
    Anyhow, I’ve finally got my brother to start watching Abbott & Costello movies, and he’s enjoying them. It’s a different kind of movie experience.
    It was great to hear from an expert. For years I’ve heard conflicting accounts of the history of Abbott & Costello. From how they met, when they met, who got paid more etc. Obviously, like a lot of history myth and legend has gotten confused with fact, and we’ll probably never have a 100% accurate history. That’s OK, because their movies and many of their routines are being preserved.
    The only movie on my top ten list that neither of you mentioned is Abbott & Costello Hit the Ice. This is my favorite after Meet Frankenstein. The scene where they’re in the gangsters hospital room, and they’re being mistaken for gunmen is just hilarious to me. It also has one of my favorite insults from Bud. When Costello is bragging about how he can fight off the bank robbers, Bud responds “You couldn’t whip cream with an outboard motor.”
    Thanks again for another great episode celebrating Classic Hollywood

  2. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for listening!

    I haven’t seen “Hit The Ice” in a while, there were just too many A&C movies to catch up on!

    After Nick mentioned it, it did occur to me times when I’ve heard/read someone dismiss A&C as shorthand for stupid or lowbrow. But, hey, they make me laugh!

  3. Oh boy, can’t wait for this one! Behind on my podcasts but this will jump to the top of the stack. Hoping for a Buddy Hackett strawberry malted reference.

    Just listened to the Warren Skaaren show the other day. I had never heard of him before but what a legendary career. You get the best guests, been meaning to get on here and leave you both kudos. Love this show, you are uncovering great stories and personalities. Thank you!

    Can’t imagine you have any time to listen to podcasts as you are making so many, but have you listened to Gilbert Gottfrieds?

  4. When I was a kid, there were two types of movies that my grandfather and I liked to watch together. One were the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films. The other were Abbott & Costello movies. It seemed like there was an Abbott & Costello movie on almost every weekend back then. As mentioned, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein seems like it is the only one that most people are familiar with these days. Thanks for bringing back some good memories!

    1. Thanks Jim! Tarzan movies were a big part of Channel 48 Philadelphia’s programming as well. I generally couldn’t tell any of them apart from one another.

  5. Great show and thanks we are doing western month on my YouTube channel Bucky749. And I totally for got about the wistful widow of wagon gap.
    till just now so thanks for reminding me .
    Also Africa screams and Abbott & Costello meet Frankenstein are the abbot and Costello movies I’ve seen the most . My bro loves the monster ones .

    1. Africa Screams is out of copyright, so it can be run by anyone, for free, which is why it’s available to every streaming service, even if they don’t have any other A&C films.

      1. Thanks mr . Rob for that information. Also what’s your favorite three stooges short . Just thought I’d throw a quick fast ball there .

  6. As usual, the show exudes passion. I don’t have a big history with A&C, but it’s not because I prefer L&H or anything. I guess the Marx Brothers are my guys in this style of comedy, but generally I prefer the silent era (Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd) to what came after. I don’t know if the “mean” relationship between Bud and Lou is really why A&C fell out of favor, because there sure are a lot of Three Stooges fans out there. Food for thought. For me, it was a surprise to hear A&C were “2nd class” comics since their names are ubiquitous, as is their most famous routine.

    Another celeb who probably likes A&C is Aaron Sorkin. He devoted a whole episode’s B-plot in Studio 60 to a character trying to explain comedy to his estranged dad by using Who’s on first.

    1. I didn’t know that about Sorkin! Makes sense when you think about it.

      True, the Stooges are mean to each other, but I think Lou Costello exudes a pathos that makes it a little harder (for some people) to see Bud be so mean to him.

  7. This may be my favorite episode yet. I have a new book to put on my want list for sure! But Rob was practically giddy, and I loved hearing that.

    I’m of course not an expert on the duo like Nick, or even Rob, but I never saw Abbott & Costello as “less than” any other comedians or comedy duos, so this is surprising. I know they were the top box office draw for several years in the forties, but I guess popularity doesn’t equate to “industry cred” in some cases. Of course my grandfather was HUGE fan of theirs, so that may have colored my perception over the years.

    Being a classic horror guy, their “Meet the Monsters” output is where my bread is buttered, but I’m slowly starting to watch more of their non genre-films. I will say that there’s one other scene in the immortal A&C Meet Frankenstein I’d probably cut or change: when Lou/Wilbur gets violent with the Wolfman (thinking it’s Bud/Chick), that undermines Chaney’s character just a bit. Other than that, the monsters are the monsters, and Bud & Lou just stumbled into a horror show, which is perfect.

    Svengoolie re-aired A&C Meet the Mummy (probably my 2nd favorite of the sub-series) this weekend. He’s helping to keep Bud & Lou relevant, and introduce them to new audiences, along with all the great (and not so great) horror films he shows.

    Even though I’ve never seen Dance with Me Henry, that bit at the end choked me up a bit. Sounds like a great way for the boys to segue off screen together.

    It does my heart good every time we go into one of the local movie theaters, and one of their snack combos is called “The Abbott & Costello”: One large popcorn, two large drinks. Cindy and I order it by name, every time.

    1. Thanks Chris! Yeah, I love it when Svengoolie runs one of the A&C films, because it keeps them alive for younger people.

      NGL, I really couldn’t wait to do this episode because I will not shut up about A&C. I wasn’t joking when I said I could have done three hours but I didn’t want to keep Nick busy all night.

  8. Shows like this make me missed the ‘shared experience’ this country used to have.

    For me it was Channel 38 out of Boston. Saturday mornings were the Blondie movies and the Tarzan movies. Sunday mornings were Abbott and Costello and the Three Stooges. My dad was a kid in the 40s and so we often watched these Sunday shows after church. (It often meant only seeing the end the A&C movies as our standard mass time interfered). It sounds very similar to the Philly experience.

    I love fast word play and puns so A&C will always win over Laurel and Hardy who I don’t really find funny. Charming? Yes. But funny?

    Anyways, great discussion, great lists. I have never seen Dance with me Henry, I will now seek it out.

    1. Yeah, I have seen every BLONDIE movie I think, but then never again. I wonder how they play nowadays.

      If I had a time machine, I think one of the stops I’d make would be to go back in time and watch a Channel 48 Sunday afternoon’s worth of programming, just to experience it again.

  9. Let me tell you how much I loved Abbott & Costello growing up. Not only did I have the original radio broadcast of “Who’s On First” on cassette, not only did I watch every one of their movies that came on TV, in High School a good friend of mine, Jim D’Zio (pronounced Dee-Zigh-Oh), performed “Who’s On First” during a talent show. (I did the Costello part because Jim has a much smoother delivery and I can do the annoyance/rage.)


    I’m a big fan of Abbott and Costello. But, I think the only movie of theirs I’ve seen is the one where they meet Frankenstein. I’m visually disabled, so I instantly think of them as Old Time Radio comedians. It is amazing that they had a career that spanned burlesque, radio, movies and TV.

    The first thing I did when I finished this podcast was download some episodes of their radio show and Lux Radio Theatre’s Buck Privates. I need to see if you’ve done an episode of Film and Water about Buck Privates.

  11. Hi. I listened to this episode awhile back and loved it. I’m writing now to say that I just finished reading Nick Santa Maria and Matthew Coniam’s “The Annotated Abbott and Costello” book and also loved that. I highly recommend it!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *