Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fright Gigs

Happy Halloween, everyone! Do you have your pumpkins carved? Is your costume all ready to wear? Have you bought enough candy to satisfy tonight’s trick-or-treaters? Actually, that last concern may be mostly my own. Recalling a few stingy homeowners I had to deal with as a tyke, I like to give the youngsters who knock on my door fistfuls of candy, rather than single Baby Ruths, Butterfingers, or KitKats.

Last year on this date, I featured in The Rap Sheet a couple of spooky TV sitcom openers I remember fondly from my youth. Today, I’ll treat you instead to a quartet of trailers from Halloween-appropriate Abbott and Costello movies. Former burlesque entertainers Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were favorite weekend-afternoon film figures of mine growing up, and I still chuckle whenever I watch one of their old pictures. After World War II, they put together a popular series of slapstick horror movies in which they confronted fearsome monsters familiar from previous flicks. I remember those with special fondness.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, 1948:

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, 1951:

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1953:

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, 1955:

Although it’s not generally considered part of this series, Abbott and Costello also appeared in 1941’s Hold That Ghost. The film plot finds them among a small group of people abandoned by a thieving bus driver at a rural tavern, where a gangster’s loot is supposedly hidden. As the night wears on, the group come to believe that this groggery just might be ... haunted. In one of the funniest scenes in Hold That Ghost, a frightfully clumsy Costello performs a mime dance with future TV comedienne Joan Davis, set to Johann Strauss’ famous Blue Danube waltz, while an exasperated Abbott looks on:

READ MORE:Happy Halloween 2010!” by Mercurie (A Shroud of Thoughts); “I’m Crazy About Baseball,” by J. Kingston Pierce (The Rap Sheet).

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