Tag: Abbott and Costello

AWR0110: Request Performance (Easter Old Time Radio)

Amazing World of Radio

Dick Powell hosts a variety featuring Abbott and Costello and an Easter sketch starring George Raft.

Original Air Date: April 21, 1946

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AWR0085: Here’s to Veterans: Eve Arden and Abbott and Costello

Two post-war episodes of the Veteran’s Administration sponsored program Here’s to Veterans featuring Eve Arden and Abbott and Costello.

Abbott and Costello Meet the Internet

One popular genre of YouTube videos is the reaction video which involves watching someone react to a TV episode or other YouTube video that they’ve not previously seen. If they’re reacting to a TV episode, the video will usually only show the highlights of them reacting, but a longer video will have the entire video played in a box window next to the reactor.

I was surprised to stumble across half a dozen videos reacting to Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine that have been posted in just the last few months, with most having positive impressions of the routine, and a few of them have gone on to react to other classic Abbott and Costello bits.

I’ve watched several of these videos and what makes them fun is it gives me an opportunity to remember what it was like to see this classic routine for the first time. It’s also great to see people from a younger generation who are outside the typical demographic for classic comedy enjoying Abbott and Costello at their best.

It speaks to how well their material holds up. Their routines relied less on topical humor or ethnic jokes of many comedians of the day and more on physical humor, clever wordplay, and of course Costello’s characterization and Abbott’s timing. They offer a style of comedy that still appeals to many modern day viewers, but for which there’s really no modern day source.

In short, if the reaction videos prove anything, it’s that nearly sixty years after Lou Costello died, the team is still able to win over new fans.

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AWR0009: Abbott and Costello Christmas

Amazing World of Radio

Lou goes hunting for Christmas presents. In the Sam Shovel sketch, Sam encounters a young shoplifter on Christmas Eve.

Original Air Date: December 23, 1948
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Radio’s Most Essential People Countdown: #65-#61

Previous Posts: 70-6671-75, 76-80, 81-85, 86-90, 91-95, 96-100

65) Harry Bartell

Harry Bartell is another one of those amazing character actors. His winning personality made him the perfect genial spokesmen for Petri Wines on the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the Casebook of Gregory Hood. On the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, in particular, he achieved a great level of chemistry with co-star Nigel Bruce making the commercials and intros worth listening to. He also was the longest serving of the six Archie Goodwins on the New Adventures of Nero Wolfe with Sidney Greenstreet. He was the green Young Lieutenant Lieutenant Siberts on Fort Laramie. He was Captain Merriweather Lewis in NPR’s Horizons West. However, beyond his known roles, Bartell was a true character with more than 10,000 radio appearances. Many of these appearances were on some radio’s most well known programs. The Digital Deli gives the tale of the tape:

* 180+ appearances in Gunsmoke
* 60+ appearances in Escape
* 15+ appearances in Advs. of Philip Marlowe
* 30+ appearances in Dragnet
* 20+ appearances in Let George Do It
* 45+ appearances in Suspense
* 96+ appearances in Johnny Dollar
* 60+ appearances in Have Gun, Will Travel

With so many vital roles in great radio franchises, Bartell was truly essential. Further, he remained an active ambassador for the godlen age of radio, appearing at OTR conventions, and even appeared in some new radio dramas with Jim French’s productions in Seattle.

64) Cathy Lewis-Cathy Lewis was another well-used radio character actresses. She had recurring roles on programs like Michael Shayne Private Detective with Wally Maher, My Friend Irma, and The Great Gildersleeve. Perhaps, her most well-known program was the series On Stage in which she starred with her then-husband Elliot. She was invaluable as a character actress, making numerous appearance on anthology programs like Suspense, Romance, and The Whistler. With more than 3000 appearances, Cathy Lewis’ place as one of radio’s most important women is well-earned.

Abbott and Costello63) Abbott and Costello-Abbott and Costello’s style of comedy left an indellible mark on radio. They began their radio career in the early 40s, becoming regulars on the Charlie McCarthy show before landing their own show for Camel in 1942. However, their career on the radio was interrupted when Lou Costello was hit with rheumatic fever and forced into nine months of bed rest. Then on the day Costello was to return to radio, his infant son Lou Jr. drowned in a swimming pool two hours after Costello had been playing with him. Costello had promised Lou, Jr. that he would hear him on the radio. Jimmy Durante among others offered to fill in for Costello, but Costello insisted on going on, writing later, “I wanted to do that show so that my voice would go on the air with the hope that Lou Jr. might hear it wherever he was.” Abbott and Costello would star in the Camel Program on NBC until 1947 when would jump to ABC for their final two seasons. During their ABC run, the duo also hosted the Abbott and Costello Kids Show which served as an outgrowth of the Lou Costello Jr. Youth Foundation which sought to honor good citizenship among kids . In addition, with the heyday of the hard boiled private eye, Costello introduced his own parody in the form of the Sam Shovel sketches.

With limited  opportunities for physical comedy, Abbott and Costello weren’t as good over radio as they were in visual mediums, but they were good enough so that fans still crave their radio antics as part of the legacy of these comedy legends who enjoyed success in Vaudeville, Radio, Movies, and Television, making them perhaps the greatest comedy team of all time.

62) Rudy Vallee

Vallee was the first of the great crooners, setting the table for those who would follow such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. He was the leader of his own orchestra, the Connecticut Yankees. He was also a radio pioneer as one of the first variety show hosts with the Fleischmann Yeast Hour in 1928.  Vallee would host similar variety programs for more than 20 years and give radio listeners an early look at such stars as Kate Smith and Burns and Allen.

61) Don Ameche

Don AMecheAmeche’s radio career was one of many highlights. He became a regular star on the Chicago based soap Betty and Bob in the early 1930s, one of radio’s earliest soap operas.  He also served as the long time host of the Chase and Sanborn Hour which featured Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. He played the role of John Bickerson the male half of radio’s constantly fighting couple, and perhaps paradoxically played the lead in the first episode of The Family Theater.  In addition, Amerche also served as the announcer on the Jimmy Durante Show in its final days. Based on his numerous achievements, he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1992.

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