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The Bootleg Files: Knights of the Bath

BOOTLEG FILES 690: “Knights of the Bath” (1951 short film consisting of footage from the 1944 Abbott and Costello comedy “In Society”).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The material is copyright protected.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

Beginning in the 1930s, a company called Castle Films was a dominant force in the nontheatrical home entertainment market. In the decades before video technology, movie lovers would purchase either a projector and watch their favorite Hollywood films in the comfort of their homes. However, the Super 8, 8mm and 16mm formats did not easily support feature-length films, and the productions were often edited down to fit the reels being sold to the public. In many cases, certain sequences would be excised from the larger works and sold as standalone pieces, usually for one-reel or two-reel exhibition.
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The Colgate Comedy Hour: Abbott & Costello – The Christmas Show (1952)

Originally airing on December 14, 1952 for the Colgate Comedy Hour, Abbott and Costello get to celebrate Christmas with the viewing audience and have a raucous time doing so. As with all Abbott and Costello comedy, the show moves at a rapid fire pace with consummate professionals Bud Abbott and Lou Costello having an impossible time staying still and taking a breather. Despite some segues here and there which were very typical of variety shows in the height of their popularity (there’s a wonderful dance routine by the Nicholas Brothers). Lou Costello is brilliant at reaction shots and double takes, and Bud Abbot is a wonderful straight man and foil. Also like skilled comedians, they make the best out of flubs.

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Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)

It’s pretty crummy that Abbott and Costello don’t get to do much with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In fact you have them in a movie with Boris Karloff who doesn’t get to do much to spook them beyond his monster mask, and you have the pair of knuckleheads that almost play second banana in their own movie. In fact, they don’t really show up until twenty minutes in to the movie, and their entrance smacks of sloppiness and lack of ideas. The pair should have memorable introductions, and yet here their characters Tubby and Slim are only in the story by circumstance.

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

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I honestly can’t think of a better film where the opposite spectrum of film come together so seamlessly, it’s absolutely flawless. Abbott and Costello were always that comedy pairing that could walk in to any situation and find themselves in peril, but teaming them with Universal monsters is a gamble. It’s one that thankfully pays off in to one of the funniest horror comedies of all time. While I tend to like “Hold that Ghost” a little more, “Meet Frankenstein” is spectacular just the same.

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Our Top Five Comedy Teams

With the release of the big screen remake of “The Three Stooges” coming soon to theaters, we’re anxiously awaiting the audience reaction to this attempt at reviving the old team. Will audiences and critics be accepting of this effort? Or will it bomb out big time? Nevertheless, watching three modern actors attempt to capture the magic of the Three Stooges got us to thinking about some of our favorite comedy teams of all time and we compiled a list of five our favorites that we continue to visit time and time again in film and television.

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