Home Television Comedy Abbott and Costello Show, The

Abbott and Costello Show, The

1 9 5 2 – 1 9 5 4 (USA)
52 x 30 minute episodes

Stage and screen comedians Bud Abbott (born William Abbott) and Lou Costello (born Louis Francis Cristillo) brought their routines to television in a half-hour situation comedy series that was first released in 1952.

The Abbott and Costello Show revived many of the duo’s most successful skits, such as the celebrated “who’s on first?” and “moving candle” routines, that had already made them famous on radio and in films.

Co-starring with Bud and Lou on the show was blonde screen beauty Hillary Brooke, who played herself as the boys’ neighbour. Hillary’s sophisticated demeanour and classy English accent made her a perfect foil for the team’s zany, low-comic style.

Also appearing as regulars on the show were the tall, full-figured actress Joan Shawlee, the short, bald comedian Bobby Barbar, Costello’s real-life brother-in-law Joe Kirk (as Mr Bacciagalupe), Gordon Jones (as Mike the cop), Joe Besser (as mischief-maker Stinky Jones), comedians Sid Fields and Milt Bronson, and Bud and Lou’s pet chimp, Bingo.

Filmed at the Hal Roach lot in Hollywood where Laurel and Hardy had created their masterpieces 20 years earlier, the series depicted Abbott and Costello as out-of-work and down-at-heel actors living together in a Los Angeles apartment house called The Fields Rooming House, run by their irritable, cigar-chewing landlord, played by Sid Fields.

Many of these regulars left the show after the 26th episode when the show began to feature more structured situation comedies after exhausting most of their vaudeville sketch material and pretty much every worthwhile routine from their 38 movies.

Even though only 52 episodes were ever made, the show stayed on the air in the US for over 50 years in almost constant re-runs.

The Abbott and Costello partnership broke up in 1956, reputedly on amicable terms. Two years later, however, Abbott sued Costello, alleging that he was being denied his share of the money ($222,666) made from the TV series.

In 1967, an animated Hanna-Barbera cartoon version of The Abbott and Costello Show appeared on television, with Abbott providing his own voice. Unfortunately, Lou Costello had passed away seven years before the cartoon series was released so his voice was provided by Stan Irwin.

Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Sidney Fields (Landlord)
Sid Fields
Hillary Brooke
Mr Bacciagalupe
Joe Kirk
Mike The Cop
Gordon Jones
Stinky Jones
Joe Besser
Bobby Barbar