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(October 2004)

Abbott & Costello- Volume 2
Abbott & Costello Vol.2

Our founder, that old guy sitting over there in the corner drooling, is practically beside himself with pleasure again. Universal Studios, in their blessed generosity, have released, on DVD,

The Best of Abbott & Costello:

Volume 2 (1943-1947)- 8 More Funny Films!

  • Buck Privates Come Home | 1947 |
  • Here Come the Co-Eds | 1945 |
  • Hit the Ice | 1943 |
  • In Society | 1944 |
  • Little Giant | 1946 |
  • The Naughty Nineties | 1945 |
  • The Time of Their Lives | 1946 |
  • The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap | 1947 |
The Best of Abbott and Costello (Volume 2)
with eight, count ‘em, eight “fantastically funny films”.

This disc set contains a delightful fantasy where the boys, in an unusual setup, don’t play directly off each other. In The Time of Their Lives (1946) Bud, along with Marjorie Reynolds, is a Revolutionary War ghost falsely accused of treason and because of a curse that that ties him to the estate, he is still sitting in a tree as the 20th Century rolls around. Lou is Dr. Greenway and may be able to help the ghosts get free of their curse by locating a lost letter from George Washington that would clear their names. Much hilarity comes from Bud’s problems with invisibility and, using that same invisibility, his teasing and toying with Lou.

Hit The Ice (1943) is notable for the first pairing of the boys with director Charles Lamont. They hit it off so well that Lamont went on to direct them in seven more feature films. The most notable of the boys’ funny routines here is their “Alright” or Piano gag. Lou tries to help Bud impress a pretty girl by fooling her that Bud can play the piano. Lou hides behind the piano with a record player and every time Bud says ‘Alright’ Lou puts a record on of piano playing while Bud mimes playing the keys. It’s surprising and very funny how many times the expression ‘Alright’ comes up.

Hit The Ice was released in 1943. In November 1943 the US Marines were engaged in the Battle of Tarawa, the bloodiest amphibious assault of the war. Because of the trouble the Marines had getting landing craft across the reefs, and the grievous losses suffered by them there, the Navy/Marine Corps Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) were created for subsequent operations. Many years later the UDT morphed into today’s Navy SEAL Teams. This is not a complaint; the boys’ job was to entertain the home front, but just an observation – in Hit The Ice, a story of bank robbers, hospitals and the Sun Valley ski resort, the only reference to the war is early in the movie when ‘A’ and ‘B’ coupons are mentioned – a hint of the wartime rationing.

In In Society (1944) the boys are bumbling plumbers hired by an uppity socialite. In this movie the absolutely, fall-down hilarious “Susquehanna Hat Company” routine appears. Terrific interactions with a string of comedic performers bring this old vaudeville routine to vivid perfection. (“My husband wouldn’t have lost his life if he had been wearing a good hat when that safe fell out that 15-story building!”)

Here Come The Co-eds (1945) features “Phil Spitalny and his Hour of Charm All Girl Orchestra with Evelyn and her Magic Violin”. Bud gets a sweet romance with Peg Ryan as Patty. The do a charming Lou & Bud in The Naughty Ninetiessong & dance “Let’s Play House”. Lon Chaney Jr. (later famous as the Wolf Man) makes an early and funny appearance in this movie.

The Naughty Nineties (1945) is best remembered for having the complete Abbott and Costello “Who’s On First?” vaudeville routine. ‘Who’s on first, What’s on second and I Don’t Know is on third’ is without a doubt the best known and best loved of the boys’ routines.

Volume 2 covers the years 1943 to 1947. Universal has also released Volume 3 for the years 1948 to 1953. This third DVD set has eight more funny, funny films. Here we have some of the famous coupling of the boys with some of Universal's monsters. Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, Abbott & Costello Meet The Killer, Boris Karloff, and Abbott & Costello Meet The Invisible Man. Also included is one of our favorites Abbott & Costello in The Foreign Legion.

Thank you Universal, the old guy sitting in the corner is actually crying, he's so excited. Please dig into your humongous library of classic films- there’s a lot more to be seen. For example: Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948) with Edward G. Robinson and that singular beauty Gail Russell. Or The Mad Ghoul (1943) with George Zucco and Turhan Bey. Or Night Monster (1942) with Bela Lugosi. We would almost die to see all these on DVD. Click for more Abbott & Costello.

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