Sunday, July 25, 2010

August 21, 2009: Abbott & Costello Meet the Creature from the Black Lagoon

The high-quality horror-comedy was born when Abbott and Costello first encountered Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, and the Wolf Man in 1948. There had previously been funny horror movies (particularly those by James Whale) and mediocre horror-comedies like King of the Zombies and The Ghost Breakers, but Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein was the first one to get the formula right. It was genuinely funny and boasted Universal's best and brightest ghouls. It also opened the door to a genre that would include future classics such as Young Frankenstein and Shaun of the Dead, as well as a series of Abbott & Costello Meet... pictures on which the duo rode out the rest of their cinematic career. That they weren't crazy about ...Meet Frankenstein did not stop Bud Abbott and Lou Costello from having similar encounters with Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the Invisible Man (who had a brief cameo in ...Meet Frankenstein), the Killer (Boris Karloff), and the Mummy. Released in 1955, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy was the guys' final feature film, so they never got the chance to goof around with Universal's last classic monster, who made his debut a year earlier. Thus, we never got a chance to see a movie called Abbott & Costello Meet the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but they did encounter the dreaded Gill Man in a sketch on TV's "Colgate Comedy Hour" on February 21, 1954. I'm glad to say that, unlike so much early television content, this sketch has survived and can be viewed here in its entirety. Enjoy!

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