My all-time favorite old school comedy act is the Marx Brothers with a close second being Buster Keaton. But it seems Bud Abbott and Lou Costello somehow escaped my attention, except when I was a kid at grandma's laughing at the classic Who's On First, and then later at the video store where I worked (David’s college years, folks) enjoying Hold That Ghost and Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. That’s about it, even though I’ve had Volume 3 of their movie collection sitting on the shelf for quite awhile. I finally decided it was time to catch up on this famed duo.
The Best of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Volume 3 contains eight movies from 1948-1953. I started with Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff. The boys work at a hotel where a guest is murdered and suspicion falls on Costello the bellhop and for good reason—bodies begin piling up in his room at a side-splitting alarming rate. Abbott plays the hotel detective who is only a tad smarter than his friend the bellhop and tries to clear him regardless of the evidence that is stacking up against his innocence. Boris Karloff does well playing it straight as a hypnotizing swami who attempts to convince Costello to off himself. Many other fine supporting characters you’ll immediately recognize come together for a classic Ellery Queen style whodunit.
The funniest scene for me was Abbott and Costello urgently trying to rid themselves of the bodies and at one point they set two stiffs up at a card table for a game of poker. Interestingly, every scene with a corpse was removed prior to distribution in Australia and New Zealand, and Denmark went so far as to ban the film completely.
I can't say I laughed a lot at this film but several scenes like corpse poker brought big chuckles and I’m looking forward to watching the other films in this collection which include Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Mexican Hayride, Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Comin’ Round the Mountain, Lost in Alaska, and Abbott and Costello Go to Mars.