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Old 03-21-2006, 08:51 AM   #1
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TV Bud Abbott

New post by Mark Evanier:

Anyway, one of the things I find interesting about watching those two guys at work is that Bud Abbott's contribution goes so unnoticed. Everyone thought Lou Costello was the guy who did all the heavy lifting in that team and that Abbott was getting an enormous free ride. But you can see it in this clip if you watch carefully: It's Abbott who's running things. Costello is getting the laughs and pulling focus and it's all about him...but Bud's the one who keeps driving the routine forward. A couple of times, Costello bobbles the words and Abbott is right there to get things back on script.

In burlesque and vaudeville, it was traditional for the straight man in a comedy act to get paid more than the comic. Part of that was because the straight man was usually expected to dress well and to do other emcee duties...but part of it was because it was recognized that he had the harder job. When Abbott and Costello teamed, that's how it was -- Bud got 60%, Lou got 40% -- and it stayed that way 'til they got big and Costello insisted on a change. Thereafter, the percentages were reversed. This was probably fair in the sense that audiences loved Costello and were generally indifferent to Abbott...but appearances can be deceiving. The more I watch Abbott and Costello, more conscious I am that Abbott contributed just as much to their performances

To watch the film clip, click: www.newsfromme.com
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Old 03-21-2006, 09:43 AM   #2
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Many people would gravitate to Costello but I always saw what Abbott was about. Not only was he funny, smart, but handsome as well. When I was younger I would focus on Costello more but as i got older I saw the beauty that was Abbott. They were a team and could understand why Abbott should get his 60%....

Later on they should've gotten 50-50%...... for both men contributed alot to their success.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:48 PM   #3
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From what I understand it was Lou's insistance that Bud get paid more.

He was quoted saying that anybody can be the foil but good Straight Men were hard to come by!!!!
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Old 03-21-2006, 07:43 PM   #4
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According to Chris Costello's 1981 biography of her father (aptly titled "LOU'S ON
FIRST"): the contract's percentage breakdown was: "ten percent for Edward Sherman [their manager]; forty and one-half percent for the account of Bud
Abbott; and forty-nine and one-half percent for the account of Lou Costello."
(Note: these figures pertain only to the films in which the team participated in
the profits; namely "Buck Privates," "One Night in the Tropics," "In the Navy,"
"Hold That Ghost," "Keep 'Em Flying," "Pardon My Sarong," "It Ain't Hay,"
"Who Done It," "Hit the Ice," "In Society" and "Ride 'Em, Cowboy.")

By the way, Lou Costello "owned the Abbott & Costello television show out-
right," says Chris Costello. "So, in order for him to also become owner of all
the material used in their movies, he included the old routines in the television
series. There was nothing Universal could do about it."
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Old 04-05-2006, 06:12 PM   #5
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Default Yes, that's right...

Lou DID own and produce their filmed series (with brother Pat as Executive Producer), and he DID manage to own virtually every one of their famous routines from those Universal films....and most of their radio and stage bits
they performed over the years, as well [including the burlesque classics "Fluegel Street" and "Slowly I Turned"]....AND, from "THE COLGATE COMEDY HOUR", the famous "rubdown" sketch, first televised in 1951.
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Old 04-06-2006, 06:55 PM   #6
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Moe Howard once claimed that A & C stole the "Slowly I Turned" (or "Niagara
Falls" routine) from The Three Stooges. He also claimed that Lou Costello's
screen persona was swiped from Moe's brother Curly. Re the latter, I can see
some similarities, but Lou developed the character further. Curly was more of
a caricature; Lou's character was fleshed out better.
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Old 04-07-2006, 01:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tv star collector
New post by Mark Evanier:

Anyway, one of the things I find interesting about watching those two guys at work is that Bud Abbott's contribution goes so unnoticed. Everyone thought Lou Costello was the guy who did all the heavy lifting in that team and that Abbott was getting an enormous free ride. But you can see it in this clip if you watch carefully: It's Abbott who's running things. Costello is getting the laughs and pulling focus and it's all about him...but Bud's the one who keeps driving the routine forward. A couple of times, Costello bobbles the words and Abbott is right there to get things back on script.

In burlesque and vaudeville, it was traditional for the straight man in a comedy act to get paid more than the comic. Part of that was because the straight man was usually expected to dress well and to do other emcee duties...but part of it was because it was recognized that he had the harder job. When Abbott and Costello teamed, that's how it was -- Bud got 60%, Lou got 40% -- and it stayed that way 'til they got big and Costello insisted on a change. Thereafter, the percentages were reversed. This was probably fair in the sense that audiences loved Costello and were generally indifferent to Abbott...but appearances can be deceiving. The more I watch Abbott and Costello, more conscious I am that Abbott contributed just as much to their performances

To watch the film clip, click: www.newsfromme.com
in a book I have about their movies, it says that Bud Abbott could have been a good comic actor on his own if he choose to go that route. That's evident in the movie "The Time of Their Lives"-the one where Cosstello played a ghostom the 1700s and Abott played a modern-day (well, 1940s modern ; since that's when it was made!) phsyciatrist (hope I spelled that right)
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Old 04-10-2006, 02:52 PM   #8
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Default Moe Howard claimed a lot of things...

...but "Slowly I Turned" is one of the most venerable chestnuts in burlesque
(even "I LOVE LUCY" presented a variation of it in "The Ballet" episode).

Bud Abbott had TWO chances to prove himself a good "straight" actor in 1946when he and Lou "split up" and worked separately in "The Time of Their Lives" (Bud as psychaitrist) AND "Little Giant" (Bud as devious underhanded executive)....and a 1961 episode of "G.E. THEATER" [CBS] called "The Joke's On Me", with Lee Marvin (Bud's final acting appearance). Yes, he had potential...
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