Disc News: Who's on The Abbott and Costello Show?

Hey Abbott! When the comedy duo Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were coming to the end of their movie career, the duo made the leap to the small screen. Their half hour Abbott and Costello Show adapted their most famous routines into the sitcom format. Now all 52 episodes have been collected into The Abbott and Costello Show: The Complete Series – Collector’s Edition with numerous bonus features that should thrill fans of the “Who’s On First” icons. Here’s the press release from E1:

“These are the guys that made me fall in love with the idea of being funny.”
-Jerry Seinfeld

— Named One of the “100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME” by Time Magazine —
— Named One of the “100 Greatest TV Shows” by Entertainment Weekly —



Digitally Restored and Re-mastered, This Exclusive, Fully-Authorized, Custom-Packaged Set Features all 52 Episodes on 9 DVDs ($59.98 SRP), a 44-Page Photo-Filled Book and Over Three Hours of Bonus Features Including a TV Retrospective Hosted by Milton Berle, a Classic Routines Reel, Lou Costello’s Rare Home Movies and Much More!

PORT WASHINGTON, NY – One of the greatest comedy teams in the history of show business, Abbott and Costello shared a magical chemistry that would take them from the burlesque stage to radio, Broadway, Hollywood and finally… to television. This March, fans of classic comedy and TV on DVD will share laughter and applause as E1 unveils THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW: THE COMPLETE SERIES – COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Digitally restored and re-mastered, this exclusive, fully-authorized 9-DVD collection features all the hilarious skits and ingenious wordplay that made the duo legends, including their trademark “Who’s on First?” routine. In stores on March 30, the custom-packaged set features 22-plus hours of comedy, a 44-page book and over three hours of bonus features – all for the suggested retail price of $59.98.

Beginning in 1952, the filmed half-hour series The Abbott and Costello Show appeared in syndication on local stations across the country. Loosely based on Bud and Lou’s popular radio series, the show cast the duo as unemployed actors, perpetually looking for work while struggling to pay back rent to Sidney Fields, their often frustrated landlord. Other fan-favorites/recurring characters included the elegant Hillary Brooke, the belligerent Mike “The Cop” Kelly (Gordon Jones), the malevolent and child-like Oswald “Stinky” Davis (Joe Besser) and the ever-gainfully employed immigrant entrepreneur Mr. Bacciagalupe (Joe Kirk).

From “Who’s on First?” to “Niagara Falls,” from “Mustard” to “The Lemon Bit” – all of Bud and Lou’s classic routines were incorporated into The Abbott and Costello Show. The two seasons that were produced from 1951-1953 (52 episodes in all) remain a permanent record of burlesque comedy – preserving some of the most treasured skits of American oral tradition. Frequently cited as an inspiration for Jerry Seinfeld’s own hit series, The Abbott and Costello Show was named one of the “100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME” by Time Magazine in 2007 and one of the “100 Greatest TV Shows” by Entertainment Weekly in 1998.

THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW: THE COMPLETE SERIES – COLLECTOR’S EDITION features a 44-page commemorative book outlining the history of the series with background essays by Abbott and Costello historian/expert Ron Palumbo, an introduction by Lou Costello’s daughters Chris and Paddy Costello and archival documents and photos – as well as a complete episode guide. Also supplementing the package is a set of four exclusive black & white photo postcards taken from the original publicity photography for the series.

The collection’s over three hours of bonus features include the “Hey Abbott!” 1978 TV retrospective, hosted by Milton Berle and featuring contributions by Steve Allen, Joe Besser and Phil Silvers; an Abbott and Costello Show Season One classic routines reel; rare home movies from the Lou Costello family archive (1942-1953); the restored 1948 short film “10,000 Kids and a Cop” (documenting the philanthropic work of the Lou Costello Jr. Youth Foundation); and interviews with Chris and Paddy Costello.

Allowing home audiences to relive the immortal, inimitable comedy of one of the most popular comedy teams of the twentieth century, THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW: THE COMPLETE SERIES – COLLECTOR’S EDITION is sure to be a hit with generations of fans for years to come… but the excitement doesn’t end there! Coinciding with this highly-anticipated DVD release, E1 Entertainment will bring “The Abbott and Costello Show” to digital distribution for the first time ever – presenting all 52 episodes of the series on iTunes, Hulu and other platforms. Additionally, six classic sound bites from the show will be made available as ringtones that each can be individually downloaded to cell phones for one low price.

Street date: March 30, 2010
Genre: TV
SRP: $59.98
Running Time: 22 hrs. + extras
Format: DVD/9 Discs

Available at Amazon.com.