Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950)

In the 1940s and 1950s, the popular comedy team of Abbott and Costello made several movies that spoofed the classic Universal horror films of the 1930s. The premise of these pictures was the same, with Abbott and Costello “meeting” Hollywood’s classic monsters.

In the sharply uneven comedy of 1945, Abbott and Costell in Hollywood, directed by S. Sylvan Simon, the couple plays a barber and a porter, nountering all kinds of colorful personalities, some playing themselves, like Lucille Ball, who was not a popular star then, Preston Foster, and MGM director Robert Z. Leonard.

As directed by Charles Lamont (who aso helmed Abbott and Costello Go to Mars), Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, posits the comedians against a brutal officer, well played by Walter Slezak. The sight of the duo in the harsh desert allows for some funny moments, but no more in what is clearly a routine, quickly shot enterprise.

In Abbott and Costello Go to Mars,  their 1953 vehicle, one of the weaker of the comedians, go to space in the company of gangsters escaping from prison. The first sight the see upon landing in Venus are sexy, minimally dressed women (by standards of the 1950s, of course).

You can spot the boxomy Anita Ekberg, who would become an internationa sex icon, especially after appearing in Fellini’s masterpiece, L Dolce Vita.

The direction of the film by Charles Lamont is pedestrian, but the entire tale runs only 76 minutes.

Read below for a better vehicle of the popular team.

In Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), directed by Charles Barton, and one of their best, Abbott plays Chick Young and Costello is Wilburn Grey, railway porters who deliver the “undead” bodies of Frankenstein’s Monster (Glenn Strange) and Dracula (Bela Lugosi) to a wax museum where the corpses are revived.

Awakened, Dracula decides to replace the catatonic Monster’s brain with dim-witted Costello’s because it would make the beast easier to control.  As Lawrence Talbot, Lon Chaney Jr. tries to help the team, but at night, when there is full moon, he turns into a Wolfman.

The movie, in black-and-white, was a huge box-office hot, encouraging Universal to launch a whole series of films.
Chick Young (Bud Abbott)
Wilbur Grey (Lou Castello)
Lawrence Talbot/The Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.)
Dracula (Bela Lugosi)
The Monster (Glenn Strange)
Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert)
Joan Raymond (Jane Randolph)
McDougal (Frank Ferguson)
Dr. Stevens (Charles Bradstreet)
Harris (Howard Negley)
Produced by Robert Arthur
Directed by Charles Barton
Screenplay: Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo, John Grany (based on the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley)
Camera: Charles Van Enger
Editor: Frank Gross
Music: Frank Skinner
F/X: David Horsley
Running time: 83 Minutes