Abbott and Costello - Television

Television

In 1951, they moved to television as rotating hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour. (Eddie Cantor and Martin and Lewis were among the others.) Each show was a live hour of vaudeville in front of an audience, revitalizing the comedians' performances and giving their old routines a new sparkle.

Beginning late in 1952, a filmed half-hour series, The Abbott and Costello Show, appeared in syndication on local stations across the United States. Loosely based on their radio series, the show cast the duo as unemployed wastrels. One of the show's running gags involved Abbott perpetually nagging Costello to get a job to pay their rent, while Abbott barely lifted a finger in that direction. The show featured Sidney Fields as their landlord, and Hillary Brooke as a friendly neighbor who sometimes got involved in the pair's schemes. Other semi-regulars were future Stooge Joe Besser as Stinky, a 40-year-old sissy dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit, and Gordon Jones as Mike the cop, who always lost patience with Lou.

The simple plot lines were often merely an excuse to recreate old comedy routines including "Who's on First?" and other familiar set pieces from their films and burlesque days. Since Lou owned the series, this allowed them to own these versions of their classic routines as well. The Abbott and Costello Show ran two seasons, but found a larger viewership in reruns from the late 1960s to the 1990s. The shows have been released in three different DVD sets over the years.

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