CMBA’s Laughter is the Best Medicine blogathon: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

The wonderful silliness of the ‘Abbott and Costello Meet…’ series of films is an absolute joy to behold! And because this is still Horror Month, I thought I would combine the two, comedy and horror, for the second Classic Movie Blog Association blogathon of 2021, Laughter is the Best Medicine, and talk about Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948, dir. Charles Barton)!

The plot is very simple: at a railway station, baggage clerks Chick Young (Abbott) and Wilbur Grey (Costello) receive a call from Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) about a shipment for something called McDougal’s House of Horrors. Talbot then turns into the Wolf Man, obviously, and Wilbur thinks the whole thing is joke. But when McDougal asks for the shipment to be personally delivered to his wax museum, Chick and Wilbur come across a horror movie scenario, involving Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Frankenstein’s monster (Glenn Strange) and a whoooole lot of misunderstandings.

Filled with hilarious one-liners, slapstick moments and a heavy dose of dramatic irony, this was the first in a series of movies in which the beloved comedy duo meet several of the Universal monsters and boy, did it start something great! Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is a hodgepodge of pop culture references, increasingly absurd situations and familiar horror and comedy tropes which, amazingly, work incredibly well together. Weirdly, Costello supposedly didn’t like the script at all, saying his child could have written something better, but later changed his mind when director Charles Barton was added to the project. Boris Karloff, on the other hand, refused to play the Monster again, but agreed to promote the film instead, which was nice of him. Luckily, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr were on board! It’s actually amazing that this whole thing even happened in the first place. A genius idea, I have to say. Click on the link above for more Laughter is the Best Medicine entries!

17 thoughts on “CMBA’s Laughter is the Best Medicine blogathon: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

  1. mikefilmbuff

    I love the abbot and Costello movies and routines. I never get tired of the “ who’s on first” routine. I haven’t seen this movie in awhile but love it when Lon Chaney says to Lou “ Lou, you got to help me. At midnight I turn into a wolf”. Lou replies” yeah , you and a million other guys”.😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know, Carol, I’ve been sitting on a 24-movie boxset of Abbott & Costello for some time now. Every time I read a review like yours, I ask myself why I haven’t dug into it yet. These guys were insane and hilarious, which is a fitting combination! 😀 I can see how this would be a lot of fun, especially since both Chaney and Lugosi were so good at “playing it straight”.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The “Abbott and Costello Meet…” series is a lot of fun, like you said. These films don’t take themselves seriously, and they seem to wink at the audience. I never saw their escapes with Frankenstein, but thanks to you I’ll be checking it out soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This film brings back a ton of wonderful memories and it’s ALWAYS fun to watch. I remember as a kid when they were going to play this on TV on a Saturday afternoon, we were all excited. Neighbourhoods would empty as we rushed home to watch it. It’s impossible not to love it. Wonderful write-up Carol!

    Liked by 1 person

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