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Abbott and Costello meets Bugs Bunny, Lucille Ball (1943)

For your listening pleasure today, a classic recording of the Abbott and Costello radio show from November 18th, 1943. This one features guest stars Bugs Bunny (Mel Blanc) and Lucille Ball. In this episode, Lou goes to extremes trying to score a pair of nylon stockings… and if you listen carefully might also hear Elvia Allman, Iris Adrian or maybe Sidney Fields.

(Thanks, Mark Trost)

  • Jorge Garrido

    Older than the internet.

  • John

    Mel Blanc was always on the Jack Benny radio show as well. Later on he was Jacks Benny’s his TV show too.

  • An interesting broadcast.

    I found myself paying much more attention to (and laughing at) the Bugs Bunny segments than any other. I’m guessing that’s just because I am much more familiar with Bugs’ style of humour than Abbott and Costello’s.

    It kinda says something about the longevity of the Looney Tunes shorts though, that I can relate to them fairly easily, but not a radio show from the same era.

    • Paul N

      Probably says more about your familiarity with both Bugs and A&C than the longevity of the LTs

      • David Breneman

        Actually, it says more about the fact that Abbott and Costello weren’t particularly funny, even in their day, as my grandfather could attest. “‘Who’s on first?!’ What’s so funny about that?!” He was right. They went through the motions of comedy, but style isn’t substance.

      • Scarabim

        Abbott and Costello were very funny in most of their movies – particularly “Buck Private”, “Hold That Ghost”, and “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”. Their comedy holds up considerably better in their cinematic efforts; in their radio patter, admittedly less so.

  • Paul N

    You don’t have to listen hard to hear Sidney Fields – he was a regular cast member in nearly all of Abbott & Costello’s projects.

  • i always found that the cartooned A&C (the WB ones from the 40s…not those godawful 60s ones) were far funnier than the real A&C. Thank you for the radio clip, tho. I had never heard Bugs “on the radio!”

  • mark

    the Mt. Olympus of ’40s-’50s comedy

  • I miss entertainment

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Me too. It sorta died by the end of the last century.

      • The subsector of comedy isn’t quite dead. But it’s been reduced to three main points:

        1) It’s funny to make your characters jerkasses—the jerkier, the better.
        2) It’s funny to make your characters idiots—the stupider, the better.
        3) It’s funny when one media property references another; extra points if it mocks it in the process.

        None of these points is entirely untrue. But as the main source of all wit, they reduce the genre to what it was in 1915.

      • Scarabim

        **1) It’s funny to make your characters jerkasses—the jerkier, the better.
        2) It’s funny to make your characters idiots—the stupider, the better.**

        Too true. It’s amazing how many cartoon producers adhere to the above formulas, even though they have led to the downfall of Fairly Oddparents, Fanboy and Chum Chum and Planet Sheen, just to name a few. Not that anyone’s shedding any tears…

        As for Abbott & Costello, they have to be seen, and not just heard, to be fully appreciated.

      • The Gee

        “The subsector of comedy isn’t quite dead. But it’s been reduced to three main points:”‘

        Someone once told me the difference between american humor and european humor is that in Europe comedy is more likely to involve putting a person in a funny situation and that contrasts with the American trend of mainly making fun of the person.

        I’m sure that isn’t 100% right, but it ain’t entirely wrong.

        I do think that comedy in 1915 was probably a bit broader than you are giving it credit for. So much of the problem with humor and comedy is that by the late 20th Century there was just so much that had been made, courtesy of just the invention of recording (comedy albums, animated catoons, movies, radio shows, etc). So, Too Much, an abundance, is a blessing and curse.

        I guess at the point that the self-referential stuff began, there was no turning back on the slippery slope. What sucks most is how super smart and clever the early stuff from vaudeville and the radio seems in comparison to a lot of the worst stuff these days.

      • Mike

        “The Simpsons” is another good example of the shift in animated humor (and humor overall) over the past 20 years, and I’m afraid it’s not been for the better.

  • I find Abbot’s role interesting, he’s not just a straight man, he’s like a human rimshot that fills in with a bit of noise, some meaningless vocal interjection, after Costello’s punch lines so even if the audience doesn’t laugh there isn’t a dead pause.

    I have trouble watching Abbot and Costello movies. It’s hard to put my self in the mind of an audience where the men are so female-starved that these skirt-chaser jokes actually resonate with them and are amusing.

  • Mel did Bugs (and Porky) several times on the Benny show. There was a great set-up on the Jan. 17, 1951 show where Mel had done Woody Woodpecker. Later, Benny mentioned different animals and Mel did sounds for them. When Benny got to “And a rabbit,” Mel responded “What’s up, doc?” Benny then said “If you think I’m going to pay Mel Blanc to do a lousy woodpecker, you’re crazy.”

    You can also hear Mel as Bugs on the Benny shows of Feb. 23, 1947, Nov. 29, 1953 and March 28, 1954.

    I didn’t know that was Iris Adrian. Benny started using her in the ’50s in radio and she was hilarious.

  • Grant Beaudette

    I’ve heard Mel Blanc play Looney Tunes characters on a couple old radio shows and I always liked how Leon Schlesinger’s name was front and center.

  • Mike

    Bugs on the radio! That had to have been easy on the animator’s hands. ;)

    Viva Mel Blanc!

  • That was fun!

    What amazes me about old-time radio is how easy it is to visualize what’s going on. You can see these characters in your head. Some of the jokes are pretty cheesy, but they’re done well enough that I laughed anyway.There aren’t many comedians these days who can act well enough to make something like this work as well as it does.

    • The Gee

      olde radio shows are the books of broadcast.