Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
October 13, 2015 11:20 AM - Subscribe

Two hapless freight handlers find themselves encountering Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man.

"In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed this film 'culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant' and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, and in September 2007, Readers Digest selected the movie as one of the top 100 funniest films of all time." (Wikipedia)

Trivia (IMDb except where noted)
  • This was the final Universal film to feature Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula and the Wolfman, until Van Helsing (2004).
  • The scene in which Wilbur (Lou Costello) is unknowingly sitting on the Frankenstein Monster's (Glenn Strange) lap required multiple takes. The scene allowed Costello to improvise wildly, which caused Strange to constantly break up laughing during the takes.
  • Originally the Mummy was to be included in the cast of monsters, but that idea was eventually dropped.
  • Bobby Barber was employed for the film as a "court jester". It was his job to keep the energy level up through a series of practical jokes and purposefully blown takes. Often when Lou Costello expected Lon Chaney Jr. to come through the door, Barber would run in wearing a hat and cape and immediately run back out. Bela Lugosi enjoyed Barber's antics as long as he was not the victim. On one particular occasion while filming a scene in which the solemn and sinister Dracula descends a staircase, he was followed by Barber, who imitated his every move. After the cast and crew burst into laughter Lugosi glared at Barber and yelled in his thick Hungarian accent, "We should not be playing while we are working!" and then stormed off the set.
  • Lou Costello did not want to film the movie, declaring, "No way I'll do that crap. My little girl could write something better than this." A $50,000 advance in salary and the signing of director Charles Barton, the team's good friend and the man whom some call their best director, convinced him otherwise.
  • Boris Karloff was never approached to play the monster, but as a favor to Universal he agreed to do publicity work for this film as long as he didn't have to see it. In several photos taken by Universal's publicity department, he is seen standing in line purchasing a ticket at a theater in New York City where the film is playing, and in other stills he is shown admiring the poster art for the film outside the theater lobby. Karloff later starred with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949) as well as Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953).
  • Glenn Strange was playing the Frankenstein monster, but during shooting one day he tripped over a camera cable and broke his ankle. Lon Chaney Jr. (playing the Wolf Man) wasn't working that day, so he put on the Frankenstein makeup/outfit and filled in for Strange in one scene where Dr. Mornay gets thrown through the window. So Chaney wound up playing two monsters in this movie.
  • During the final chase scene, when Wilbur and Chick are standing in front of a door and the Frankenstein monster punches through it, Lou Costello deliberately went off his mark and got hit on the jaw. Director Charles Barton liked his reaction, so he decided to keep it in the film.
  • Vincent Price has a voice cameo in the film as The Invisible Man. ( Wikipedia)
  • The "moving candle" routine previously used in Hold That Ghost (1941) was utilized again in this film. (Wikipedia)
keithroysdon writes about the animated title sequence: "The titles perfectly capture the funny/creepy nature of the movie, maybe as well as any movie of its time." More on the title sequence at Art of the Title.

Bill's Blog: Lenore Aubert
More on Lenore Aubert at Wikipedia.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (2 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I had never seen this before! I laughed. A lot. And when Lou whipped that cloth out from under the candlesticks - and gave that "did you see?" twinkle to the camera - I stood up and cheered. Outstanding. I'll be watching this every October.
posted by tomboko at 4:21 PM on October 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Very amusing. Although those bat special effects could use an upgrade.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:50 PM on October 18, 2015

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