The Chaney Blogathon: Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein


“You don’t understand. Every night when the moon is full,
I turn into a wolf.”
-Larry Talbot
“You and twenty million other guys.” -Wilbur Grey

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) — the perfect mix of horror, pathos, intrigue and downright silliness — a chance for a ‘scaredy cat’ like me to see the ‘Big Three’ classic movie monsters play straight men to the antics of beloved comedy team Abbott and Costello. The film marked the return of Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula a mere 17 years after the 1931 film made him a star; Glenn Strange appeared for the 3rd time in his career as The Frankenstein Monster, and our Blogathon Star, Lon Chaney Jr., reprised his role for the 5th time as the long-suffering Larry Talbot and his murderous alter ego, The Wolf Man.  And, if that’s not enough, there is a surprise ‘appearance’ by The Invisible Man (yes, I get the irony), voiced by Vincent Price at the very end of the film.

Lon Chaney Jr as himself and as The Wolfman from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Lon Chaney Jr. as The Wolf Man and as himself

Now, I know that some would argue that the horror genre hit rock bottom with the release of this film, but for me, it’s an affectionate and respectful tribute to the monsters that scared the you-know-what out of us when we were kids.  And I just have to laugh out loud when I see poor Wilbur (Costello) and annoyed Chick (Abbott) repeat the ‘tried and true’ Abbott and Costello comedy routines that I’ve come to know and love over the years.  Perhaps it’s a simple case of nostalgia, perhaps it’s the hankering for some good clean fun, or perhaps it’s just a welcomed way to chuckle and unwind after a long and crazy day at work — but, whatever ‘it’ is, this movie never fails to put me in a good mood.

So, in the spirit of the comedy-horror genre, I’d like to celebrate Lon Chaney Jr. with some fun quotes and silly behind-the-scenes photos…

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Lon Chaney Jr as Larry Talbot in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Lon Chaney Jr. — as poor, tortured Larry Talbot, calling from London to Florida to warn unsuspecting baggage-clerks, Wilbur and Chick, that something foul’s afoot… but alas, he ‘transforms’ and well…

“Do you have two crates addressed to the McDougal House of Horrors?… Tonight the moon will be full here. I haven’t much time. Now listen closely, I’m flying out of here at dawn. Under no circumstances are you to deliver those crates until I arrive. Understand. Under… growl, growl. growl, growl”
-Larry Talbot

…..

Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Larry Talbot finds Wilbur (Costello) and Chick (Abbott) and explains that he’s the one who telephoned them from London warning them about those crates… and he adds that the bodies in those crates were alive…  (of course poor Wilbur already found that out for himself, and skeptical Chick thinks they’re both crazy 🙂 )

Larry Talbot: I followed Dracula all the way from Europe because… I believe that he’s going to try and revive the Frankenstein Monster. We must find him and destroy him before he can do this.
Chick Young: Wait a minute. Why don’t you go down to the police.  Tell them you know the story about Dracula and Monster — they’d be very interested.
Larry Talbot: Oh I can’t do that — ’cause then I’d have to tell them who I am and why I know what I know.

 …..

Lon Chaney Jr with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

And so the plot thickens, as a desperate Talbot begs Wilbur to take away his hotel key and lock him away in his room — and warns him one last time…

“Remember no matter what you hear or what happens don’t let me out!”
-Larry Talbot

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Lon Chaney Jr as The Wolf Man in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

And so it goes…

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Lon Chaney Jr with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

A bender? I think not…

Chick Young: Boy, what a bender he must have been on last night!
Wilbur Grey: Hey, Mr. Talbot, Mr. Talbot…and I thought you were such a nice man too. Look at yourself, you’re a mess!
Larry Talbot: Last night I went through another of my horrible experiences. Years ago I was bitten by a werewolf. Ever since when the full moon rises I turn into a wolf myself.
Wilbur Grey: Oh pal. That’s all right; I’m sort of a wolf myself.

…..

Lon Chaney Jr with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Suffice it to say that from this point on, crazy antics ensue as Wilbur and Chick find themselves at the mercy of designing women, evil doctors, mad monsters and a diabolical plot to steal Wilbur’s brain. Guess who the brain is for??? LOL!

Larry Talbot: You have seen the living dead. I came all the way from Europe because Dracula and the Monster must be destroyed.  Together we must find them!
Chick Young: Oh no, now wait a minute, let’s not start that all over again!
Wilbur Grey: I can’t go. I got a date. In fact I’ve got two dates.
Larry Talbot: But you and I — ‘have a date with destiny’.
Wilbur Grey: Let Chick go with Destiny. Won’t ya please, huh…

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein publicity shot with monsters

 A crazy cast of characters 🙂 including Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein

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Behind the Scenes Fun included exploding cigars, card games, pie fights and daily practical jokes…

 Lon Chaney, Jr. with director Charles Barton on the set of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein behind the scenes

Director Charles Barton getting all shook up by The Wolf Man

“There were times when I thought Bela was going to have a stroke on the set. You have to understand that working with two zanies like Abbott and Costello was not the normal Hollywood set. They never went by the script and at least once a day there would be a pie fight.” -Director Charles Barton

Note: Abbott and Costello respected the three monsters and made sure no pies were flung at the heavily made-up actors.

Lon Chaney Jr And Lou Costello On the Set of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Lon Chaney Jr. and Lou Costello relaxing on the set
(hopefully that’s not an exploding cigar!)

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Glenn Strange (Frankenstein) and Lon Chaney Jr (Wolf Man) on set of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Best Friends: Frankenstein (Glenn Strange) and The Wolf Man

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Lon Chaney Jr as the Wolf man and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein behind the scenes flirting with girls

Flirting with the girls: The Wolf Man and Frankenstein having some fun
behind-the-scenes

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Glenn Strange as Frankenstein from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein with Ann Blyth from Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid on lot in 1948

Glenn Strange as Frankenstein with Ann Blyth from Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (which was filming nearby) on the Universal Studio lot. Both Strange and Chaney Jr. were invited to the Mr. Peabody wrap party, where they hammed it up in their monster make-up.

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Boris Karloff publicity shot standing next to Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein poster

Universal’s original Frankenstein Monster, Boris Karloff, was asked to reprise his role for the film, but he declined. However, as a favor to Universal, he helped promote the film and can be seen in several publicity photos, including this one in which he points to the movie poster.

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A big Thank You to the fabulous Jo (@TheLastDriveIn) of TheLastDriveIn.com, and the equally fabulous Fritzi (@MoviesSilently) of MoviesSilently.com for hosting this wonderful Chaney Blogathon event! There are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this event so please be sure to check out the other entries.

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

This entry was posted in Blogathons, Character Actors, Horror, Posts by Annmarie Gatti, Quotes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Chaney Blogathon: Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein

  1. Jo Gabriel says:

    I agree with you with all my heart. Call it nostalgia or just plain fun, I don’t believe that this film was the downfall of the monster movie business at Universal. It was a delightful way to bring back all those thrills and chills with a lot of brilliant comedic timing I love your photos and the quotes are superb… Thanks so much for covering this treasure of a film for us. And for being such a huge supporter of our Chaney celebration. You brought a special kind of class to our event!!! Cheer Joey

  2. Fritzi says:

    Thanks for the review that captures the fun-loving and zany spirit behind the camera! Marvelous work!

  3. Joe Thompson says:

    Thank you, Annmarie. A&C Meet Frankenstein is one of my favorites, and I think you captured some of the spirit of the movie with the quotes and the images.

  4. I totally agree with all the superlatives you showered on this classic movie. In fact, this is my all time favourite comedy horror. Loved everything about this movie (the Universal monster team ups were ALWAYS such fun!), and it was great to see the iconic monsters encounter the hilarious duo Abbott and Costello. I have watched this movie many, may times, and it continues to bring a smile to myself. A true classic to round off the Universal monster fests.

  5. Dave says:

    In addition to the above fond memory comments, if memory serves correctly, this film virtually single-handedly helped raise Universal Studios out of bankruptcy at the time it was released. B)

  6. Pingback: Trick or Treat: A CMH Halloween “Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters Collection” DVD Giveaway (Oct 8 – Oct 27) | Classic Movie Hub Blog

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