ABBOTT: Count Dracula must return to his coffin before sunrise, where he lies helpless during the day. That’s the bunk!
COSTELLO: That’s what I’m trying to tell you! That’s his bunk!
Few films have given me more pleasure than Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, released on June 15th, 1948. I’ve referenced it countless times in other columns and on the podcast, but I have never written specifically about it. Here’s why I love it so much.
I. It’s very funny.
II It features the real, original Universal Monsters.
TANGENT: The other night I was enjoying the company of some old friends via a Happy Hour/Zoom Call we share once a month and facetiously call our 40 Year High-School Reunion. One of my friends works for Universal Studios (I’ll call her “Rebecca,” for that is her name.) and another (Tom) had just signed up for the NBC/Universal Peacock streaming service. I was waxing boastful when I mentioned that my perfect “retirement job” would be as a Tram Tour Guide at Universal Studios Hollywood. I practically know the history of the studio already—imagine if I boned up for an actual job interview. (This would be a dream job because the last time I visited this amazing movie studio/theme park, I spent the majority of the day riding the Tram Tour over and over again. I wound up riding it five times in a row. Each ride is different, depending on what’s shooting on the lot and who your guide is. It was fun.)
Do I get the job?
III The pacing is brisk and it never wears out its welcome.
AN ANNOYING AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL PAUSE: When I was but a lad, Castle Films used to sell 50-foot reels and 200-foot reels of Super 8mm film featuring highlights from famous Universal films. I would buy these (I could afford the dinky little 50-foot ones that were sold in the camera department at K-Mart.) or check them out of the library and watch them in my basement on my prized possession, a Super 8mm projector. I owned the 50-foot version of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, which condensed the film into a tidy three minutes. A few boutique disc labels have started to include these Castle Films digests on their Special Edition Blu-ray discs. They are nostalgic fun. Here's the three-minute version of the film, courtesy of Castle Films and whoever the hell posted this to the YouTube machine:
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein was the first movie I watched for Scary Movie Month this year (It usually is, though this time I used the Peacock streaming service) and I suspect I might just be paying it another visit before Halloween. If you have never seen it... Gosh... I don’t know what to say...