Abbott and Costello Go to Mars

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Abbott and Costello Go to Mars
A&cmars.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Charles Lamont
Produced by Howard Christie
Written by D.D. Beauchamp
Howard Christie
John Grant
Starring Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Mari Blanchard
Dudley Dickerson
Music by Joseph Gershenson and Henry Mancini
Cinematography Clifford Stine
Edited by Russell Schoengarth
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s)
  • April 6, 1953 (1953-04-06)
Running time 77 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $762,446[1]
Box office $1.25 million (US)[2]

Abbott and Costello Go To Mars is a 1953 American science fiction comedy film directed by Charles Lamont and starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. The film follows the misadventures of Lester and Orville who accidentally find themselves on a rocketship bound for Mars, which accidentally lands at the New Orleans Mardi Gras. The pair are forced by bank robbers Mugsy and Harry to fly to Venus where they encounter a civilization consisting entirely of women. Despite the title, no one in this film actually goes to Mars.

Plot[edit]

Orville (Lou Costello) is the oldest orphan at the Hideaway Orphans Home. He accidentally winds up inside a truck heading to a top secret laboratory, where he is placed under the guidance of lab worker Lester (Bud Abbott) to help load supplies onto a rocketship. While on board, Orville hits the ignition button and the rocket launches, and flies across the country to New Orleans, where Mardi Gras is in progress. They exit the ship and witness "hideous creatures", which are actually costumed celebrants, and conclude that they have landed on Mars.

Meanwhile, two escaped convicts, Harry the Horse (Jack Kruschen) and Mugsy (Horace McMahon), enter the rocket, put on the available spacesuits, and head to New Orleans to rob a bank. Lester and Orville, also clad in spacesuits, are wrongly accused of the crime and rush back to the rocketship, where Mugsy and Harry force them to launch.

After landing on Venus, the four men leave the rocketship, and Orville is quickly captured by local guards and brought to Queen Allura (Mari Blanchard), who informs him that Venus is only inhabited by women as men were banished a long time ago. She takes a shine to him and decides that he can stay if he promises to be true to her. He agrees, and has Harry and Mugsy imprisoned for their crimes. Mugsy then convinces one of the female guards to flirt with Orville to prove that he cannot be trusted. Orville "takes the bait", and the Queen orders all of the men to leave her planet. Upon returning to Earth, they are lauded as heroes, and Allura, who is watching the celebration from Venus, sends a spaceship to drop a cake on Orville's head.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming took place between August 1 and August 28, 1952.[3]

Shortly after the film's release, Abbott and Costello appeared on The Colgate Comedy Hour and did a sketch in which they attended the film's premiere.

The Venusian cars featured in the film were later used in This Island Earth (1955).[4]

The Venusian women were played by contestants in the Miss Universe competition. Anita Ekberg, the winner of the Miss Sweden competition, was among the ensemble.[5]

Robert A. Heinlein wrote a story idea in 1950 called Abbott and Costello Move to the Moon that may have inspired the screenplay.[6]

The film features a seven year old Harry Shearer, who later went on to star in This Is Spinal Tap and The Simpsons.

DVD releases[edit]

This film has been released twice on DVD, on The Best of Abbott and Costello Volume Three, on August 3, 2004, and again on October 28, 2008 as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Furmanek p 236
  2. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954
  3. ^ Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0
  4. ^ Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0
  5. ^ Jim Mulholland (1977). The Abbott and Costello Book. Popular Library. p. 204. 
  6. ^ Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0

Bibliography[edit]

  • Wingrove, David. Science Fiction Film Source Book (Longman Group Limited, 1985)

External links[edit]