Abbott and Costello
|Abbott and Costello|
Abbott (left) and Costello (right) circa 1940s.
|Born||New Jersey, United States|
|Medium||Stand-up, television, film, vaudeville, radio|
|Genres||Word play, slapstick, deadpan|
Abbott and Costello were a comedy double act composed of William "Bud" Abbott and Lou Costello, whose work on radio and in film and television made them the most popular comedy team of the 1940s and early 1950s. Their patter routine "Who's on First?" is one of the best-known comedy routines of all time, and set the framework for many of their best-known comedy bits.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Movies and fame
- 3 Radio
- 4 Television
- 5 "Who's on First?"
- 6 Private lives
- 7 Later years
- 8 Filmography
- 9 Discography
- 10 Spin-offs
- 11 In popular culture
- 12 Notes
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
Bud Abbott (1897–1974) was a veteran burlesque entertainer from a show business family. He started in burlesque box offices as a treasurer around 1918, and eventually managed and produced touring burlesque companies before becoming a performer. He worked as a straight man with his wife Betty, then with veteran burlesque comedians such as Harry Steppe and Harry Evanson.
Lou Costello (1906–1959) became a burlesque comic in 1928 after failing to break into movie acting and working as a stunt double and film extra. He appears briefly in the 1927 Laurel and Hardy silent two-reeler, The Battle of the Century, seated at ringside during Stan Laurel's ill-fated boxing match. (As a teenager, Costello had been an amateur boxer in his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey.) Costello's first appearance in burlesque was in St. Joseph, Missouri. He joined the Mutual Burlesque wheel in 1929, and Minsky's in 1932.
While they crossed paths a few times, the two comedians first worked together in 1935 at the Eltinge Burlesque Theater on 42nd Street—now the lobby of the AMC Empire movie complex in New York City. This performance came about when Costello's regular partner became ill. When AMC moved the old theater 168 ft (51 m) further west on 42nd Street to its current location, giant balloons of Abbott and Costello were rigged to appear to pull it.
Other performers in the show, including Abbott's wife Betty, advised a permanent pairing. The duo built an act by refining and reworking numerous burlesque sketches with Abbott as the devious straight man and Costello as the dimwitted comic.
Movies and fame
The team's first known radio appearance was on The Kate Smith Hour in February 1938. The similarities between their voices made it difficult for radio listeners (as opposed to stage audiences) to tell them apart during their rapid-fire repartee. As a result, Costello began affecting a high-pitched, childish voice. "Who's on First?" was first performed for a national radio audience the following month. They performed on the program as regulars for two years, while also landing roles in a Broadway revue, The Streets of Paris, in 1939.
One Night in the Tropics
In 1940, Universal Studios signed them for a musical comedy film One Night in the Tropics. Cast in supporting roles, they stole the show with several classic routines, including the "Who's on First?" routine.
Universal then signed them to a long-term contract, and put them in the lead for their second film, Buck Privates (1941) under the direction of Arthur Lubin and co starring The Andrews Sisters. The film was a massive hit, earning $4 million at the box office and launching Abbott and Costello as stars.
Universal put them in a haunted house comedy, Oh, Charlie!. However Buck Privates were so successful it was decided to delay the release of that so the team could be in In The Navy (1941), again with Lubin, co-starring crooner Dick Powell along with the Andrews Sisters. This film initially out-grossed Buck Privates. Loew's Criterion in Manhattan was open until 5 a.m. to oblige over 49,000 customers during the film's first week. 
Universal decided to add music to Oh, Charlie, so they shot additional sequences featuring the Andrews Sisters and Ted Lewis. The film was eventually released as Hold That Ghost (1941).
The duo then made Ride 'Em Cowboy (1941), with Dick Foran, but its release was delayed so they could appear in a third service comedy, Keep 'Em Flying (1941). This was their last film with Arthur Lubin.
All these films were big hits and Abbott and Costello were voted the third biggest box office attraction in the country.
Universal loaned them to MGM for a musical comedy, Rio Rita (1942). During filming, on December 8, 1941, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Abbott and Costello had their hand and foot prints set in concrete at what was then "Grauman's Chinese Theatre".
Back at Universal they made Pardon My Sarong (1942), a spoof of South Sea Island movies; Who Done It? (1942), a comedy-mystery in the vein of Bob Hope movies; It Ain't Hay (1943), from a story by Damon Runyon; and Hit the Ice (1943).
In 1942 they were the biggest box office stars in the country and their earnings for the fiscal year were $789,026.)
Costello was diagnosed with rheumatic fever upon his return from a 35-day war bond tour in 1942, and was stricken with a severe bout of the disease in March 1943, and was bedridden for approximately nine months.
They returned to filming with Lost in a Harem (1944), made at MGM. It was back to Universal for In Society (1944), Here Come the Co-Eds (1945) and The Naughty Nineties (1945). Their third and final film for MGM was Abbott and Costello in Hollywood (1945).
Partnership Split Up
There had been tension between Abbott and Costello for some time. In Little Giant (1946) the two played separate roles as opposed to partners. This was true in The Time of Their Lives (1946). In both movies, Abbott and Costello do not play friends or any kind of partners, but are simply individual members of the cast. Costello's character is largely the hero, while Abbott plays a somewhat unsympathetic dual role. Their trademark vaudeville routines are absent, and they only spoke directly to each other rarely.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Mexican Hayride (1948) was an adaptation of a Cole Porter musical with the songs taken out. They then made Africa Screams (1949) for an independent company which released through United Artists. Back at Universal they returned to horror comedy with Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949).
Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950) spoofed foreign legion stories; Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951) was a horror comedy; Comin' Round the Mountain (1952) was a hillbilly comedy.
They made an independent film outside Universal, Jack and the Beanstalk (1952). After Lost in Alaska (1952) for Universal they made another independent movie, Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1953).
At Universal they did Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953), Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1954), Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops (1955), and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955). The latter was the last film they made at Universal.
After working as Fred Allen's summer replacement in 1940, Abbott and Costello joined Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy on The Chase and Sanborn Hour in 1941. Two of their films (Buck Privates and Hold That Ghost) were adapted for Lux Radio Theaterthat year. They launched their own weekly show October 8, 1942, sponsored by Camel cigarettes.
The Abbott and Costello Show mixed comedy with musical interludes (by vocalists such as Connie Haines, Ashley Eustis, the Delta Rhythm Boys, Skinnay Ennis, Marilyn Maxwell, and the Les Baxter Singers). Regulars and semi-regulars on the show included Artie Auerbach ("Mr. Kitzel"), Elvia Allman, Iris Adrian, Mel Blanc, Wally Brown, Sharon Douglas, Verna Felton, Sidney Fields, Frank Nelson, Martha Wentworth, and Benay Venuta. Ken Niles was the show's longtime announcer, doubling as an exasperated foil to Costello, who routinely insulted his on-air wife played by Elvia Allman). Niles was succeeded by Michael Roy, with announcing chores also handled over the years by Frank Bingman and Jim Doyle. The show went through several orchestras, including those of Ennis, Charles Hoff, Matty Matlock, Matty Malneck, Jack Meakin, Will Osborne, Fred Rich, Leith Stevens, and Peter van Steeden. The show's writers included Howard Harris, Hal Fimberg, Parke Levy, Don Prindle, Eddie Cherkose (later known as Eddie Maxwell), Leonard B. Stern, Martin Ragaway, Paul Conlan, and Eddie Forman, as well as producer Martin Gosch. Sound effects were handled primarily by Floyd Caton. Guest stars included Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, The Andrews Sisters, and Lucille Ball.
In 1947 the show moved to ABC (the former NBC Blue Network). During their time on ABC, the duo also hosted a 30-minute children's radio program (The Abbott and Costello Children's Show), on Saturday mornings. The program featuring child vocalist Anna Mae Slaughter and child announcer Johnny McGovern.
In 1951, Abbott and Costello joined the rotating hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour on NBC. (Eddie Cantor and Martin and Lewis were among the others.) Each show was a live hour of vaudeville in front of an audience, revitalizing the comedians' performances and giving their old routines a new sparkle.
From late 1952 to early 1954, a filmed half-hour series, The Abbott and Costello Show, appeared in syndication on local stations across the United States. Loosely based on their radio series, the show cast the duo as unemployed wastrels. One of the show's running gags involved Abbott perpetually nagging Costello to get a job to pay their rent, while Abbott barely lifted a finger in that direction. The show featured Sidney Fields as the landlord of the rooming house in which they lived, and Hillary Brooke as a neighbor and sometime love interest for Costello. Other regulars were future Stooge Joe Besser as Stinky, a whiny child in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit, Gordon Jones as Mike the cop, who always lost patience with Lou, Joe Kirk (Costello's brother-in-law) as Mr. Bacciagalupe, an Italian immigrant caricature whose role varied with the requirements of the script, and Bobby Barber, who played many "extra" parts.
The simple plot lines were often merely an excuse to recreate old comedy routines including "Who's on First?" and other familiar set pieces from their films and burlesque days. Since Lou owned the series, this allowed them to own these versions of their classic routines as well. Although The Abbott and Costello Show originally ran for only two seasons, it found a larger viewership in reruns from the late 1960s to the 1990s. The shows have also been released in three different DVD sets over the years.
"Who's on First?"
"Who's on First?" is Abbott and Costello's signature routine. (They, however, usually referred to it as "Baseball.") The sketch was based on other burlesque routines with similar wordplay. Depending upon the version, Abbott has either organized a new baseball team and the players have nicknames, or he points out the proliferation of nicknames in baseball (citing St. Louis Cardinals sibling pitchers Dizzy and Daffy Dean) before launching the routine. The infielders' nicknames are Who (first base), What (second base) and I Don't Know (third base). The key to the routine is Costello's persistent confusion over pronouns, and Abbott's unwavering nonchalance. Audio recordings are readily available on the Internet.
Abbott and Costello began honing the routine shortly after teaming up in 1936 and performed it in vaudeville in 1937 and 1938. It was first heard by a national radio audience in March 1938, when the team were regulars on the Kate Smith radio show. By then, John Grant had been writing or adapting other sketches for the team, and he may have helped expand "Who's On First?" prior to its radio debut. Grant stayed on as their head writer into the 1950s. One notable appearance of the sketch is from a 1951 broadcast.
"Who's on First?" is believed to be available in as many as 20 versions, ranging from one minute to about 10 minutes. The team could time the routine at will, adding or deleting portions as needed for films, radio, or television. The longest version is seen in "The Actors' Home" episode of their filmed TV series. A live performance commemorating the opening day of the Lou Costello, Jr. Youth Foundation, in 1947 was recorded, and has appeared on numerous comedy albums. The team's final performance of "Who's on First?" was seen on Steve Allen's TV variety show, in 1957.
In the full-length version of "Who's on First?", all of the positions are mentioned except right field.
Abbott and Costello performed a special "Who's on First?" for a USO Command Performance. This is the only known recording in which Costello says "I don't give a damn" at the end.
For a radio performance marking Walgreens 44th anniversary on June 20, 1945, Abbott was ill and was unable to perform. Sidney Fields, in his role as Professor Mellonhead, filled in and performed the straight man role with Costello.
Abbott and Costello both met and married women they knew in burlesque. Abbott married Betty Smith in 1918, and Costello married Anne Battler in 1934. The Costellos had four children; the Abbotts adopted two.
Abbott and Costello faced personal demons at times. Both were inveterate gamblers and had serious health problems. Abbott suffered from epilepsy and turned to alcohol for pain management. Costello had occasional, near-fatal bouts with rheumatic fever. On November 4, 1943, the same day that Costello returned to radio after a one-year layoff due to his illness, his infant son Lou Jr. (nicknamed "Butch" and born November 6, 1942) died in an accidental drowning in the family's swimming pool. Maxene Andrews remembers visiting Costello with sisters Patty and LaVerne during his illness, and remembered how Costello's demeanor changed after the tragic loss of his son, saying, "He didn't seem as fun-loving and as warm...He seemed to anger easily...there was a difference in his attitude."
During 1945, a rift developed when Abbott hired a domestic servant who had been fired by Costello. Costello refused to speak to his partner except when performing. The following year, they made two films in which they appeared as separate characters rather than as a team (Little Giant and The Time of Their Lives). This may have been a result of the tensions between them, plus the fact that their most recent films had performed well at the box office. Abbott resolved the rift when he volunteered to help with Costello's pet charity, a foundation for underprivileged children, and suggested naming it the "Lou Costello Jr. Youth Foundation". The facility opened in 1947, and still serves the Boyle Heights district of Los Angeles.
In the 1950s Abbott and Costello's popularity waned with the emergence of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Another reason for their decline was overexposure. Abbott and Costello's routines, already familiar, were now glutting the movie and television markets. Each year they made two new films, while Realart Pictures re-issued their older hits; their filmed television series was widely syndicated, and the same routines appeared frequently on the Colgate program. (Writer Parke Levy told Jordan R. Young, in The Laugh Crafters: Comedy Writing in Radio and TV's Golden Age, that he was stunned to learn that Bud and Lou were afraid to perform new material.)
They were forced to withdraw from Fireman Save My Child in 1954 due to Costello's health, and were replaced by Hugh O'Brian and Buddy Hackett. Universal dropped the comedy team in 1955 after they could not agree on contract terms. In the early 1950s, the Internal Revenue Service charged them for back taxes, forcing them to sell their homes and most of their assets, including the rights to most of their films.
In 1956 they made one independent film, Dance with Me, Henry, and Lou was the subject of the television program This Is Your Life, then formally dissolved their partnership in 1957. In his posthumously-published 1959 autobiography, My Wicked, Wicked Ways, Errol Flynn claims that he triggered the breakup. Flynn, an inveterate practical joker, invited them, along with their wives and children, to his house for dinner, and afterwards, he commenced to show a home movie that "accidentally" turned out to be hard-core pornography. While Flynn pretended to be baffled, Costello and Abbott each blamed the other for the film's substitution.
In his last years, Costello made about ten solo appearances on The Steve Allen Show and headlined in Las Vegas. He also appeared in episodes of GE Theater and Wagon Train. On March 3, 1959, not long after completing his lone solo film, The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, he died of a heart attack, just days short of his 53rd birthday.
Abbott attempted a comeback in 1960 with Candy Candido. Although the new act received good reviews, Bud quit, saying, "No one could ever live up to Lou." Abbott made a solo, dramatic appearance on an episode of General Electric Theater in 1961. In 1966, Abbott voiced his character in a series of 156 five-minute Abbott and Costello cartoons made by Hanna-Barbera. Lou's character was voiced by Stan Irwin. Bud Abbott died of cancer on April 24, 1974.
|Year||Movie||Lou Costello Role||Bud Abbott Role||Notes|
|1940||One Night in the Tropics||Costello||Abbott||Film Debut, Universal|
|1941||Buck Privates||Herbie Brown||Slicker Smith||Universal, First Starring Roles|
|1941||In the Navy||Pomeroy Watson||Smokey Adams||Universal|
|1941||Hold That Ghost||Ferdinand Jones||Chuck Murray||Universal|
|1941||Keep 'Em Flying||Heathcliffe||Blackie Benson||Universal|
|1942||Ride 'Em Cowboy||Willoughby||Duke||Universal|
|1942||Rio Rita||Wishy Dunn||Doc||First of three films for Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios|
|1942||Pardon My Sarong||Wellington Phlug||Algy Shaw||Universal|
|1942||Who Done It?||Mervyn Milgrim||Chick Larkin||Universal|
|1943||It Ain't Hay||Wilbur Hoolihan||Grover Mickridge||Universal|
|1943||Hit the Ice||Tubby McCoy||Flash Fulton||Universal|
|1944||In Society||Albert Mansfield||Eddie Harrington||Universal|
|1944||Lost in a Harem||Harvey Garvey||Peter Johnson||Second MGM release|
|1945||Here Come the Co-Eds||Oliver Quackenbush||Slats McCarthy||Universal|
|1945||The Naughty Nineties||Sebastian Dinwiddie||Dexter Broadhurst||Who's On First? from this film is featured at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Universal|
|1945||Abbott and Costello in Hollywood||Abercrombie||Buzz Kurtis||Third and final MGM release|
|1946||Little Giant||Benny Miller||John Morrison/Tom Chandler||Universal|
|1946||The Time of Their Lives||Horatio Prim||Cuthbert/Dr. Greenway||Universal|
|1947||Buck Privates Come Home||Herbie Brown||Slicker Smith||Sequel to Buck Privates, Universal|
|1947||The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap||Chester Wooley||Duke Egan||Universal|
|1948||The Noose Hangs High||Tommy Hinchcliffe||Ted Higgins||Eagle-Lion release|
|1948||Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein||Wilbur Gray||Chick Young||Universal|
|1948||Mexican Hayride||Joe Bascom/Humphrey Fish||Harry Lambert||Universal|
|1949||Africa Screams||Stanley Livington||Buzz Johnson||United Artists release|
|1949||Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff||Freddie Phillips||Casey Edwards||Universal|
|1950||Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion||Lou Hotchkiss||Bud Jones||Universal|
|1951||Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man||Lou Francis||Bud Alexander||Universal|
|1951||Comin' Round the Mountain||Wilbert Smith||Al Stewart||Universal|
|1952||Jack and the Beanstalk||Jack||Mr. Dinklepuss||In sepia and color; Warner Bros. release|
|1952||The Abbott and Costello Show||Himself||Himself||First TV Show by the pair; Presented by Allan Enterprises|
|1952||Lost in Alaska||George Bell||Tom Watson||Universal|
|1952||Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd||Oliver "Puddin' Head" Johnson||Rocky Stonebridge||In color; Warner Bros. release|
|1953||Abbott and Costello Go to Mars||Orville||Lester||Universal|
|1953||Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde||Tubby||Slim||Universal|
|1955||Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops||Willie Piper||Harry Pierce||Universal|
|1955||Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy||Costello (erroneously listed in the film as "Freddie Franklin")||Abbott (erroneously listed in the film as "Pete Patterson")||Universal|
|1956||Dance with Me, Henry||Lou Henry||Bud Flick||Their final film; United Artists release|
|1959||The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock||Artie Pinsetter||Lou Costello only; Columbia release|
|1965||The World of Abbott and Costello||Himself||Himself||Compilation film|
Box office ranking
For a number of years Abbott and Costello were ranked among the most popular stars in the US according to the Quigley Publishers Poll of Exhibitors:
- 1941 - 3rd
- 1942 - 1st
- 1943 - 3rd
- 1944 - 8th
- 1947 - 16th
- 1948 - 3rd
- 1949 - 3rd
- 1950 - 6th (US), 2nd (UK)
- 1951 - 4th (US), 4th (UK)
- 1952 - 11th
- 1953 - 20th
- 1942: Laugh, Laugh, Laugh (Parts I and II) Victor 27737
The cartoon series was not the first time Abbott and Costello were in animation. During the height of their popularity in the 1940s, Warner Bros.'s Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies animation unit produced 3 cartoons featuring the pair as cats or mice named "Babbit and Catstello". One of the cartoons, Bob Clampett's A Tale of Two Kitties (1941), introduced Tweety. The other cartoons are A Tale of Two Mice and Mouse-Merized Cat. In all three cartoons, Tedd Pierce (normally a storyman/writer for the cartoons) and Mel Blanc, respectively, provide voice impressions of the comedy duo.
The revival of their former television series in syndicated reruns in the late 1960s and early 1970s helped spark renewed interest in the duo, as did the televising of many of their old film hits. In 1994, comedian Jerry Seinfeld—who says Abbott and Costello were strong influences on his work—hosted a television special Abbott and Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld (the title refers to the duo's popular film series in which they met some of Universal's famed horror picture characters), on NBC; the special was said to have been seen in 20 million homes.
In popular culture
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Abbott and Costello are among the few non-baseball personnel to be memorialized in the Baseball Hall of Fame, although they are not inductees of the Hall itself. A plaque and a gold record of the "Who's On First?" sketch have been on permanent display there since 1956, and the routine runs on an endless video loop in the exhibit area.
The comedy group The Credibility Gap performed a rock and roll update of "Who's on First?" using the names of rock groups The Who, The Guess Who, and Yes, recorded and released on their first album, The Bronze Age of Radio. In the 1988 movie Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman's autistic character Raymond Babbitt recites an affectless "Who's on First?" as a defense mechanism. NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006), a drama about life backstage at a television comedy series, used "Who's on First?" as a plot device. On the January 13, 2001 episode of Saturday Night Live host Charlie Sheen and SNL cast-member Rachel Dratch performed a modified version of "Who's On First?" in a sketch.
Jerry Seinfeld is an avid fan and "The Old Man (Seinfeld)" (Season 4, Episode 18, aired February 18, 1993) featured a cantankerous old man named "Sid Fields," played by veteran actor Bill Erwin, as a tribute to Sidney Fields, the landlord from the Abbott and Costello TV show. The influence of Abbott and Costello on Seinfeld was discussed in a 1994 NBC program Abbott and Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld. In Episode 30, Kramer hears the famous Abbott and Costello line "His father was a mudder. His mother was a mudder."
In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, a 1993 spoof comedy directed by Mel Brooks, Dick Van Patten played the part of the Abbot. At one point, a man who looked and sounded like Lou Costello (played by Chuck McCann) yelled "Hey, Abbott!", in exactly the same way Lou did in the Abbott and Costello movies, repeating a joke from Brooks' Robin Hood sitcom When Things Were Rotten in which Van Patten shouted the line.
In the VeggieTales show, "Duke and the Great Pie War", the Scallion plays a character referred by Novak (Mr. Nezzer) as the Abbott Costello.
Abbott and Costello were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009.
A TV movie called Bud and Lou, based on a book by Hollywood correspondent Bob Thomas, was broadcast in 1978. Starring Harvey Korman as Bud Abbott and Buddy Hackett as Lou Costello, the film told the duo's life story, focusing on Costello and portraying him as volatile and petty.
In 2015 a non profit fan film was produced titled Abbott & Costello Meet Superman. The film was screened at the Superman Celebration Film Festival in Metropolis Illinois and is currently streaming on YouTube. Abbott and Costello are played by two actors from New York, Aaron M. Lambert and Jake Navatka.
In the 2016 sci-fi movie Arrival, the two Heptapods (alien beings) are named Abbott and Costello by the scientists. As two of the main themes in the movie are linguistics and miscommunication, it mirrors themes of the "Who's on First?" Routine. The names also have significance in the film because the heptapod named Abbott is taller and quieter while the heptapod named Costello is shorter and chattier just as the real Abbott and Costello were on their show.
- Furmanek, Bob, and Ron Palumbo. "Abbott and Costello in Hollywood." Perigee, 1991.
- Furmanek, Bob, and Ron Palumbo. "Abbott and Costello in Hollywood." Perigee, 1991.
- Abbott and Costello in Hollywood, ISBN 0-399-51605-0
- "Abbott, Bud; and Costello, Lou". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2010. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
- The New York Times, Sunday, February 28, 1998
- Bob Furmanek & Ron Palumbo, Abbott and Costello in Hollywood, Perigree Books 1991 p 42-48
- Sforza, John: Swing It! The Andrews Sisters Story; University Press of Kentucky, 2000; 289 pages.
- "111 Film Toppers earned close to $18 mill in '42". Variety: 6. 18 October 1944. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
- Abbott and Costello Children's Show 12/18/1948
- Listen to "Who's on First?" from a 1942 radio performance
- Abbott and Costello performing "Who's on First?" in 1951 from the Colgate Comedy hour
- Abbott and Costello "Who's on First?" from USO Command Performance
- Listen to Sidney Fields version of "Who's on First?"
- Lou's on First: The Tragic Life of Hollywood's Greatest Clown Warmly Recounted by his Youngest Child ISBN 0-312-49914-0
- This is your Life Lou Costello
- "Abbott, Costello Split. Comedy Team Breaks Up to Let Abbott Raise Horses". New York Times. United Press International. July 15, 1957.
- "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Google News Archive Search".
- Flynn, Errol. My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Autobiography of Errol Flynn. Cooper Square Press; 1 edition (November 4, 2002) https://www.amazon.com/dp/0815412509
- "Lou Costello, 52, Dies on Coast. Comic Had Teamed With Abbott. 'Little Guy Trying to Be a Big Shot' in Films and on TV-Partners Broke Up in '57". New York Times. March 4, 1959.
- Toon Tracker: Laurel & Hardy and Abbott & Costello cartoons
- "The Glasgow Herald - Google News Archive Search".
- Mickey Rooney Tops List Three Times in a Row: Leads Money-Making Stars Again in 1941; Hollywood Luminaries Pay Capital a Visit; Items of News and Gossip of the Theater The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] January 2, 1942: 18.
- Bing's Lucky Number: Pa Crosby Dons 4th B.O. Crown By Richard L. Coe. The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] January 3, 1948: 12.
- Of Local Origin New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] December 29, 1950: 15.
- "On the Records" (PDF). Billboard. January 10, 1942. p. 14. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Dunning, J. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford Univ. Press (1998), pp. 2-3. ISBN 0-19-507678-8
- Who's on First? At MSU, it's Bud and Lou Archived February 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- All you Arrival plot questions, explained Archived January 8, 2017, at the Wayback Machine.
- Anobile, Richard J. (ed.), Who's on First?: Verbal and Visual Gems from the Films of Abbott & Costello (1972) Avon Books
- Costello, Chris, Lou's on First: The Tragic Life of Hollywood's Greatest Clown Warmly Recounted by His Youngest Child (1982) St. Martin's Press ISBN 0-312-49914-0
- Cox, Stephen and Lofflin, John, The Abbott & Costello Story: Sixty Years of "Who's on First?" (1997) Cumberland House Publishing (A revised and updated edition of The Official Abbott & Costello Scrapbook)
- Cox, Stephen and Lofflin, John, The Official Abbott & Costello Scrapbook (1990) Contemporary Books, Inc.
- Dunning, John, On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (1998) Oxford University Press
- Firestone, Ross (ed.), "Bud Abbott and Lou Costello" from The Big Radio Comedy Program (1978) Contemporary Books, Inc.
- Furmanek, Bob and Palumbo, Ron, Abbott and Costello in Hollywood (1991) Perigee ISBN 0-399-51605-0
- Maltin, Leonard, The Great Movie Comedians (1978) Crown Publishers
- Maltin, Leonard, Movie Comedy Teams (1970, revised 1985) New American Library
- Miller, Jeffrey S., The Horror Spoofs of Abbott and Costello: A Critical Assessment of the Comedy Team's Monster Films (2004) McFarland & Co.
- Mulholland, Jim, The Abbott and Costello Book (1975) Popular Library
- Nachman, Gerald. Raised on Radio (1998) Pantheon Books
- Nollen, Scott Allen, Abbott and Costello on the Home Front: A Critical Study of the Wartime Films (2009) McFarland & Co.
- Sforza, John, "Swing It! The Andrews Sisters Story" (2000) University Press of Kentucky
- Sies, Luther F., Encyclopedia of American Radio (2000) McFarland & Co.
- Terrace, Vincent, Radio Programs (1999) McFarland & Co.
- Thomas, Bob, Bud & Lou: The Abbott and Costello Story (1977) J.B. Lippincott Co. (Dual biography featuring a highly unflattering portrait of Lou Costello, contested by friends and family members)
- Young, Jordan R., The Laugh Crafters: Comedy Writing in Radio and TV's Golden Age (1999) Past Times
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Abbott and Costello.|
- Bud Abbott on Internet Movie Database
- Lou Costello on Internet Movie Database
- Abbott and Costello at the National Radio Hall of Fame
- Abbott and Costello on Way Back When
- Abbott and Costello on Outlaws Old Time Radio Corner
- Laughterlog.com Full listing of A&C on Radio, Film, Television, Record and in Books.
- Official Website
- Abbott and Costello Radio Log
- Official Fan Club
- Abbott and Costello at the Internet Archive
- Zoot Radio, Abbott And Costello Radio Shows
- Abbott and Costello - Who's on First?