Abbott and Costello Go to Mars

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Abbott and Costello Go to Mars
A&cmars.jpg
Directed by Charles Lamont
Produced by Howard Christie
Written by
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Clifford Stine
Edited by Russell Schoengarth
Distributed by Universal-International
Release dates
  • 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 from Universal-International, produced by Howard Christie, directed by Charles Lamont, that stars the comedy team Abbott and Costello.

The film story concerns the misadventures of Lester and Orville who accidentally find themselves aboard a rocket ship bound for Mars. Instead, however, they accidentally land at the New Orleans Mardi Gras. The pair are then forced by bank robbers Mugsy and Harry to fly to the planet Venus where they encounter a civilization consisting entirely of beautiful women. Despite the film's title, no character in the film travels to the planet 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 rocket ship. While on board with Lester, Orville hits the ignition button and the rocket blasts off, flying 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 rocket ship, where Mugsy and Harry force them to launch.

After landing on Venus, the four men leave the rocket ship and Orville is quickly captured by 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 more than a liking to him, however, 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 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]

Principal photography 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 comedy sketch in which they attended the film's premiere.

The Venusian cars featured in the film were later used in the science fiction feature 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]

Science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein wrote a film treatment in 1950 called Abbott and Costello Move to the Moon that may have inspired the film's screenplay.[6]

Abbot and Costello Go To Mars features a ten-year-old Harry Shearer, who later went on to star in This Is Spinal Tap and on the animated Fox television series The Simpsons.

Home media[edit]

The film has had two DVD releases, the first as part of The Best of Abbott and Costello Volume Three, released on August 3, 2004, and the second as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection, released on October 28, 2008.

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]

  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009, (First edition 1982). ISBN 0-89950-032-3.
  • Wingrove, David (1985). Science Fiction Film Source Book, Longman Group Limited.

External links[edit]