It Ain't Hay
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|It Ain't Hay|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Erle C. Kenton|
|Produced by||Alex Gottlieb|
|Written by||Damon Runyon
|Music by||Harry Revel|
|Cinematography||Charles Van Enger|
|Edited by||Frank Gross|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$1.6 million (US rentals)|
It Ain't Hay is a 1943 film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello.
Wilbur Hoolihan (Lou Costello) accidentally kills a hack horse owned by King O'Hara (Cecil Kellaway) and his daughter, Princess (Patsy O'Connor) by feeding it candy. In hopes of raising enough money to replace it, he and his friend Grover Mockridge (Bud Abbott) visit a gambling parlor. They are successful in raising the money, but before they can purchase a new horse, a con man swindles Wilbur out of his cash. They are informed by some touts that an old horse is available for nothing at one of the tracks. They visit the track and mistakenly take the wrong horse, a champion by the name of Tea Biscuit. They present the horse to O'Hara as a replacement for his deceased horse.
The horse's real owner, Col. Brainard (Samuel Hinds), offers a reward for Tea Biscuit. By this time O'Hara has taken a fare up to Saratoga. Wilbur and Grover, realizing their error, drive to Saratoga. The three touts also realize that Wilbur and Grover took Tea Biscuit, and trail them hoping to recover the horse and collect the reward. Wilbur and Grover manage to find O'Hara and hide Tea Biscuit in their hotel room, but they are hounded by the house detective, Warner (Eugene Pallette), who was tipped off by the touts. Wilbur and Grover head to the race track in time for a big race. Grover makes a deal with Warner: for $100 he will give him the horse Wilbur rides. Grover then uses that money to bet on Tea Biscuit. Before the race, Wilbur is thrown off Tea Biscuit and lands on Rhubarb. Tea Biscuit, with a real jockey aboard, wins the race. Wilbur rides Rhubarb and loses. Warner and the touts take Wilbur's horse, which they believe is Tea Biscuit, to Col. Brainard for the reward, but it is the wrong horse. Grover holds the only winning ticket on Tea Biscuit, and uses their winnings to buy O'Hara a real replacement horse.
There is a scene that breaks the fourth wall: Wilbur and Grover are in their apartment when someone knocks at the door. Grover says, "Go answer the door, it might be Warner." Wilbur answers, "It won't do no good, we're signed up with Universal." Abbott and Costello had a long-term contract with Universal Pictures at the time.
- Bud Abbott as Grover Mockridge
- Lou Costello as Wilbur Hoolihan
- Grace McDonald as Kitty McClain
- Cecil Kellaway as King O'Hara
- Eugene Pallette as Gregory Warner
- Patsy O'Connor as Peggy / Princess O'Hara
- Leighton Noble as Pvt. Joe Collins
- Shemp Howard as Umbrella Sam
- Samuel S. Hinds as Col. Brainard
- Eddie Quillan as Harry the Horse
- Richard Lane as Slicker
- Andrew Tombes as Big-Hearted Charlie
- Wade Boteler as Reilly
- Selmer Jackson as Grant
Filming of this picture began on September 28, 1942, and lasted until November 11. Lou's brother Pat Costello was used as his stunt-double in the "headless horseman" sequence.
It was during production, on November 6, that Lou's wife Anne gave birth to their son, Lou "Butch" Costello, Jr.
It Ain't Hay was released on DVD on October 28, 2008 as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection. The film's studio-authorized DVD release had been delayed for many years due to legal issues with the estate of Damon Runyon.
- "Top Grossers of the Season", Variety, 5 January 1944 p 54. archive.org
- Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0
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