The new DVD/Blu-ray release Abbott & Costello Rarities more than lives up to its title. Portions of this material have appeared on previous DVD releases of The Abbott and Costello Show, but not in their entirety or in high-definition transfers. Kodachrome home movies of Bud and Lou’s cross-country War Bond trip are interesting to see, as they make whistle-stop tours by train, greeted by gigantic crowds. Remember, this was at the peak of their popularity in 1942.



There are also outtakes which have only existed in inferior copies online, trailers, miscellany (like a Christmas seals promo with Charles Laughton) and a selection of audio rarities from their long radio career. But the piece de resistance is a long-unseen episode of the Colgate Comedy Hour from 1953 in which Bud comes onstage for the first time in 18 years without his partner. The show incorporates two skits the team had filmed earlier, with amazing quality, as kinescopes. Then Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis appear in their own segment as a tribute to Lou Costello and tear the house down.



When I was a kid and fell in love with Jerry he had just broken up with Dean; some called it the most newsworthy divorce in show business history. It took years for me to track down their movies. I liked them, but I never fully appreciated what made the duo so extraordinarily popular until I saw kinescopes of their Colgate programs. They are explosively funny and maintain a spontaneity that is irresistible.



So whether you’re a fan of Bud and Lou or Dean and Jerry, you have to see this dual-format disc set from Thunderbean, which normally traffics in rare animation. (More on their other new releases soon.) For more information, check out their website


Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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April 2024