The Abbott and Costello Show (radio program)
The Abbott and Costello Show is a comedy program from the era of old-time radio in the United States. It was broadcast first on NBC and later on ABC, beginning July 3, 1940, and ending June 9, 1949.
Film stars Bud Abbott and Lou Costello adapted their talents to radio for this 30-minute weekly comedy program. Vincent Terrace, in his book, Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows, wrote, "Many of the skits revolved around Bud and Lou's efforts to succeed in some sort of business venture." The skits were often ones that they had used in their vaudeville act.
Popular culture scholar J. Fred MacDonald, in his book, Don't Touch That Dial!: Radio Programming in American Life, 1920-1960, wrote that the pair formed "one of the leading radio comedy acts throughout the 1940s." He noted that Abbott was the straight man, with Costello "the comedic force of the act."
Over the years, a number of people were regulars on the program, complementing the two stars primarily through participation in comedy skits. They included Sidney Fields, Artie Auerbach, Elvia Allman, Iris Adrian, Mel Blanc, Wally Brown, Sharon Douglas, Verna Felton, Lou Krogman, Pat McGeehan, Frank Nelson, Martha Wentworth and Benay Venuta.
Singers on the show included Amy Arnell, Connie Haines, Marilyn Maxwell, Susan Miller, and Marilyn Williams. Vocal groups were the Delta Rhythm Boys and The Les Baxter Singers. Orchestra leaders were Skinnay Ennis, Charles Hoff, Matty Matlock, Jack Meakin, Will Osborne, Freddie Rich, Leith Stevens and Peter van Steeden.
Abbott and Costello debuted on radio on Kate Smith's program in 1938. They continued performing on it until the summer of 1940. Their first program of their own was a summer replacement for The Fred Allen Show in 1940. After a hiatus of two years, the show returned as a regular network program in the fall of 1942 and ran through the spring of 1949. The schedule is shown in the table below.
|Starting date||Ending date||Network||Sponsor|
|July 3, 1940||September 25, 1940||NBC||Sal Hepatica|
|October 8, 1942||June 27, 1947||NBC||Camel cigarettes|
|October 1, 1947||June 9, 1949||ABC||sustaining|
Source: On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio
A related program, The Abbott and Costello Children's Show, was broadcast on ABC beginning December 6, 1947, and ending March 26, 1949. It was sustaining and featured child performers and included quizzes and games.
- Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.Pp. 2-3.
- Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. Pp. 5-7.
- Reinehr, Robert C. and Swartz, Jon D. (2008). The A to Z of Old-Time Radio. Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8108-7616-3. Pp. 11-12.
- MacDonald, J. Fred (1979). Don't Touch That Dial!: Radio Programming in American Life, 1920-1960'. Chicago: Nelson-Hall. pp. 150–151. ISBN 0-88229-673-6.
- Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 10.
- Hammerston, Claude (August 21, 1947). "Abbott And Costello In "Waxed" Radio Show". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 20 July 2016.