Legends of Laughter: Abbott & Costello (Colgate Comedy Hour & Radio Shows) Review

Legends of Laughter: Abbott and Costello (Colgate Comedy Hour and Radio Shows)
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This is a collection of THE COLGATE COMEDY HOUR shows that were hosted by Abbott & Costello. Do not confuse this with their later filmed sit-com which is also out on DVD.
I think Abbott & Costello are seen at their best in these live performances, improvising as they go along. I have read stories that Lou was like this on the Universal set & the directors always tried to keep a camera focused on Lou in case they catch something ad-libbed. Watch Bud Abbott's reaction as Lou breaks the set, changes the lines or gets carried away.
This would have been a 5-star set, but there is a major problem with the second show in the set, IT IS MISSING 15 MINUTES at the 23:00 mark! The entire sequence with Abbott & Costello meeting the Frankenstein monster is missing. I have heard theories that this may have been removed by the DVD companies so as not to get into trouble with Universal, who owns the monster costume. But if that is the case, then why is it OK to include the movie trailer for A&C Meet Frankenstein? The monster appears in that trailer? I have an old EP VHS tape (hard to watch) which does include the missing portion.
Overall, they look good considering that the live performance was filmed off of a TV screen onto 16mm film (called kinoscoping), there was NO Video Tape in those days. So you have poor early TV Video cameras capturing the live image, and poor early TV sets playing it out to be filmed. This is the best you will get without any expensive computer cleaning up. You will enjoy it for all of the frantic live action, and the image will transport you back to 1951!
*** Note there is a menu error on disc #5, the shows are swapped ***
Disc #1 - 3 Colgate Comedy Hours (2 hours 50 minutes total)
01-07-51 Evlyn Knight & Howdy Doody (59:33)
03-11-51 Lon Chayney (44:58) *** this includes the Colgate commercials, so 15 minutes is missing!!!***
10-11-51 Phil Regan & Gale Storm (59:39)
Trailers: One Night In the Tropics & Buck Privates
Disc #2 - 3 Colgate Comedy Hours (2 hours 56 minutes total)
11-18-51 Luis Armstrong (58:16)
01-13-52 Errol Flynn & Rhonda Fleming (51:08) - no commercials -
04-06-52 Charles Laughton (59:36)
Trailers: In The Navy & Hold That Ghost
Disc #3 - 3 Colgate Comedy Hours (3 hours 04 minutes total)
05-04-52 Vera Zorina (58:28)
10-19-52 Lizabeth Scott (1:00:30) - odd that this runs over an hour -
12-14-52 Margaret Whiting (58:35)
Trailer: Keep 'em Flying
Disc #4 - 3 Colgate Comedy Hours (2 hours 56 minutes total)
01-11-53 Victor Borge (59:00)
04-26-53 Hoagy Carmichael (51:02) - missing commercials -
03-21-54 Les Paul & Mary Ford (58:00)
Trailers: Ride 'em Cowboy & Who Dunnit?
Disc #5 - 2 Colgate Comedy Hours, shorts & bloopers (3 hours 13 minutes)
04-18-54 Jane Russell (59:13) **note the disc menu erroneously calls this 04-25-53 Hoagy Carmichael**
05-23-54 Hoagy Carmichael (53:12) **note the disc menu erroneously calls this 04-18-54 Jane Russell** This is a different show from the one on disc #4.
Short: Autobiography of a Jeep 1943 (A & C only make a very brief cameo at 7:21, blink & you will miss them. This is a rare appearance of them with Laurel & Hardy!) (09:40)
Short: Army Navy Screen Magazine Mail Call 1942 - A&C perform the uncensored version of WHO'S ON FIRST at 4:00 into the short. (10:52)
BLOOPERS (34:40) from:
Pardon My Ski (production title for Hit The Ice, actual title card appears briefly)
Noose Hangs High
It Ain't Hay
Pardon My Sarong
Naughty Ninties
In Society
Here Come The Co-eds
TRAILERS (26:00):
In Society
In Hollywood
Lost In A Harem
Time of Their Lives
Whistful Woman of Wagon Gap
Meet Frankenstein
Meet The Killer
Meet The Invisible Man
Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Go to Mars
30 ft Bride of Candy Rock
Dance With Me Henry
Jack & The Beanstalk
Disc #6 - 2 movies & 17 Radio Shows
Africa Screams
Jack & The Beanstalk
17 Radio Episodes (audio only)
While most of this has been available before, it is great to have it compiled into one set.
11-23-52 Peggy Lee
11-01-53 Martin & Lewis (Bud Abbott is credited as hosting alone)
You will want to print this review as there are no liner notes or lists on the case.

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Hey-y-y-y-y, Ab-bott! Revel in the hilarity of this unique, star studded look at America s funniest funnymen of the 40s and 50s on radio, film & TV. Six-disc collector s set includes extremely rare bloopers from film and TV; 17 celebrity-studded episodes of The Abbott & Costello Show on radio (1942-49), a 1943 World War II PSA, The Autobiography of a Jeep ; the feature films Africa Screams (1949) and Jack and the Beanstalk (1952); 26 classic movie trailers, charting their careers from 1940-59; and 14 TV episodes, hosted by the duo, of the Colgate Comedy Hour (1951-54).

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