There was a local TV channel that played an Abbott and Costello Movie every Sunday when I was growing up. I watched them all, but I didn’t realize how many of them there were. Seems there were about 37 Abbott and Costello movies and they must have worked the Who’s On First routine into at least half of them. Without doubt, Who’s On First is the greatest bit Abbott and Costello ever did.
My favorite Abbott and Costello films are the ones with the Universal Monsters scaring our heroes as they go about their evil deeds. I also loved Abbott and Costello Go To Mars-where they end up on Venus surrounded by beautiful women. Of course, that was part of the joke, these two oddballs were always surrounded by beautiful women.
Who’s On First was Abbott and Costello’s best comedy bit. But I liked just about everything they did. The wonderfully silly bits of business that make up their films helped make me a small comic in school. I could recite most of Who’s On First, and being tall and skinny, felt I made a pretty good Abbott. It was tough to find a good Costello to do the other half of Who’s On First. It was kind of schizophrenic to do Who’s On First by yourself.
Costello: Are you the manager?
Costello: You gonna be the coach too?
Costello: And you don’t know the fellows’ names?
Abbott: Well I should.
Costello: Well then who’s on first?
Costello: I mean the fellow’s name.
Costello: The guy on first.
Costello: The first baseman.
Costello: The guy playing…
Abbott: Who is on first!
I saw a pair of skeletons doing the Who’s On First routine that had re-worded the routine to be Who’s on The First Slab, What’s on The Second Slab, and I Don’t Know What’s on the Third Slab. It was a pretty funny bit of business, but it was not really as good as the original.