Tonight on MeTV, we kick off our month-long celebration – “FrankenFest”- with our annual showing of one of our most requested films- and the perfect way to start our Halloween season! Universal’s top comedy team for many years- who had lost some of their box office power- teamed up with some of Universal’s classic monsters ( who had also been in decline) to stage an amazing comeback for them all! You get two of the classic monsters, played by the men who established them as horror legends- as well as the Frankenstein Monster! Bud Abbott and Lou Costello preside over this monster mash in what is often referred to as one of the best horror comedies of all time- "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein"!
Our film begins with two over-worked railroad baggage clerks, Chick and Wilbur, struggling to unload their latest shipments and , as usual, causing most of their own problems. Wilbur’s latest girlfriend, a stunning woman named Sandra, drops by to visit her beau- with Chick is dumbfounded as to why this beauty who is obviously way out of Wilbur’s league, might be attracted to his little pal. The phone in the place never seems to stop ringing- and when Wilbur answers the latest call, it’s long distance from London! On the line is someone the boys are not familiar with (but we most certainly are)- it’s Larry Talbot, the man cursed to become a werewolf when the moon is full! Unfortunately he is calling just as the full moon rises, and Talbot transforms into the man-beast before he can deliver a desperate warning to the boys. As if things at the station are not hectic enough, Mr. McDougal, an abrasive customer arrives to harass the boys, demanding that they drop everything ( NEVER say that to Costello!) to deliver a couple boxes from their latest shipment to his “house of horrors” exhibition. , He actually might be spared a lot of trouble if Talbot had completed his warning to Wilbur, because these items he feels will be a sensational attraction for his business- supposedly the authentic coffin of Count Dracula, and –the body of the REAL Frankenstein Monster– are, unbeknownst to him, entirely TOO real! The supposedly worldly Chick isn’t buying that story, but, regardless, promises he and Wilbur will make the delivery that evening.
It just happens to be a dark and stormy night as the boys work the late shift to bring the items to McDougal’s “House of Horrors”- the perfect setting for the nervous Wilbur to learn –to his dismay- that the display pieces are indeed authentic! True to form with these two guys, he can’t convince Chick that they are dealing with the real deals- Chick thinks it’s all in Wilbur’s limited and superstitious mind. Count Dracula, meanwhile, rises from his coffin ( or, his “bunk”, as Lou refers to it) and , freeing the Monster from his crate, makes his escape from the museum- taking the creature composed of human parts with him, and leaving Wilbur in a trance, Chick aggravated, and the new “House of Horrors” attractions gone! Arriving after the fact, the furious McDougal thinks the baggage handlers have stolen his valuable exhibits and wants them put in jail!
The next stop for Dracula and the Monster is an castle sanctuary on an island, in which the laboratory notes of the original Dr. Frankenstein are in the hands of a renowned surgeon. Shockingly, that surgeon is none other than Wilbur’s beautiful girlfriend- Sandra! The real reason for her interest in the chubby fellow is now revealed- she plans to transplant his easily- manipulated brain into the Monster- thus making the powerful creature easier to command, and the perfect pawn for Count Dracula!
Back on the mainland,Wilbur and Chick have been bailed out of jail by a woman. They assume it was Sandra- until a pretty blonde stranger named Joan shows up, and reveals that it was she! Little do the boys realize that Joan is working undercover with McDougal’s insurance company, investigating the supposed theft of his property, in hopes of recovering the missing display items. Meanwhile, coincidence of coincidences- the boys run into Larry Talbot, who has just arrived from England, and taken the apartment across the hall from theirs- and must enlist the boys to aid him in finding the two evil creatures of legend, before Dracula carries out his scheme , and can control the powerful Monster for his evil schemes!
Wilbur, with two lovelies both apparently wanting to spend time with him, decides to have Joan AND Sandra join him for a big masquerade ball, leaving Chick as a fourth wheel, hoping to make time with at least one of the ladies. They head to the island castle to pick up Sandra- and while waiting for the girls to finish powdering their noses, answer the castle phone -a habit Wilbur needs to break, because it’s Talbot on the line, claiming the Monster and Dracula must be in the very castle they are in! The boys decide to search the place, stumbling onto a hidden lower chamber where Wilbur again encounters the monsters- and just like at McDougal’s, still can't convince Chick that he's actually found them! When they return to the main level, the girls are ready to go- and Sandra introduces them to her associate, Dr. Leighos- who appears to be the spitting (or biting?) image of Count Dracula! He encourages his visitors and co-workers to go have a good time at the masquerade ball- using his powers to convince the now-reluctant Sandra to continue their plan, even though she feels it is too dangerous after having spotted Joan snooping around the Frankenstein papers.
The ball seems to be a must-attend destination for everyone in the area- that includes nasty Mr. McDougal; Doctor Leighos dressed in a spot-on Dracula “costume”; and the always less than festive Larry Talbot. The party degenerates into a frantic catastrophe that puts Chick and Wilbur in peril- leading the group back to the island castle, where Sandra prepares her supposed boyfriend for the brain transplant- with the Frankenstein Monster restored to full and dangerous power – and the rising full moon having the usual effect on Talbot , pitting Wolf Man against vampire- and the Monster on the loose in pursuit of Wilbur and Chick!
This classic Universal picture started not only Abbott and Costello’s comeback, but the trend of Bud and Lou meeting other Universal horrors. We’ll give you some background on the production, introduce key cast members- and add in some Sven fun to usher in the full month of “FrankenFest”!
"Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" runs tonight on MeTV at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central- and, if you're unsure of the channel or time of the broadcast where you are, please consult your local listings or www.metv.com . Remember to join the Sven viewers onTwitter who live-Tweet during the show (no matter what time zone you view us in) - using the hashtag #svengoolie. In Chicago, viewers get a second helping of “Blood of Dracula” at 11 am on our main local station- CW26.
Join us- and a full compliment of comedians and creatures- as we begin “FrankenFest” tonight on MeTV!