Tonight on MeTV, it’s one of our most requested films- in fact, we heard from several viewers who were disappointed that we did not run it on Halloween! It features an all star roster of the Universal monsters, as well as the duo who were Universal’s top comedy team for many years- in fact, this film actually returned them to the limelight when their careers had been waning! You get two of the classic monsters, both played by the men who established them as horror legends- as well as the creature most people think of when they hear the word “monster”- the Frankenstein Monster! With Bud Abbott and Lou Costello as the glue that holds this monster mash together we present what many consider to be the favorite horror comedy of all time- "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein"!
We begin by catching Chick and Wilbur at work- two over-worked railroad baggage clerks, struggling to unload their latest shipments and causing most of their own problems. Wilbur has an additional- though welcome- distraction when his latest girlfriend, a knockout named Sandra, drops by- and Chick is dumbfounded, unable to see why she is attracted to him, since this beauty is obviously way out of Wilbur’s league. Meanwhile, the phone never seems to stop ringing- this time with a long distance call 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 it just so happens to BE full at the moment, transforming Talbot before he can completely deliver a dire warning to the boys. To top off the turmoil at the station, one Mr. McDougal, an abrasive customer (who actually might have benefitted if only Talbot had completed his warning) 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. These items are what 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! Chick isn’t buying that story, but he and Wilbur promise to take care of it that evening.
It just happens to be a dark and stormy night as the boys work the late shift to make the delivery to McDougal’s “House of Horrors”- the perfect setting for the nervous Wilbur to learn –to his dismay- that the display pieces are definitely authentic ! Naturally, 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 makes his escape- along with the Monster- from the museum- leaving Wilbur in a trance, Chick aggravated, and McDougal minus his new attractions! 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 island castle sanctuary, in which the laboratory notes of the original Dr. Frankenstein are in the hands of a renowned surgeon. Surprisingly, that surgeon is none other than Wilbur’s beautiful girlfriend- Sandra! This finally explains her interest in the chubby fellow- she has great plans for him; she will 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, we find Wilbur and Chick have been bailed out of jail by a woman they assume 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 must enlist the boys to aid him in finding the two evil creatures of legend, before Dracula carries out his scheme , and can use the powerful Monster in his evil plans!
Wilbur,with two lovelies 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- only to find it’s Talbot on the line, claiming the Monster and Dracula must be in the 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 in McDougal’s, still can't convince Chick that he's actually found them! When they return up 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 reluctant Sandra to continue their plan, even though she feels it is too dangerous, 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 letter-perfect Dracula “costume”; and the 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 Wilbur ends up being prepared for the brain transplant- while the Frankenstein Monster is restored to full and dangerous power – and the rising full moon has the usual effect on Talbot , pitting the Wolf Man against the vampire- and the Monster on the loose in pursuit of Wilbur and Chick!
This classic Universal picture revived not only the careers of Bud and Lou but also the studio's near-dormant monster roster. The film’s success resulted in a few more films with the boys meeting other Universal horrors. Watch along with us, as we give you some background on the production, introduce key cast members- and add in some Sven fun!
"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 many Tweeters who live-Tweet during the show ( no matter what time zone you view us in) on Twitter- using the hashtag #svengoolie. In Chicago, viewers get a second helping of the stop-motion Ray Harryhausen magic that is the "Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" at 11 am on our main local channel, CW26.
Now is a great time to visit the store here on our site- check out those Sven coffee mugs that are the latest hit among our merchandise- and- you just might want to check the store again next week for some Black Friday surprises!
Join us tonight for the perfect mix of movie monsters and mirth – you’ll always remember that you saw what you saw when you saw it!