Stay Home with Old-Time Radio: The Abbott and Costello Program

Showbiz veterans Bud Abbott and Lou Costello hit the big time with the huge success of their second film, Buck Privates in 1941 launching the duo into the stratosphere of popularity few could achieve in the 1940s. Landing their own weekly radio stint, The Abbott and Costello Program in 1942 was another way they could deliver their brand of entertainment to an eager audience. Today I offer a collection of episodes of The Abbott and Costello Program as my own to those of you who enjoy radio- especially during these trying times.

Abbott and Costello’s first radio work was on The Kate Smith Hour where they performed their rapid-fire repartee regularly for two years starting in 1938. In 1940, Bud and Lou worked their magic on a summer replacement show for Fred Allen followed by The Chase and Sanborn Hour with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Two of their films were adapted for Lux Radio Theatre garnering the same kind of attention the duo received at box offices everywhere. The Abbott and Costello Program, a mix of comedy routines interwoven with musical numbers, followed these appearances. As you will see from the episodes I have included here, there were also plenty of opportunities for some of the biggest stars to take part in the fun. You might notice that I did not include Abbott and Costello’s most famous routine, “Who’s on First?” and that is because I discussed that in the entry dedicated to Jean Yarbrough’s The Naughty Nineties (1945) in which they reprised the routine.

The Abbott and Costello Program was among the most popular shows of the decade running from 1942 through 1949 on NBC and later ABC. The program had several regulars throughout the decade as well as a few orchestras. This program should not be confused with The Abbott and Costello Children’s Show, which aired simultaneously from late 1947 through March 1949. In 1952, three years after the radio program ended, Bud and Lou, debuted their own show on television with The Abbott and Costello Show, which ran two seasons and is still enjoyable to watch. That’s worthy of its own blog entry, but for now we concentrate on radio hoping you enjoy these episodes and that they serve as a distraction from the news.

Bud and Lou working on CBS radio in 1938.

 

  • Bank Robbery featuring Marlene Dietrich:

 

  • Knights in Shining Armor featuring Merle Oberon:

 

  • Hunting Guide with Claire Trevor:

 

  • Lana Turner appears for some shenanigans:

 

  • Silk Stockings with Lucille Ball:

 

Veteran entertainers, radio suited Abbott and Costello’s style of comedy perfectly

 

  • A Trip to Palm Beach with Veronica Lake:

 

  • Spanish Acting School:

 

  • A visit to Peter Lorre’s Sanitarium:

 

  • Robinson Crusoe featuring Charles Laughton:

 

Looking over the script for a radio show

 

  • Making a Movie with Dorothy Lamour:

 

  • Preparing for Elsa Maxwell’s Party:

 

  • At the Circus with Alan Hale:

 

  • A Psychiatrist for Costello with Linda Darnell:

 

  • Lou inherits eight hundred thousand dollars:

 

  • Alan Ladd at the Radio Station:

 

Bud and Lou for NBC radio

 

  • Cary Grant guest stars:

 

  • Driving lesson with Marilyn Maxwell:

 

  • Frank Sinatra appears as guest:

 

  • Trying to hire frequent guests, The Andrews Sisters:

 

6 thoughts

  1. Fantastic thanks Aurora I posted it- the Lana Turner show is when Lou went on air after his son died as he wanted his son to hear him wherever he was…Lana was in tears during the broadcast but the show is amazing as you would never know from the performances..

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  2. This is amazing!! I never heard the radio shows, I can’t wait to listen. My dad had bought VHS tapes of the TV series and we’d watch them all the time. Hilarious stuff! Thank you very much for sharing these treasures.

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