Saturday, May 7, 2011

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS - Mancini/Rosen/Stein/Skinner/Tansman - "Rocket and Roll" (1953)

I guess it's gonna be a Saturday Space Spectacular for a couple of weeks, so let's blast off!! If you've never seen tonight's feature "Abbott And Costello Go To Mars", then I do genuinely feel sorry for you, because even though it doesn't have a really cool soundtrack, it's just a great Abbott and Costello vehicle, and/or in this case, spaceship!

Bud Abbott is Lester, and Lou Costello is Orville. In this film they're not friends, partners, or relatives, but just two guys thrown together under some very unusual circumstances.

Davis S. Horsely was the man responsible for all the special photography, just as he did in almost all the other Abbott and Costello, Ma and Pa Kettle, Francis the Talking Mule flicks, and "This Island Earth!" David's Dad was actually the first person to open a movie studio in Hollywood, back in 1910!!

So of course our heroes find themselves inside of a rocket, and of course, they accidentally hit the launch button, and of course they zip low through New York before heading off into space!

Naturally when they land, they think they are on Mars, the planet...

....but in reality they landed just outside of New Orleans during the Mardi Gras celebration!!

Because it's Mardi Gras, everybody is in costume, so Bud and Lou think they are all Martians, and I'll tell you what, for my money, this is a brilliant concept! It would also have been a great opportunity to inject some swingin' Nawlins' jazz, but that's the only place they dropped the ball!

Horace McMahon as Mugsy and Jack Kruschen as Harry are the Abbott and Costello counterweights, having just escaped from prison and stumbled upon the rocket ship! Horace is the guy on the left, and you've seen that mug everywhere from being the bartender in the "Twilight Zone" episode, "Mr. Bevis" to being Glu Gluten in one of the "Batman" TV shows. Horace also did 13 episodes of the TV show "Mr. Broadway" as Hank McClure, and 113 episodes of "Naked City" as Lt. Michael 'Mike' Parker! Jack Kruschen was in everything from "War of the Worlds" to "The Million Dollar Duck" and was Eivol Ekdol in two "Batman" TV episodes!

Muggsy and Harry steal a couple of space suits from the rocket along with a freeze style ray gun, and rob a bank!

There's this great scene where they put all these bank employees into suspended animation! I can see it now, "Take 126, somebody blinked on that last shot!!"

Nice wax job on that squad car!

The boys blast off again, with Muggsy and Harry aboard, and actually go off into space this time! Before I run out of time I'll tell you that the music throughout "Abbott And Costello Go To Mars," is an amalgam of composers including Henry Mancini, Milton Rosen, Herman Stein, Frank Skinner, and Alexanders Tansman, and the only person who gets any credit was Joseph Gershenson as musical director! That's just the way it worked back then!

Now it's time to move on to the second stage of this crazy rocket ride, as the spaceship lands on Venus, not Mars, a place where once again, in that great "Catwomen of the Moon," "Missile to the Moon," and "Queen of Outer Space" tradition, there is an all female society, and there's not an ugly one in the bunch because they are all beauty queens of some ilk!

Here's the credit card for just some of these Miss Universe Beauties, that even includes "Miss Welcome to Long Beach" Jeri Miller!

Looks like a man's world to me!!! Mixed in there somewhere are also, Patti McKay, Anita Ekberg, and Jane Easton!

Orville stumbles into the girl's bathing area, and then is promptly arrested! How do you like those flesh tone bathing suits?

The amazon soldiers command special powers over the flying discus of death!

What a pair of beauties!!

They decide to crown Orville King!

The lovely Mari Blanchard had the part of Queen Allura! Mari was also in "She Devil," "Don't Knock The Twist," and "Twice Told Tales!" Sadly, Mari succumbed to cancer at the age of 43!

As you could well imagine, Orville is about to flunk the balloon test that he is given to test his sincerity of total commitment to one woman only, The Queen!

When they get kicked off of Venus, Orville tries to stowaway a few extra ladies for the trip back home, but the ship won't take off because it weighs too much, so he has to sadly leave them all behind!!

"Abbott and Costello Go To Mars" is one of my favourite movies, and is readily available on Netflix along with most of the whole Bud and Lou catalogue! I just want to know why it wasn't titled "Abbott and Costello Go To Venus!"

In the really sad news department, the mummified body of blonde vixen Yvette Vickers was discovered this last week. They say it looked like she had been dead for about a year! She had lived alone, and nobdy noticed! Yvette was in the two greatest 'Attack' movies of all time, "Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman," and "Attack Of The Giant Leeches!" She will be sorely missed!


TABONGA! said...

Makes me sick about Yvette - she did a narration track on the recent widescreen release of ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN on DVD, which is lots of fun!

ps - my parents took me to see ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS at the beautiful Tulare Theater in 1953, I was 5 years old...

Christopher said...

this was always one of my fave A&Cs..It could always do in a pinch...I never knew Yvette was the chatty gal on the phone at Jack Webb's new years eve party in Sunset Blvd.

crowleyiancanto said...

LOL...looking at these two in their stripey suits makes me wonder if the prequel wasn't "Abbott & Costello Go To Sing Sing".

Prof. Grewbeard said...

need to see this one again...

earmit said...

Looks an awful lot like SN15 to me...

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