The Abbott and Costello TV Show is timeless American humor, as fresh today as it was 40 years ago. All the classic routines which "the boys" performed on film, radio and stage, were captured in 1952-1953 for the new medium of television and delivered at the peak of their powers. The regular cast of characters, including Mr. Fields, Mike the Cop, Stinky, Bacciagalupe and Hillary, had worked with Bud and Lou on film and stage and each contributed memorably. These shows stand today as perhaps the finest surviving representation of the art of burlesque comedy.
Television (1953) Bacciagalupe installs a TV set in the boys' apartment so Lou can watch the "Hold That Cuckoo" quiz show. Hillary babysits Bingo the Chimp so Bud and Lou can go on the show. Incredibly, Lou answers the questions right, but the grand prize is a box of bubble gum! Back home, Lou spits out his gum, and drunken John Rednose promptly trips on it. He sues landlord Fields, and in the wildest courtroom scene ever, the boys burlesque the entire judicial system. Hillary's two girlfriends testify they're "positive, positive, positive" Rednose is guilty, and the judge closes the case with a gavel to Lou's head. The Haunted House (1953) Hillary asks Bud and Lou to spend the night in the haunted castle she's inherited from her Uncle Montague. Lawyer Melonhead says if she doesn't, she loses everything, and he gets it. In a non-stop parade of creepy comedy, Lou has run-ins with a gorilla, floating candles, ghosts and secret panels. Even strange echoes try to scare him away. While studying the map to the hidden treasure, the lovesick ape grabs Lou. But Melonhead's attempts to scare them away fail, and the gorilla even joins the boys' act. The Vacation (1952) The boys plan a restful vacation at the Biltmore Hotel near Phoenix. After painfully explaining to Lou what a "Hertz U-Drive" is, Bud takes Lou to Sporty Fields store to stock up for vacation. Lou creates havoc everywhere, even driving a motorboat through the store. At home, Bud's fears that the landlord will rent their apartment while they're gone has him pack and unpack repeatedly. After a long goodbye to Hillary, the boys pack up the obstinate car and consult the map. Lou drives 100 yards down the street to the Biltmore Hotel, next to the Phoenix Cafe! South of Dixie (1953) Lou's lovesick again! This time it's an aspiring actress who moves into the boy's rooming house. Lou overhears her rehearsing a violent scene with an actor, and crashes into her apartment to save her. Impressed with his moving performance, she drafts Lou, Bud and Fields into the southern drama. The result bears little resemblance to the planned play, as it becomes filled with Abbott & Costello routines. With Lou as a zany Union soldier, the boys prove to be true uncivil warriors.