Wednesday, October 27, 2010
HOLD THAT GHOST
Hold That Ghost was Abbott and Costello's third movie in which they were the actual stars of the movie. It would have been their second, but Universal, hoping to piggyback on the success of Buck Privates, shelved Hold That Ghost and released In The Navy as their next A&C feature. Hold That Ghost was directed by Arthur Lubin who trained an extra camera exclusively on Lou Costello, since Costello was prone to a lot of improvisation. This allowed Lubin to get some great shots that otherwise would have been missed by other directors. It's rumored that without the success of Lubin's Abbott and Costello movies Universal might have gone bankrupt.
Hold That Ghost stars A&C as a couple of gas station attendants, who due to a couple of misadventures wind up inheriting a dead gangster's old country inn. Along with some other passengers on a small bus, they all get stranded at the inn and must spend the night in the spooky old house. The inn appears to be haunted, but it's actually just everyone trying to find the money the dead gangster supposedly stashed there. All of this, of course, sets up for lots of comic moments from A&C with the added pleasure of actress Joan Davis, playing off Costello as if they had been working together for years.
Although I was watching Hold That Ghost because the title lent itself to be included in my Halloween movies, I was pleasantly surprised to find some great musical numbers included in the production. The movie is book-ended with music, beginning with Ted (Is Everybody Happy?) Lewis singing "When My Baby Smiles At Me" and "Me and My Shadow". Ted then introduces The Andrew Sisters who sing "Sleepy Serenade". At the end of Hold That Ghost, when A&C own their own nightclub, The Andrew Sisters, in a big production number, sing "Aurora". I always enjoy hearing The Andrew Sisters and Ted Lewis had an infectious manner which I found appealing.
Although my favorite A&C Halloween movie is and always will be Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, Hold That Ghost was definitely good enough that I will be watching it again next year when I drag out my favorite Halloween films.