Thursday, October 27, 2022

Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy Through a "Kid's" Eyes

Honestly, I could have skipped posting about the Abbot and Costello films.
There aren't any running comments as we were too busy laughing and this one especially doesn't fit the continuity of the main series at all.

However, then these Universal Monster reviews would have ended before Halloween.  It always bugs me that every network shows great horror movies all through October, then stops stone dead on November first.

I need my horror year round! By including these two comedies, I can pass through the Halloween border!

We don't get Lon Chaney Jr., but we get his stuntman, and Captain Kang from Star Trek Michael Ansara. He was also the first Blue Djinn (and husband of the star) on I Dream of Jeannie years before Aladdin!

Because "1950's Hollywood" Ansara born in "Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon" (because of 1920's Western Governments) plays a guy named "Charlie" normally seen wearing a suit. In contrast, Mel Cooley from the Dick Van Dyke Show is featured as an Egyptian high priest.

Abbot and Costello knew what worked. Early on, because Buck Privates was a hit, many following films at that time featured them in the service. Hold that Ghost was an early picture, but after the rousing success meeting Frankenstein, many of their late films (of which this is the second to last original one) focused on Lou being terrified.

The movie starts off showing Dromedaries in the African Desert. This would be a step up from the actual Mummy films if it wasn't stock footage. Bactrian (Asian two humped) camels show up in the town square and later on when Bud and Lou ride one. 

The story begins with acrobats for no reason. There are later singers and dancers for equally little reason. The boys remembered their Burlesque roots.

Rosa was puzzled as how the Mummy could be alive when there were no Tana leaves mentioned. Mel does give "Klaris" a drink at one point. Maybe that was it.

There really isn't any connection to the Kharis saga, other than a live Mummy and the hidden tomb of his love.

Re-Watching this one makes me realize how much of an anomaly Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein is.  In that movie, Bud and Lou are funny guest stars in a standard Universal Monster flick. Here, it's a normal Abbot and Costello film with monsters, where the Mummy is much more like the general perception the public has of the character, than an accurate recreation of those films.
Sometimes the monsters are really strange ones. In order to enhance the comedy of Lou fleeing multiple objects, the tomb features a bat, skeletons, and a giant lizard for no adequately explained purposes.

The Mummy walks and moves very much like a normal human, plus it doesn't really show any emotions except roaring. That allows it to fit in the frenetic pace of this kind of story. It's clear by his absence how much emotion and terror Lon Chaney Jr. really brought to every monster he played.

I wonder if the people in the older films would have had success using a blackjack on their mummies?

In any event, it's an Abbot and Costello movie, and the word play, routines and physical antics were all top notch and hilarious.  

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