- "Now that we've seen the last of Dracula, the Wolf Man, and the Monster, there's nobody to frighten us anymore."
- ―Chick Young
|Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein|
|Title:||Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein|
|Directed by:||Charles Barton|
|Written by:||Robert Lees|
Frederic I. Rinaldo
|Produced by:||Robert Arthur|
|Music by:||Frank Skinner|
|Cinematography:||Charles Van Enger|
|Edited by:||Frank Gross|
|Distributed by:||Universal International|
|Released:||June 15th, 1948|
|Running time:||83 min.|
|Previous:||Hold That Ghost & House of Frankenstein|
|Next:||Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff|
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is a 1948 horror comedy directed by Charles Barton. One of Universal's more popular films, this movie blends genres by bringing together all three classic Universal Monsters; Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Monster and pairs them up against the burlesque comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Prior to this film, the only cross-genre project that Abbott and Costello worked on together was the 1941 spooky ghost comedy Hold That Ghost, which incorporated classic gaffs that were revisited in this film. Bud and Lou would go on to face more classic horror icons in future films including the Invisible Man, the Mummy, Doctor Jekyll & Mister Hyde, and even the "killer", Boris Karloff. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is also notable for being the last appearance of the Universal Pictures versions of Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Monster.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Chick & Wilbur[edit | edit source]
In La Mirada, Florida, Chick Young and Wilbur Grey work as baggage handlers at a packing station. A woman comes in to claim her luggage, and Wilbur bumbles through the process, resulting in a pile of boxes falling down on top of his head. His partner, Chick, yells at him and tells him to clean the mess up. Wilbur's girlfriend, Sandra Mornay, arrives and is concerned that Wilbur might have hurt himself. She is very worried about his health. Chick doesn't understand what a "classy dame" like Sandra might see in a chubby goofball like Wilbur.
After retrieving the woman's grip, Wilbur receives a telephone call from London. Larry Talbot warns him not to open the two crates addressed to McDougal's House of Horrors. He tries to explain further, but the moon rises and Talbot transforms into the Wolf Man. Wilbur cannot understand anything coming over the telephone lines. He hangs up and goes to the service desk when Mister McDougal arrives. McDougal is irate for having to wait five minutes for service and demands to see his crates. He explains to Sandra, who is standing nearby, that he has acquired the remains of the original Dracula and Frankenstein Monster. Sandra seems unimpressed with McDougal's purchases. Wilbur goes into the warehouse and knocks over a giant wooden crate containing McDougal's displays. This makes McDougal even more incensed, and he demands Chick and Wilbur to personally deliver the crates to his House of Horrors. He tells them that he is bringing an insurance agent with him to inspect the crates for damage.
Chick and Wilbur arrive at McDougal's House of Horror. They uncrate the box containing Dracula's coffin and instantly Wilbur begins to worry. Chick instructs him to fold up a canvas while he goes back outside to retrieve the crate containing the Frankenstein Monster. Wilbur begins reading a placard detailing a brief history of Dracula. While reading it, Dracula begins to slowly open his coffin. The sound of the creaking scares Wilbur and he calls out for Chick. Chick returns to the room, but dismisses Wilbur's fears. He thinks the placard he is reading is stimulating his imagination. He goes back outside. Wilbur continues reading until he hears the coffin creaking again. Looking towards it, he sees Dracula's hand emerging from beneath the lid. He calls out for Chick again, but by the time he returns, Dracula shrinks back into his coffin. Chick yells at Wilbur and tells him to put this nonsense out of his head. He goes back to work outside. This same antic repeats itself two more times, but Dracula manages to get out of his coffin while Wilbur is turned away. When Chick comes back into the showroom, he decides to settle the nonsense once and for all. He opens Dracula's coffin, which is now empty.
The two men then get to work on uncrating the Frankenstein Monster. This time it is Chick who reads the placard and Wilbur grows scared again. As they start to remove the packing material, Wilbur sees the face of the Frankenstein monster and begins whimpering.
McDougal and his insurance agent show up and demand to know why all of the lights are turned out. Chick goes up front to greet them and helps them adjust the fuse box to turn the lights back on. While all of this is going on, Dracula emerges and Wilbur encounters him face to face. Dracula hypnotizes Wilbur and has him stand silently in the corner. He then withdraws a small mechanical device and attaches it to either side of the neck of the Frankenstein Monster. The monster awakens and Dracula orders him to pick up his coffin and follow him. By the time McDougal and Chick come into the room, the monsters are gone. McDougal blames Chick and Wilbur for stealing his exhibits and has them arrested.
"I saw what I saw when I saw it!"[edit | edit source]
Dracula goes to a nearby castle on an island occupied by Doctor Sandra Mornay. Having been expecting the Count, she invites him inside. He tells her that he has recovered the Frankenstein Monster, and wishes to fully revive him so that he may assume full control over the creature. However, he doesn't want a rampaging, uncontrollable monster, and requires Mornay's scientific prowess to supply him with a new brain. Mornay has just the perfect brain in mind; one that is pliable with no sense of willpower -- the brain of Wilbur Grey. This is the reason why Sandra has gone to such lengths to keep in close contact with Wilbur.
Meanwhile, Chick and Wilbur have been bailed out of jail and have returned to their hotel room. Wilbur insists that he had seen Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster, but Chick still doesn't believe him. Moments later, Larry Talbot arrives at the hotel. He goes to their room and introduces himself, indicating that he was the one who called from London warning them against opening the crates containing Dracula and the monster's bodies. Wilbur naturally believes everything that Talbot says, but Chick thinks he's a screwball. Talbot knows that the moon will soon rise and tells the two that he has rented the room across the hall. He begs Wilbur to lock him in his room until morning. Wilbur finds it to be a strange request, but agrees nonetheless. Once inside, Talbot prepares to transform into the Wolf Man.
Wilbur returns to his room and sees that Larry forgot his luggage. He brings the grip back to Talbot's room, but Lawrence appears to be gone. He sits the bag down and writes Talbot a note. As he prepares to leave, the Wolf Man comes through the bathroom doorway and begins silently stalking him. Wilbur manages to leave the room unaware that a werewolf was getting ready to lunge at him.
The following day, Mister McDougal goes to Shippers Insurance, Inc. to lodge a complaint. He tells the manager that Chick and Wilbur got out of jail. The manager introduces him to the woman responsible for their release -- Joan Raymond. Joan tells McDougal that she arranged for their bail so that she could get closer to Wilbur in the hopes of learning more about what really happened to his exhibits.
Back at the hotel, Sandra Mornay stops at Chick and Wilbur's hotel room to check on them. Chick thanks Sandra for bailing them out, but Sandra confesses that she had nothing to do with it and only learned of their arrest a short time ago. She turns to Wilbur and reminds him about the masquerade ball that he had agreed to take her to. She tells him to pick her up at sunset -- alone. Sandra leaves, but moments later, Joan Raymond arrives. Joan tells Chick and Wilbur that she bailed them out of jail because she is in love with Wilbur. Chick absolutely cannot understand how someone like Wilbur Grey could possibly earn the attention of two attractive young women. When Joan learns that Wilbur has plans to go to a masquerade ball, she asks him to take her. Wilbur neglects to mention that he already has a date with Sandra and Joan leaves to go buy a costume. Chick is irritated and tries to get Wilbur to let him date one of the girls. Wilbur doesn't see things quite the same way Chick does however and decides to take both Joan and Sandra to the ball.
The two men prepare to leave when Wilbur suddenly remembers about Larry Talbot. He unlocks the door to Talbot's room and finds the place in shambles. He wakes Talbot whom he finds sleeping on the couch. Larry tries to tell them about how he first became a werewolf, but even Wilbur is finding it difficult to believe Talbot's ranting. He reiterates the need to destroy Dracula and Frankenstein and tells Wilbur, "You and I have a date with destiny..." to which Wilbur replies, "Let Chick go with destiny".
Hunting for Monsters[edit | edit source]
- "Young people making the most of life - while it lasts."
- ―Doctor Lejos
That evening, Chick, Wilbur and Joan go to the castle laboratory where Sandra lives and works. They are greeted at the door by her assistant, Professor Stevens. Stevens invites them in and has them wait in the library for Sandra. When Sandra arrives, she is perturbed that Wilbur didn't come alone like she asked. Wilbur introduces Sandra to Joan Raymond and the two women instantly distrust one another. However, in the interest of being a polite host, Sandra invites Joan into a back parlor to powder her nose.
Left alone, Chick and Wilbur begin bickering over the Sandra/Joan situation. Suddenly a telephone rings and they decide to answer it. The caller turns out to be Larry Talbot. He asks for a man named Doctor Lejos, but soon discovers that he is talking to Wilbur. Talbot tells Wilbur that a lot of bizarre electrical equipment has been secretly shipped to the castle to the attention of a Doctor Lejos; the same sort of equipment used to revive the Frankenstein Monster. He suspects that they are currently inside the castle of Dracula. Upon hearing this, Wilbur instantly takes off for the door, but Chick stops him. Chick is fed up with all of these stories and wants to get to the bottom of this once and for all. He tells Wilbur that together the two of them will search the entire castle top to bottom to prove that there is no such thing as Dracula or Frankenstein.
Wilbur checks a door and finds that it leads down a wooden staircase into an underground grotto. He quickly shuts the door and tells Chick that it’s nothing but a broom closet. Chick doesn't believe him and forces Wilbur through the door and down the stairs. Wilbur finds a revolving door that leads into a secret room, which contains the inert body of the Frankenstein Monster. He unwittingly sits in the monster's lap until the creature begins to stir, at which point, Wilbur shrieks and begins running. While spinning about the chamber, he catches sight of Count Dracula. He races up the stairs and finds Chick and tells him everything that he had just seen. Chick follows him downstairs but the two creatures are gone. Wilbur accidentally goes through the revolving door and encounters the monsters again. Everyone runs about until Wilbur finally meets back up with Chick. As before, Chick doesn't believe anything that Wilbur says.
Meanwhile, Sandra and Joan are getting ready for the party. Joan begins snooping around Sandra's room and comes upon an old book entitled The Secrets of Life and Death by Dr. Frankenstein. Sandra sees Joan leafing through the book and grows suspicious. She rifles through Joan's purse and finds her ID, indicating her employment as an insurance agent.
Sandra and Joan go downstairs where they meet Wilbur and Chick. As the four talk, they are greeted by Doctor Lejos. Wilbur doesn't recognize Lejos as Dracula. Lejos is very pleased to meet Wilbur and tells Sandra that he approves of her choice. The others don't know the true meaning behind Lejos' statement. Professor Stevens enters the room and begins asking Lejos some pointed questions about his experiments. Lejos dodges the questions by suggesting that Stevens should accompany the others to the masquerade ball. Professor Stevens, having developed a fondness for Joan Raymond, agrees to go. Sandra on the other hand, suddenly comes down with a surprise headache and says that she cannot go. Lejos insists, but Sandra declines and says that she must go straight to bed.
Dracula follows her upstairs, demanding to know what is going on. Sandra tells him that they must postpone the operation. There are too many things happening at once. She tells him about Joan being an insurance investigator and that Wilbur was snooping about in the basement. Dracula refuses to postpone the experiment, so Sandra tosses him Doctor Frankenstein's journal, telling him to "perform the operation yourself". Having had enough of Doctor Mornay's impertinence, Dracula hypnotizes her, and then bites her on the throat.
The Masquerade[edit | edit source]
- "I want to be in your blood."
- ―Sandra Mornay
At the masquerade party, Chick and Wilbur run into Mister McDougal, who is dressed up like a devil. McDougal is still angry at them for the business with his exhibits and pushes Wilbur down to the ground. Chick threatens to press charges, but McDougal counters by telling him that the charges won't stick since it would be his word against there's. Chick grabs a passing party guest dressed as a knight and asks him to serve as a witness. He then dares McDougal to attack Wilbur again. He pushes him down a second time, but unfortunately, the knight's visor slams shut and he doesn't see a thing.
Soon after, Chick and Wilbur run into Larry Talbot. Talbot asks them about Doctor Lejos and wants to know if he is really Count Dracula as he suspected. Chick brushes him off and Wilbur comes out wearing his masquerade costume. He gives Chick his costume, which consists of a wolf's mask. Larry asks him not to wear it and reminds the two that he is a werewolf.
A short time later, Doctor Lejos arrives at the party with Sandra. She is completely under his thrall. Talbot recognizes him immediately and addresses him as Dracula. Lejos says that he is merely wearing a costume. Wilbur notices Sandra acting strangely. She asks him to take a private walk with her. Wilbur cuts his finger on a rose thorn and Sandra grows enticed by the sight of his blood. She leans over to bite him, but Chick and Larry show up and Sandra runs off. They tell Wilbur that Joan has gone missing and they go looking for her.
While searching through the forest, the moon rises and Talbot turns back into the Wolf Man. He tracks down Wilbur Grey and leaps to attack him, but gets stuck between two trees. Wilbur sees him, but thinks that it is Chick wearing his masquerade mask. He punches the Wolf Man in the face and tells "Chick" to take the mask off. He circles around and kicks him in the backside. The Wolf Man frees himself and lunges. Wilbur now realizes that something is definitely wrong with the man he believes to be Chick Young.
As the evening wears on, party guests hear McDougal screaming for help. They rush to his side and find him bleeding from the throat. He tells them he was attacked by someone dressed as a wolf. Chick comes over and when McDougal sees him holding his wolf mask, he instantly accuses him of trying to kill him. Wilbur arrives next and wants to know why Chick tried taking a bite out of him in the woods. McDougal announces that Wilbur is an accomplice and they both take off running in opposite directions. As Wilbur runs back into the forest, he runs into Dracula. Dracula turns into a bat and begins chasing him. He runs to the dock where he finds a hypnotized Joan Raymond sitting in a boat. Dracula flies about him just as Chick arrives on the scene. He transforms from a bat back into a man and Chick now finally sees what Wilbur has been talking about the whole time. Both men faint at the sight of the vampire.
To the Castle[edit | edit source]
- "Sandra's gonna use my brain to make a bigger dummy outta the other dummy!"
- ―Wilbur Grey
The following morning, Chick Young awakens and eventually comes upon Larry Talbot. He tells him that McDougal was attacked by a wolf last evening and that he's mounted a search. Talbot confesses that he must have been the one who attacked him. Chick tells Larry that Dracula took Wilbur and Joan to his island. The two men find a boat and go to Dracula's castle.
Hours later, Wilbur awakens inside a pair of stocks in the dungeon in Dracula's castle. Dracula emerges from his coffin and has Sandra prepare Wilbur for surgery. Wilbur tries to talk her out of it, but Sandra cannot defy the will of Dracula. She tells him that she is going to take Wilbur's brain and transplant it into the body of the monster. Professor Stevens confronts Dracula and wants to know why Joan Raymond is lying unconscious in Sandra's room. Sandra comes up behind him and clubs him over the head. Believing him dead, Dracula orders Sandra to dispose of Stevens' body.
Chick and Larry arrive and free Wilbur. They find Professor Stevens and revive him. As they bring him outside, Stevens tells them that Joan is still inside. Dracula and Sandra soon learn about their captives' escape and Dracula uses his powers to hypnotize Wilbur from a distance. He orders him to return to the castle. In a daze, Wilbur skips back to the castle. The others meanwhile, manage to rescue Joan, but when they cannot find Wilbur, they determine that he is back inside the laboratory. Stevens elects to stay with Joan and Chick returns to the castle.
Wilbur is strapped down to an operating table while the Frankenstein Monster is tied down to a similar table right next to him. Sandra prepares to cut into Wilbur's brain. Chick and Larry burst into the lab and Larry pulls Sandra away from Wilbur. Chick keeps Dracula at bay with an upended chair. He leans back to swing the chair, but unwittingly hits Sandra. Afterward, he runs out of the lab. Larry tries to free Wilbur, but as the full moon rises, he transforms back into the Wolf Man. Dracula and the Wolf Man begin playing a game of tug of war with Wilbur's gurney. Pushing Wilbur aside, the Wolf Man takes off after Dracula who runs out of the room.
Meanwhile, the Frankenstein Monster awakens and breaks free of his bonds. Climbing down from the operating table, he lumbers over towards Wilbur. Sandra revives and bars the monster's path, ordering him to turn back. The monster scoops Sandra up into his arms and hurls her through the laboratory window. Chick races into the lab while the monster is distracted and frees Wilbur. The monster then begins shambling after them and they run out of the room. They race into another room and try to barricade the door, but this tactic fails and the monster continues to chase them. Wilbur finds a black tablecloth and uses it as a cape. Pretending to be Dracula, Wilbur is able to momentarily distract the creature.
Meanwhile, Dracula continues to fend off the rampaging Wolf Man. The Wolf Man chases him out onto a balcony and Dracula attempts to escape by transforming into a bat. The Wolf Man leaps off the balcony, grabbing Dracula in bat-form and the two plunge down into the waters far below.
Chick and Wilbur flee from the castle, but the monster is hot on their heels. They get to the docks and try to start up the motor boat. Chick yells at Wilbur to untie the boat, but Wilbur doesn't seem to hear him. He just keeps paddling water with his hands. The Frankenstein Monster stalks down the dock and begins hurling wooden barrels at them. Professor Stevens arrives and pours gasoline all over the dock. He lights it on fire and the monster unwittingly stumbles into the flames. He is consumed by the fire and collapses through the burning planks.
With the threat of Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Monster seemingly alleviated, Chick and Wilbur take a moment to relax in the boat. They suddenly hear a strange, disembodied voice from behind them. Lamenting the fact that he missed out on all the fun, the voice introduces himself as the Invisible Man. Chick and Wilbur turn about, dive into the water and swim away.
Cast[edit | edit source]
Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Included in The Best of Abbott and Costello, Vol. 3 and Abbott & Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection on DVD.
- Also known as Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein
- The tagline to this film is, "Jeepers! The creepers are after Bud and Lou!"
- Final appearance of the classic Universal Monsters.
- Appearances to the contrary, there is no character named Frankenstein in this film.
- Joe Dante, director of the 1981 werewolf film The Howling, paid homage to classic genre directors by naming characters in his film after them. One of the characters in The Howling, Charlie Barton, is named after director Charles Barton.
- Despite being a vampire, Dracula's reflection can be clearly seen when he leans over to bite Sandra Mornay.
- Originally, Lou Costello had no interest in working on this film after reading the initial script treatment. Citing it as "crap", he noted that his daughter could write better material. Lou became more agreeable to the film when he learned that Charles Barton had been attached to the project as director. Barton had directed some of the more popular Abbott and Costello films in the past. 
- In the scene where Lou Costello is sitting in Glenn Strange's lap, you can briefly see Strange begin to smile when Costello pounds his own hand.
- With the exception of Cinderella's Castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom, there are no actual castles in the state of Florida.
External Links[edit | edit source]
- Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein at Wikipedia
- Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein at Headhunter's Holosuite
References[edit | edit source]
- Gregory W. Mank; Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein; DVD audio commentary
- IMDB; Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein; Trivia