Abbott and Costello

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William (Bud) Abbott and Lou Costello (born Louis Francis Cristillo) performed together as Abbott and Costello, an American comedy duo whose work on stage, radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the 1940s, as well as a top ten box office draw for a full decade (1942—1952). Their iconic and influential patter routine "Who's on First?"—with its rapid-fire word play and comprehension confusion—set the framework for many of their best-known comedy bits. As a result of its enduring popularity, a video loop of the team performing "Who's on First?" is on permanent exhibit in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

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Burlesque years

Bud Abbott (1897—1974) was a veteran burlesque entertainer from a show business family. He had worked at Coney Island and ran his own burlesque touring companies. At first he worked as a straight man to his wife Betty, then with veteran burlesque comedians like Harry Steppe and Harry Evanson. When he met his future partner in comedy, Abbott was performing in Minsky's Burlesque shows.

Lou Costello (1906—1959) had been a burlesque comic since 1930, after failing to break into movie acting and working as a stunt double and film extra. He appears briefly in the 1927 Laurel and Hardy silent two-reeler, The Battle of the Century, seated at ringside during Stan's ill-fated boxing match. As a teenager, Costello had been an amateur boxer in his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey.

The two first worked together in 1935 at the Eltinge Burlesque Theater on 42nd Street[1]--now the lobby of the AMC Empire movie complex in New York City. When AMC moved the old theater 168 ft (51 m) west on 42nd Street to its current location, giant balloons of Abbott and Costello were rigged to appear to pull it.[2]

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