The Monster Mash: Abbott and Costello Meet the Creature from the Black Lagoon

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“This is where we keep all of our horror pictures. Yes, there’s Dracula, and there’s the Wolf Man, and there’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But wait. Wait until you see our latest horror creature. The Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

I had two choices on what to review today. I could’ve picked the 1953 feature film Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which starred horror regular Boris Karloff as Dr. Jekyll. I seriously debated whether I would review it or not. It was one of Abbott and Costello’s four monster meeting films and would’ve rounded out this month of movies.

I ultimately didn’t go with it because it felt strange to review a comedy riffing on Jekyll and Hyde movies when I never reviewed one this month. Instead, I’m doing something I’ve never done: reviewing a sketch.

On February 21, 1954, just nine days after the premiere of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Abbott and Costello appeared on The Colgate Comedy Hour (1950-1955). They did a  15 -minute sketch where they, within the fiction of the bit, went to the spooky Universal prop room to get some stuff for their appearance on the show. The room is filled with dummies of Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Wolf Man. While there, the two meet a mad prop man who keeps reading a scary murder story to the jumpy Costello’s disappointment and they cross paths with the Invisible Man, the Frankenstein Monster, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon (played by Ben Chapman, the man who actually portrayed the Gill-Man in Creature‘s above water sequences).

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This being a short sketch, I don’t have tons to say. The comedy bits between Costello, Abbott, and the prop man range from creepy sounds only Costello can hear, to a pen holder that Costello alone sees move, a floating cigarette, and a creaking coffin. They’re fine jokes, but nothing you can’t get from the duo’s other monster-meet films. So unless you’re an Abbott and Costello completist, there’s no real big need to check this out.

Even the chance to see them interact with the Gill-Man for the first and only time isn’t that satisfying. The Gill-Man only shows up in the concluding seconds of the bit. It’s funny when he finally shows up, but it’s a very brief interaction that only makes you wish this was a feature film. It’s sad they never did do a movie with the half-man, half-fish creature; it would’ve been fun to see Abbott and Costello in an underwater setting, and it would’ve completed the six monster set.

Sadly, a full-length picture never happened with the Gill-Man. So, we’re left with this little relic from TV past. Check it out below if you feel the need, but you’re not missing out on anything great if you skip it. It’s standard Abbott and Costello. Nothing more.

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