AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein
Alternate Title: Brain of Frankenstein
Director: Charles T. Barton (Dir)
Release Date:   15 Jun 1948
Production Date:   5 Feb--26 Mar 1948
Duration (in mins):   82-83
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Cast:   Bud Abbott (Chick [Young])  
    Lou Costello (Wilbur [Grey])  
    Lon Chaney [Jr.] (Lawrence Talbot/The Wolfman)  
    Bela Lugosi (Dracula)  
    Glenn Strange (Monster)  
    Lenore Aubert (Sandra Mornay)  
    Jane Randolph (Joan Raymond)  
    Frank Ferguson (Mr. McDougal)  
    Charles Bradstreet (Dr. Stevens)  
    Vincent Price (Voice of the Invisible Man)  
    Howard Negley (Mr. Harris)  
    Clarence Straight (Man in armor)  
    Harry Brown (Photographer)  
    Helen Spring (Woman at baggage counter)  
    Paul Stader (Sergeant)  
    Joe Kirk    
    George Barton    
    Carl Sklover    
    Joe Walls    

Summary: In London, at the stroke of midnight, Lawrence Talbot calls Wilbur Grey, a bumbling American post office employee, and tells him to delay the delivery of two crates to McDougal's House of Horrors wax museum until he arrives. After the call, however, McDougal appears and demands that Wilbur and his co-worker, Chick Young, immediately deliver the crates, which contain the bodies of Count Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster. As Wilbur and Chick bring the crates to the creepy McDougal house, a lightning bolt causes the electricity to go out, and although Wilbur witnesses the vampire begin to rise, Chick does not believe his story. Wilbur then opens the Monster's case and is terrified by the scarred face, at which point Dracula hypnotizes him long enough to escape with the Monster. Just then, McDougal arrives, sees the empty crates and accuses Wilbur and Chick of robbing him. As the men argue, Dracula spirits the Monster away to his island castle, where he and Sandra Mornay, the woman Wilbur believes to be his girl friend, discuss their plans to implant Wilbur's malleable brain into the weakened Monster, whom they can then use to carry out their evil deeds. Later, Talbot, who has rented a room at Wilbur and Chick's apartment house, informs the two men that, to his horror, he is the Wolfman, and that they must help him stop Dracula from carrying out his evil plan. He then convinces them to lock him in his room for the evening, so that when he turns into a werewolf, he cannot harm anyone. The next day, Joan Raymond, the beautiful insurance invvestigator hired by McDougal, visits Wilbur and flirts with him as part of a plan to find out where he has hidden McDougal's stolen displays. She convinces him to take her out that night, although he already has a date to take Sandra to a costume ball. That night, when Chick brings Wilbur and Joan to meet Sandra at the castle, Joan flirts with laboratory assistant Dr. Stevens. While they wait for Sandra to put on her costume, Talbot calls Wilbur at the castle to warn him that Dracula and the Monster are in the building. Wilbur tells Chick, who insists that they search the basement to prove that nothing is there, and although Wilbur finds the ghouls, each time the ghouls chase him, Chick is out of the room and does not see them. Upstairs, Sandra discovers from Joan's identification card that she is an investigator who might uncover their plan and so runs downstairs to dissuade Dracula, now disguised as a doctor, from stealing Wilbur's brain that night. Dracula, who does not want to postpone his scheme, bites Sandra, and she becomes a vampire under his spell. Later, at the ball, Sandra tries to lure Wilbur back to the castle, while Dracula hypnotizes Joan. At the same time, Talbot transforms into the Wolfman and attacks McDougal, who assumes that Chick, who is wearing a wolf costume, is the culprit. Chick and Wilbur run from the police into the woods, and when Joan follows, Dracula abducts Wilbur and Joan as Chick faints from fear. When he wakes, Chick finds the now-human Talbot and brings him to the castle, just as Sandra prepares the operation to transplant Wilbur's brain into the Monster. Chick and Talbot burst in just in time to save Wilbur, but soon the moon rises, turning Talbot into a werewolf again. The Monster, meanwhile, frees himself from his bonds, grabs Sandra and throws her out the window. Chick and Wilbur run from the Monster while the werewolf pursues Dracula into the ocean, where they both drown. Joan wakes from her hypnosis and helps Dr. Stevens set the Monster on fire, allowing Chick and Wilbur to escape by boat. They set sail, not realizing until they hear a disembodied voice that the Invisible Man is riding with them. 

Production Company: Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Director: Charles T. Barton (Dir)
  Joseph E. Kenny (Asst dir)
Producer: Robert Arthur (Prod)
Writer: Robert Lees (Scr)
  Frederic I. Rinaldo (Scr)
  John Grant (Scr)
Photography: Charles Van Enger (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Bernard Herzbrun (Art dir)
  Hilyard Brown (Art dir)
Film Editor: Frank Gross (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Russell Gausman (Set dec)
  Oliver Emert (Set dec)
Costumes: Grace Houston (Gowns)
Music: David Tamkin (Orch)
  Frank Skinner (Mus)
Sound: Leslie I. Carey (Sd)
  Robert Pritchard (Sd)
Special Effects: David S. Horsley (Spec photog)
  Jerome Ash (Spec photog)
  Fred Knoth (Spec eff)
Make Up: Carmen Dirigo (Hairstylist)
  Bud Westmore (Makeup)
Country: United States
Series: Dracula

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. 8/9/1949 dd/mm/yyyy LP2719

PCA NO: 13109
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Satire
  Comedy
  Satire
  Comedy
  Horror
 
Subjects (Major): Bumblers
  Duplicity
  Impersonation and imposture
  Monsters
  Vampires
  Werewolves
 
Subjects (Minor): Bats
  Boats
  Brain surgery
  Castles
  Cellars
  Chases
  Coffins
  Costumes
  Fires
  Hypnotism
  Insurance--Investigators
  Invisibility
  Islands
  Laboratories
  London (England)
  Parties
  Physicians
  Police
  Post offices
  Romance
  Waxworks

Note: The working title of this film was Brain of Frankenstein . The entry date for the film in the Catalog of Copyright Entries: Motion Pictures 1950-1958 reads: "8 Sep 49 (in notice: 48)." Although the onscreen title reads "Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein," all other sources refer to the film as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein . The opening credits include an animated sequence in which the title is spelled out in cartoon bones, and cartoon figures of the Wolfman, Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster and Lenore Aubert walk across the screen over normally printed credits. Although Vincent Price is not credited onscreen, he is the voice of the Invisible Man in the last scene of the film, a role that, according to a Mar 1948 NYT article, was originally slated for Glenn Strange. Strange played "the Monster" in the picture.
       According to a Jan 1948 HR news item, Ella Raines was cast in a role originally offered to Dorothy Hart, but neither actress appears in the final film. Modern sources report that Bela Lugosi, who had appeared as "Count Dracula" many times, wrote his autobiography on the set of the film. Universal production notes reported that prior to shooting, Abbott suffered three broken ribs while on vacation, and during production, Strange broke his foot when he threw Lenore Aubert's character out of a window, and Lon Chaney replaced him briefly. In addition, modern sources claim that both Abbott and Costello had been suspended by Universal before production began when Costello demanded a $25,000 increase per picture, but regardless of these issues, shooting began and proceeded as scheduled. For more information on Universal's monster films, please consult the Series Index and see the entries for Frankenstein ( AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 , F3.1465); Dracula ( AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 , F3.1121); The Invisible Man ( AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 , F3.2148); and The Wolf Man (see entry below). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   3 Jul 1948.   
Daily Variety   28 Jun 48   p. 3.
Film Daily   28 Jun 48   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Jan 48   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Feb 48   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Mar 48   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Mar 48   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Jun 48   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Jul 1948.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   3 Jul 48   p. 4225.
New York Times   12 Mar 1948.   
New York Times   29 Jul 48   p. 17.
Variety   30 Jun 48   p. 10.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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