What the World is Watching

The Abbott and Costello Show

Abbott & Costello - Logo“The Wrestling Match”
Season 1, Episode 17
3/27/1953

Settle in for a classic show featuring some old school wrestling with more comedic gags than a Colt Cabana match.

The actual episode starts with Stinky, a literal man child, complete in old-timey sailor outfit and hat, bumping into Lou Costello and setting up the charity match for later on. Then, for whatever reason, we get a scene involving Lou and a chimpanzee playing checkers. Afterwards, Lou and his co-starring pal, Bud Abbott, are hungry so they decide to take turns impersonating a cop in order to haul each other away when they can’t afford to pay for their meal, avoiding any kind of repercussions. Until, of course, it backfires.

IMG_5980Finally, we get to the wrestling match. Before the bout starts, Lou is informed that he won’t be wrestling Stinky, but instead his brother, “The Goliath of the Mat” Ivan the Terrible. Naturally, he’s much bigger than Lou. The match itself takes place in some kind of gym. And not a high school type of gym, but more along the size of a Curves gym. It’s small, is what I’m trying to say. The ring is really just a mat laid out on the ground with some posts at each corner attached to some ropes. The spectators are are dressed to the nines, mostly because it’s the 50’s and that’s how everyone dressed when they went out. Even to a wrestling charity event in someone’s basement.

Lou is wrestling in what can only be described as… thermal underwear. The old kind that buttons up. Mike, the cop who Lou and Bud try impersonating earlier in the show, is refereeing the match and taking out his revenge by performing all the illegal holds on Lou, while explaining the rules. The crooked-ass cop basically softens up Lou for Ivan. As if the match wasn’t one-sided enough.

IMG_5999A few wrestling holds are used as soon as the bell rings, but it doesn’t take long for them to slip into the type of gags we’re used to seeing inside a wrestling ring in an old back and white sitcom. At one point, Ivan has Lou pinned down near the corner, repeatedly smashing Lou’s head against the mat. Bud takes this opportunity to put a walnut down so Lou’s head can crack it open, with no concern for CTE and concussions. Then again, this was a different time. And I’m pretty sure chair shots weren’t as commonplace back then. Also, where the hell did Bud pull that walnut out of?

Ivan punches Lou, which sends him into the ropes, and instead of springing forward, as years of watching wrestling has taught us to expect, Lou just leans back against them, out of breath. A smoking spectator decides to use his cigar to literally light a fire under Lou’s ass. Lou charges at Ivan, but fails to make the big bastard budge even a little bit. Ivan then twists the ropes around Lou’s head enabling the same smoking spectator to blow smoke in Lou’s face. What is he, Ivan’s fucking manager? And it’s another blatant disregard for Lou’s long-term health.

IMG_6004IMG_6005Lou mounts a small comeback which ends with both of them grappling on the ground.
Lou gets Ivan in some kind of poor excuse for an ankle lock. Lou keeps twisting the foot until Ivan slips out of his wrestling boot without Lou realizing it. Maybe this is where Eddie Guerrero got the idea to escape Kurt Angle’s ankle lock at WrestleMania XX. While Lou keeps twisting, none the wiser, he eventually comes to the realization that Ivan is no longer attached to the shoe, and is hovering over him. He reacts quickly, and stomps on Ivan’s unprotected foot then follows it up with a closed fist to the jaw. Knocking Ivan out. Before Mike can even declare Lou the winner, or even make a damn three count, Bud storms in and raises Lou’s hand in victory, knocking Lou out with his own hand. Lou falls back onto Ivan and… I guess it’s a draw?

IMG_6007With friends like Bud Abbott…

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