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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.jpg
Date of Release: June 15, 1948
Boogeymen: Count Dracula
Frankenstein's Monster
Lawrence Talbot
Dr. Sandra Mornay

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is a 1948 American horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton and starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello.

The picture is the first of several films in which the comedy duo meets classic characters from Universal's horror film stable. In this film, they encounter Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Frankenstein's Monster (Glenn Strange), and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.). Subsequent films pair the duo with the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Mummy. (The comedians interacted with the last of the Universal Studios monsters, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, on live television on the Colgate Comedy Hour in 1954.) This film is considered the swan song for the "Big Three" Universal horror monsters, none of whom had appeared in a Universal film since House of Dracula (1945).

In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed this film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, and in September 2007, Reader's Digest selected the movie as one of the top 100 funniest films of all time. The film is number 56 on the list of the American Film Institute's "100 Funniest American Movies".

Plot

Lawrence Talbot makes an urgent phone call to a railway station, where Chick Young and Wilbur Grey work as baggage clerks. Talbot tries to warn Wilbur of a shipment due to arrive for "McDougal's House Of Horrors". However, before he finishes, the moon rises and Talbot transforms into a werewolf, causing Wilbur to think the call is a prank. Meanwhile, McDougal demands the crates be personally delivered to his wax museum.

Chick and Wilbur deliver the crates after hours. They open the first one and find Dracula's coffin. When Chick leaves the room to retrieve the second crate, Wilbur reads the Dracula legend, and the coffin suddenly opens and Dracula sneaks out. Wilbur is so frightened he can barely articulate his call for help. When Chick returns, he refuses to believe the story. The boys open the second crate, and Chick goes to greet McDougal. Dracula hypnotizes Wilbur, finds Frankenstein's Monster in the second crate, and reanimates him. Both leave, and McDougal finds the crates empty and has Wilbur and Chick arrested.

That night, Dr. Sandra Mornay welcomes Dracula and the Monster to her island castle. Sandra has seduced Wilbur as part of Dracula's plan to give the monster a more obedient brain. Meanwhile, Wilbur and Chick are bailed out of jail by Joan Raymond, an undercover insurance investigator who also feigns love for Wilbur, hoping to gain information. Wilbur invites Joan to a masquerade ball that evening. Talbot takes the apartment across the hall from Wilbur and Chick, and asks them to help him find and destroy Dracula and the Monster. Wilbur agrees, but Chick remains skeptical.

Wilbur, Chick and Joan go to Sandra's castle to pick her up for the ball. Wilbur answers a telephone call from Talbot, who informs them that they are in fact in the "House of Dracula". Wilbur reluctantly agrees to search the castle and soon stumbles upon a basement staircase, where he has a few close encounters with the monsters. Meanwhile, Joan discovers Dr. Frankenstein's notebook in Sandra's desk, and Sandra finds an Insurance Investigator ID in Joan's purse.

A suave Dr. Lejos (a.k.a. Dracula) introduces himself to Joan and the boys. Also working at the castle and attending the ball is the naive Prof. Stevens, who questions some of the specialized equipment that has arrived. After Wilbur says that he was in the basement, Sandra feigns a headache and tells the others to go to the ball without her. In private, Sandra admits to Dracula that she feels they are not safe to conduct the experiment. In response, Dracula turns her into a vampire.

At the masquerade ball, Talbot accuses Lejos of being Dracula, but no one takes him seriously. Joan soon disappears. Sandra lures Wilbur to a quiet spot in the woods and attempts to bite him, but fails. While looking for Joan, Talbot becomes the Wolfman and attacks McDougal. Since Chick's costume is a wolf, McDougal accuses Chick, who escapes and witnesses Dracula hypnotizing Wilbur. Chick is also hypnotized and rendered helpless, while Dracula and Sandra bring Wilbur, Stevens, and Joan back to the castle. The next morning, Chick and Talbot meet up in the bayou and set out to rescue Wilbur and Joan.

Wilbur is quickly freed, but Dracula uses hypnotism to call him back. As Sandra prepares to cut into Wilbur's brain, Talbot and Chick burst in. Chick knocks out Sandra with a chair, and Talbot tries to free Wilbur but turns into the Wolfman again. Frankenstein's Monster breaks free of his bonds - Sandra tries to control him, but he throws her out the window. After an extended chase through the house, Dracula attempts to flee as a Bat, only to have the Wolfman pounce out a window and drag them both to their deaths. Chick, Stevens, Joan and Wilbur flee in boats; Stevens sets the pier ablaze while the Monster is standing on it, and he dies in the flames.

Wilbur scolds Chick for his earlier skepticism, and Chick remarks they have nothing to fear now. The Invisible Man addresses them from the boat's thwart, and they jump into the lake and swim away in terror.

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