With the return of “Star Trek” to our Super Sci Fi Saturday Night line-up- we thought spotlighting another mission to seek out new life and boldly go where no man has gone before- mainly, a planet of fabulous babes who have banned men- would be appropriate, as the final frontier gets a boot in the rear when “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars”!
With this 1953 A & C adventure tying in with that era’s building interest in space exploration – we find Lou demonstrating to some kids how to fly a model airplane- with the usual type of disastrous results that has him looking for a place to hide- which ends up being a truck bound for a secret government base where –what a coincidence- Bud is working, unloading shipments. Due to some extremely lax security, Lou ends up on the inside of the compound, where they are expecting an important rocket scientist- and Lou is –what a coincidence- mistaken for him. When the real scientist arrives, there’s a confusing confrontation between himself and Costello that gets everyone confused – but, eventually, the real scientist meets with a committee deciding the destination for the next rocket set to be launched. Their decision ends up meaning nothing- because, as Bus and Lou are loading the ship with supplies, they accidentally end up launching the rocket – and becoming reluctant astronauts!
The spaceship makes several random passes at New York City before it finally heads out into the stratosphere. Bud and Lou, incompetent as they are, still somehow get the rocket to land on what they think is Mars ( assuming that Mars looks a great deal like a Louisiana bayou). Clad in bulky 1950s spacesuits, they stumble into an area where a well-known ( except to them) traditional springtime celebration is in full swing. They encounter revelers in various bizarre costumes, and think they are meeting alien life forms unknown to man! ( Note: there are some politically incorrect costumes in the mix). While our half-wit heroes are continuing their exploration, a couple of prison escapees fleeing through the bayou happen upon their space ship- and the two criminals help themselves to space suits and weaponry- and use them to pull a high-tech bank robbery!
Authorities spread the word to be on the lookout for a duo of robbers dressed in space suits- so, of course, Bud and Lou are mistaken for the crooks and must escape the police dragnet! But- when they return to their ship- the real robbers are there to greet them! Captured by the bad men, more ineptitude results in the rocket being launched one more time - more successfully, since it breaks free from earth’s gravity and really does head out into outer space! Bud and Lou endure more run-ins with the robbers as well as dangerous conditions in space, until they finally land on a distant planet...but-wrong again- it isn’t Mars ( …yes- the title lied to us…)!
This is Venus, populated by a race of beautiful women ( in actuality, played by various Miss Universe contestants) to whom men are their mortal enemy. Their lovely queen , for reasons she will reveal, has banned males for many years, but, somehow, Bud and Lou- (especially Lou)- find a way into the female race’s good graces -while the criminals scheme to take control- and anything else of value that isn’t nailed down. Can Lou win over the spacey sirens- or will he and the other men just underline the reasons why the Venus women despise guys? And, if not- will they even be able to find their way to home sweet Earth?
Since movie audiences tastes were changing, and encounters with Universal monsters having run its course, Abbott and Costello made this attempt to get with the times and attempt to garner some laughs from science fiction, in their own misguided way! We'll introduced you to the stars – see what I did there?-in our cast, including a specific female warrior guard, who appears only briefly, but went on to become much more visible in movies! Be prepared for some meteoric mirth of the Sven kind as well, as we present various space shtick we’ve done.
“Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” tonight on MeTV at 8pm eastern/pacific, 7 central, or check for local time and channel in your local listings or at www.metv.com. Again, people who live-Tweet on Twitter during the show- using the hashtag #svengoolie- have been keeping us trending high nationally, so feel free to join them! In Chicago, local viewers can get grabbed by the infamous "Giant Claw" at 11 am on WCIU, the U!
Many thanks go out to the huge crowd that came to see me at the Reel Arts collectible store in Berwyn last Saturday. Arriving to see the line outside the store going around the block was pretty overwhelming! More appearances will be coming next month!
Be orbiting your TV set tonight for interstellar beauty and the boneheads ( not YOU, Tombstone)!