Cover image for Lou's on first : a biography of Lou Costello
Lou's on first : a biography of Lou Costello
Costello, Chris.
Personal Author:
First Cooper Square Press edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Cooper Square Press, 2000.

Physical Description:
xii, 257 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York : St.Martin's Press, c1981.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2287.C627 C6C Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Lou Costello (1906-1959) made comedy history on stage, on screen, and on the air, performing with straight man Bud Abbott and keeping the nation in stitches with "Who's On First?" and other hilarious skits. The duo made over thirty films together (including One Night in the Tropics, Buck Privates, and In the Navy), and have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Lou's On First: A Biography of Lou Costello is an affectionate biography by Lou's daughter Chris, in which she recounts the comedian's generosity, his bumpy road to success, and the numerous hardships he endured (including the devastating death of his son) while still managing to keep a nation laughing. Despite the difficult periods of his life, Lou remained a steadfast performer, carrying on with the show whenever he could. Chris reveals her father's humble beginnings in New Jersey, where his comical and prankish side first appeared. The book tells how Lou's initial attempt to make it in the movie business failed, and how he subsequently met up with Bud Abbott, then the most famous straight man touring the burlesque houses. Their winning partnership withstood years on the burlesque circuit and money squabbles with Hollywood studios. Chris points out that when Abbott & Costello finally split in 1957, after over 21 years of making people laugh, it was not a hostile breakup but one whose time, both partners agreed, had come. Chris also puts to rest several other rumors that sprang up after Lou's death, such as the myth that both Abbott and Costello lost their fortunes, and she describes their lasting contributions to entertainment. This is a portrait of the comedian by those who knew him best. The story Chris shares in Lou's On First is a funny, touching, and heartfelt account of one of America's great entertainers.

Author Notes

Chris Costello, the youngest daughter of Lou Costello, is president of her own public relations firm, Costello and Company
Raymond Strait, an accomplished biographer, is author of more than two dozen other celebrity books. He lives in Hemet, California

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
Chapter I The Formative Yearsp. 1
Chapter II Hollywood Failurep. 10
Chapter III The Comic Takes a Bridep. 18
Chapter IV Abbott and Costellop. 27
Chapter V Westward Ho!p. 41
Chapter VI Buck Privatesp. 52
Chapter VII Movie Starsp. 62
Chapter VIII The Home Frontp. 76
Chapter IX Rheumatic Feverp. 87
Chapter X Tragedyp. 98
Chapter XI Aftermathp. 107
Chapter XII Dissentionp. 118
Chapter XIII A Memorial, a Death, and a Birthp. 129
Chapter XIV A Time of Growthp. 139
Chapter XV Kissing the Forties Good-byep. 151
Chapter XVI New Adventuresp. 161
Chapter XVII A Potpourrip. 170
Chapter XVIII Televisionp. 184
Chapter XIX McCarthyism and the Patriotp. 195
Chapter XX The IRSp. 204
Chapter XXI A New Homep. 215
Chapter XXII The Splitp. 227
Chapter XXIII The Final Yearsp. 234
Epilogp. 249
Filmography of Lou Costellop. 253