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Legends of Laughter: Abbott & Costello



n&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" style="width: 120px; height: 240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"> There are many, many DVDs out there of Abbott and Costello's material, but Infinity Entertainment Group's six-disc "Legends of Laughter" set is the one to get "? not because it offers anything new, but because it collects so much of it in one place.

The big draw may be the 14 episodes of "The Colgate Comedy Hour," the long-running NBC variety series on which they served as part-time hosts. For fans, seeing their routines will be fun, especially when the materials are in pretty good shape for their age, but any segment in which the duo doesn't appear "? and that's most of the show "? likely will not be greeted with similar interest. (That depends on your tolerance for musical numbers, of course, and that creepy Howdy Doody, who remains the stuff of nightmares.)

Said routines appear again in 17 episodes of their own radio show, as do the musical numbers, but all without the benefit of visuals. A downside to their inclusion is that the navigation doesn't allow you to fast-forward through any slow spots; menu navigation overall is janky across all discs.

Twenty of their trailers can be found, of varying A/V quality, although it would have been nice for them to be together on one disc, rather than spread out among all six. (While we're on that subject, the menus "? or "Meu," as it reads in one spot "? are rife with typos, i.e. "Meet Frankestien," which is unforgivable.)

Among other extras are half an hour of bloopers, including instances of a foulmouthed Costello; and "Mail Call," an entertain-the-troops short in which Abbott and Costello are but one of many guests, and perform their classic "Who's on First?" bit.

Lastly, you get two full feature films: "Africa Screams" and "Jack and the Beanstalk," the latter being one of the team's rare appearances in color. Despite both being issued and reissued by every budget DVD company under the sun, which would suggest subpar material, they're pretty funny and charming, provided you already like their style of humor. I do. "?Rod Lott


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