Abbott and Costello Show, The: Season 2 (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Apr 18, 2024
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Abbott and Costello Show, The: Season 2 (Blu-ray Review)


Jean Yarbrough

Release Date(s)

1953 (January 30, 2024)


  • Film/Program Grade: A
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A
  • Extras Grade: B

The Abbott and Costello Show: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

Buy it Here!


After a successful career in radio and ruling the film comedy roost throughout the 1940s, Abbott and Costello came to television with their own program, The Abbott and Costello Show. Skipping the common variety hour format, they instead used the show as a way of showcasing new and classic bits with occasional guess stars. Simple situations like going to the dentist, getting a job, or going on safari were punctuated by their brand of classic comedy.The show ran in syndication for two seasons, starting on October 7, 1951 and ending sometime in 1953, becoming one of the most well-loved and influential comedy TV shows of all time.

Though the show has been available for years in reruns and even on home video, high quality presentations of The Abbott and Costello Show haven’t been made available until now. Bob Furmanek, owner and operator at 3-D Film Archive, found the original camera negatives for the show in the 1980s while working for Jerry Lewis and later becoming the official Abbott and Costello archivist, which he discusses in detail in the accompanying featurette on this release. Most of those elements were thought to be lost or destroyed, and until now, were not able to be restored.

Season two of The Abbott and Costello Show was shot by director of photography Jack MacKenzie on 35mm film. The show was later printed onto 35mm fine grain masters, which were sourced for television and home video distribution copies, but the original camera negatives have never been viewed by the general public. Bob Furmanek, Jack Theakston, and the restoration team at 3-D Film Archive (with the support of The Library of Congress, TCA Television Corp, and the Lou Costello Estate) have scanned 120,000 feet of film—nearly 156 reels of film elements—with additional frame-by-frame digital clean-up to remove dirt and damage. A constant 4K workflow was maintained during this process, and now all 26 episodes of the show can be viewed in 1080p.

The results are splendid, to say the least. Clarity has improved ten-fold as there’s so much more fine detail visible in the frame than has ever been seen in broadcasts or on DVD, with a high bitrate maintained at every turn. Grain is evenly-handled, true to its source without seeming heavy or noisy. Gradations in the black and white cinematography are nearly perfect with lovely, deep blacks and excellent shadow detail, as well as solid grays and whites, the latter never appearing blown out. The image is also stable and clean with stunning levels of clarity. The only faults, which are inherent to the source, are scene transitions and the use of stock footage. Regardless, the show has never looked better.

Audio is presented in English 2.0 mono DTS-HD Master Audio with no subtitle options. The audio has been restored from the original 35mm push-pull track negative, which was a process that produced very high quality audio. This means that with the proper restoration tools, the sound quality of the show could be better than anything that has ever been heard before. It’s clean with great fidelity, a surprising amount of low end, and plenty of push for the music and sound effects. Dialogue exchanges are also clear and perfectly discernible. It’s just as impressive as its video counterpart.

The following is the list of episodes and extras per disc, all of which are in HD:


  1. Pest Exterminators (26:09)
  2. Killer’s Wife (25:26)
  3. Cheap Skates (25:54)
  4. Life Insurance (26:06)
  5. Uncle Bozzo’s Visit (26:03)
  6. $1000 TV Prize (26:00)
  7. In Society (26:03)
  8. Amnesia (26:03)
  9. Efficiency Experts (26:11)
  10. Wife Wanted (26:11)
  11. Uncle from New Jersey (26:11)
  12. Tax Return (26:05)
  13. South of Dixie (26:08)
  • Audio Commentary by Stu Fink on Amnesia


  1. Car Trouble (25:53)
  2. From Bed to Worse (26:12)
  3. Bank Hold Up (26:08)
  4. Public Enemies (25:51)
  5. Well Oiled (26:10)
  6. The Paper Hangers (26:05)
  7. Private Eye (26:12)
  8. Honeymoon House (26:13)
  9. Fencing Master (25:54)
  10. Fall Guys (26:08)
  11. Beauty Contest (25:58)
  12. The Pigeon (26:08)
  13. Barber Lou (26:05)
  • Audio Commentary by Ron Palumbo on The Pigeon
  • Assorted Bonus Content (34:06):
    • Reel 1 of Season 1 Episode Vacation with Non-Audience Audio Track
    • Full Scene from Season 1 Episode Actor’s Home and Season 2 Episode Fall Guys
    • Campbell’s Comedy Theater Commercial featuring Bud and Lou
    • 4 E-Z Pop Popcorn Commercials featuring Bud and Lou
    • Introduction/Explanation by Ron Palumbo Behind the Lost Episode Star Reporters
    • Script Pages for the Lost Episode Star Reporters
    • Presentations of the Different Versions of Season 2’s Theme Song
    • Presentation of the “Mystery Theme” Used in 2 Episodes of Season 2
    • Season 2 Additional Crew and Staff Credits
    • Disc Credits

The extras for the second season aren’t nearly as extensive as the first season, but they’re invaluable nonetheless, especially the two audio commentaries, which are excellent. Besides the fun of the Campbell’s Soup and E-Z Pop Popcorn commercials, which aired during the show’s initial syndicated airings in various markets, getting a chance to read a script for one of the show’s lost episodes, Star Reporters, is a real treat; it gives us a glimpse of what might have been since the episode was bumped in favor of another, which is too bad. It’s also interesting to learn about the show’s various theme songs, which have had a history of their own in syndication and on home video. The Season 2 Additional Crew and Staff Credits highlight the folks who went uncredited when the shows originally aired while the Disc Credits cover the those behind the creation of this release, including the restoration experts and other contributors. The discs are housed in a clear Amaray case with double-sided artwork, featuring new artwork by Stewart McKissick on the front, and a set of episode summaries on the reverse.

Not documented in the extras (and definitely worth mentioning) is the tumultuous restoration process behind this release. Beginning with 36 terabytes of data on 14 hard drives, various experts worked meticulously from the raw files to restore each and every episode. Everything was going well until several computers crashed and hard drives began failing while this work was taking place. This resulted in the production grinding to a halt in order to replace the computers and recover the potentially lost data, which could have been a major blow for this Kickstarter-funded restoration since time, money, and effort would all have been wasted. Thankfully, all was not lost and the team was able to recover everything successfully and deliver the finished files. While these events aren’t reflected in any way on this release, it’s important that more people realize just how difficult a simple restoration can become under the wrong circumstances, which of course, makes us appreciate the final product even more.

Like the first release, The Abbott and Costello Show: Season 2 is marvelous, giving us more of the same quality presentations of one of comedy’s greatest two-man acts. Also like its predecessor, Season 2 is definitely one of best home video releases of the year and belongs in every Abbott and Costello’s library. Highly recommended!

- Tim Salmons

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