Abbott and Costello’s 1953 Universal sci-fi comedy entry was directed by veteran director Charles Lamont. Lamont also worked on “Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion” (1950), “Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man” (1951), “Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd” (1952, with Charles Laughton for Warner Bros. release), “Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1953, with Boris Karloff), “Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops” (1955) and “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy” (1955, the duo’s final feature).
Lamont also directed several Universal “Ma and Pa Kettle” comedies with Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride; including “The Further Adventures of Ma and Pa Kettle” (1949, a.k.a. “Ma and Pa Kettle”), “Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town” (1950), Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation (1953) and “Ma and Pa Kettle at Home” (1954).
This will mark Sven’s fourth big broadcast of “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953) on Me-TV. He previously showed Abbott and Costello’s 1953 Universal sci-fi comedy feature back in Dec. 2012*, July 2016 and April 2018.
Who was in “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953)?
The players who appeared “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953) were Bud Abbott (as Lester), Lou Costello (as Orville), Mari Blanchard (as Allura), young Anita Ekberg (two years before, Ekberg won the 1950 Miss Sweden competition), Jackie Loughery/Miss USA 1952, Judy Hatula (a.k.a. Judy Jorell)/Miss Michigan 1952 and Jeri Miller/Miss Long Beach 1952 (as Venusian Guards); Ruth Hampton/Miss New Jersey 1952, Elsa Edsman/Miss Hawaii 1952, Valerie Jackson/Miss Montana 1952, Renate Hoy/Miss Germany 1952 and Jeanne Thompson/Miss Louisiana 1952 (as Handmaidens); Jean Willes (as Capt. Olivia), young Harry Shearer (in a non-credited role as a young boy), Robert Paige (as Dr. Wilson; Paige previously appeared with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in the duo’s 1942 Universal comedy, “Pardon My Sarong”), Horace McMahon (as Mugsy), Jack Kruschen (as Harry), Martha Hyer (as Janie Howe), James Flavin (as the bank Police officer) and Joe Kirk (as Dr. Orvilla).
Future film and entertainment prospects for some of the players in the 1953 Universal Abbott and Costello space-age comedy
Anita Ekberg’s appearance in “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953) was one of her earliest feature film roles. In addition to her past title of Miss Sweden, Ekberg later rose to fame in her role of Sylvia in Federico Fellini’s critically-acclaimed Italian feature, “La Dolce Vita” (1960).
Harry Shearer went on to greater success as an actor, voice-over artist, musician, comedian and writer. Shearer’s notable acting roles include his alter-ego role of bassist Derek Smalls in Rob Reiner’s mockumentary feature, “This is Spinal Tap” (1984, with Michael McKean/alter-ego David St. Hubbins and Christopher Guest/alter-ego Nigel Tufnel) and his vocalizations for numerous characters in Matt Groening’s animated series, “The Simpsons” (1989-present).
Three years after her appearance in “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953), Jackie Loughry appeared in the role of Dolly Riley in Norman Taurog’s Paramount western comedy; “Pardners” (1956), with Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Agnes Moorehead, Lon Chaney Jr., Lee Van Cleef, Lori Nelson and Jeff Morrow.
Jean Willes later played the role of Nurse Sally Withers in Don Siegel’s original feature film version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956), with Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Virginia Christine, a pre-“Addams Family” Carolyn Jones and King Donovan.
A promotional “sneak preview” of Abbott and Costello’s 1953 Universal feature was showcased on the duo’s television appearance
According to an April 1953 issue of Motion Picture Daily, a sneak preview of “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” was showcased as part of the duo’s NBC television appearance on the “Colgate Comedy Hour.”
Additional details on the Denver premiere of “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953)
According to an April 1953 Film Daily article, both Anita Ekberg and Judy Hatula (Jorell) attended the premiere of “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953) at the Paramount Theatre in Denver, Colorado. In addition to a street parade, both Ekberg and Hatula/Jorell attended a party at Lowry Air Force Base prior to the opening night festivities. A U.S. Savings Bonds campaign was also held during the opening night event.
Be sure to watch or record Svengoolie’s showcase of “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953), this Sat. on Me-TV!
Enjoy Abbott, Costello, Ekberg, Shearer, Hatula/Jorell, Blanchard, Loughery, Miller, Edsman, Hampton, Jackson, Hoy, Thompson, Willes, Paige, McMahon, Hyer, Kruschen, Kirk and Flavin on Sven’s upcoming big broadcast of “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953); this Sat. on Me-TV! You will not want to miss out on Sven’s additional fun facts, Doug Graves’ evening song and Kerwyn’s “mail call” segment! Launch off with space-age fun and hilarity for Sven’s big broadcast in the Sat. airlanes! Highly recommended to all fellow super SvenPals and fellow classic comedy aficionados everywhere!
*Before Me-TV came into the Washington/Frederick area (Me-TV came into the Washington/Frederick broadcast region in early 2013; originally on WJLA-TV and then moved to Fox O&O WTTG-5 in March 2017). -C.H.
In the Frederick, Maryland/Washington, D.C. area: WTTG-5.3/Cable 196/FiOS 489/Antietam Cable 194 (also on QAM digital 68.6 for Antietam cable subscribers)
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2/Cable 208/FiOS 460
In the Hanover/Gettysburg/York, Pennsylvania area: WGAL-TV 8.2/Cable 248/FiOS 460
Live-tweet with all fellow super SvenPals everywhere via Twitter during #Svengoolie’s big broadcast of “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953), this Sat. on Me-TV!
Flashback “Silver Screen Reflections” article on Svengoolie’s April 2018 big Me-TV broadcast of “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953), including information on the model “rocket” marquee display for the Denver premiere!
Help out one of our fellow super SvenPals’ friends:
Be sure to give generously/spread the word/help out one of the friends of fellow super SvenPal Jamie Lee from the PM&L theatre ensemble by donating whatever you can/spreading the word to her friend’s official “GoFundMe” fund to help offset expensive costs of additional medical-related treatments. Give generously/spread the word to help out one of Jamie’s friends from the PM&L players! Any amount helps! –C.H.
In relation to “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953) and Bud and Lou’s Universal features:
“Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953) is also available in Universal’s multi-film DVD compilation anthology set, “The Best of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello: Volume 3.” “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953) is also available in Universal’s complete feature film DVD box anthology set, “Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection.”