Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lou Costello Memorial Bracelet for His Son, Tuesday Flashback Feature, Abbott & Costello

This is part of my Tuesday Flashback Feature. We reminisce about classic TV shows usually from the 1950s-70s where gemstones or pieces of jewelry featured prominently in the storylines.

Once in a while, as today, I'll feature something about a real-life piece of jewelry. Information is as accurate as possible.

Lou Costello was half of the very popular 1940s-50s comedy team of Abbott and Costello. They had their own hit radio show and a string of successful films.

In 1943, Lou Costello returned from a two-month tour of army camps with a bad case of rheumatic fever. He was bedridden and unable to work for many months.

Below is a section of an interview. He's first talking about his being home sick with rheumatic fever.

From an interview Lou Costello gave to The Journal of Living magazine, January 1954:

A funny man’s prescription for grief that can work for everyone as it has for him

Among my many blessings was my baby son, Lou Jr. He was still at the age where he crawled about, and before I started to walk again, I wiggled along the floor beside him. In fact we learned to take our first steps together. No father and son could have been closer.

Being with him, and adjusting myself to the fact that there were other people worse off than I, made the time pass quickly. Soon I was walking and ready to resume my radio show.

The afternoon I went to final rehearsal, Ann gave me a present from Lou Jr. It was a gold identification bracelet. I put it on my wrist and it has never been off since that time. Kissing Ann goodbye, I said. "Have Lou listen to the broadcast and see if he recognizes my voice." Then I left my home feeling that I was mighty lucky man.

At the broadcasting station, Bud and I were in the midst of rehearsing a comedy routine when I was called to the telephone. Even now, thanking back to those moments at the telephone, I find it hard to keep back the tears, for I was told that my baby son was dead. He had fallen into the swimming pool and drowned.

I left the rehearsal in a daze and drove home. All the time I was thinking, "It’s impossible." Only two hours ago the boy and I had been romping on the floor together. Now they said he was dead. I told myself, "It can’t be true. There is some mistake." But when I arrived home, Ann in tears told me what had happened. I knew then that it was all too true – our son was dead.

After comforting my wife the best I could, I went back to the broadcasting station to do my radio show that night. Not because I was following the tradition of show business that "the show must go on." No, indeed. I wanted to do the radio show so that my voice would go out into the air, with the hope that Lou, Jr., might hear it wherever he was.

Idea: Customize a My Story Locket for Your Story, Your Child


Soon after his son's death, Lou had the bracelet welded together around his wrist so that it couldn't be removed.

Bob Furmanek and Ron Palumbo's book, Abbott and Costello in Hollywood gives much more information about the pair, their lives and careers. The book is available on Amazon.

Costello's daughter has written a book as well. Lou's on First: The Tragic Life of Hollywood's Greatest Clown Warmly Recounted by his Youngest Child.

The bracelet isn't really visible publicity photos. It's said that in some films, they tried to hide it. He wore a flesh-colored wristband over the bracelet, but it can clearly be seen in every subsequent film he made.

Bud Abbott, Lou Costello in the 1930sBud Abbott, Lou Costello in the 1930s
Photographic Print

Buy at AllPosters.com

 More from the 1954 interview with Mr. Costello:

Then gradually, as the time passed, I began to realize that though I had been deprived of doing things for Lou, jr., there still were a lot of children in the world I could help.

So Bud Abbott and I created the Lou Costello, Jr., Youth Foundation, for underprivileged children. Its facilities include libraries, medical clinics, gymnasiums and play grounds.

    Each and every child meant something to us. At Christmas time we didn’t just bring a lot of toys to the Foundation. Instead, weeks before the holidays, we visited each child and asked him what he or she wanted for Christmas. Whatever they requested, within reason, was there for them under the tree on Christmas.

    Here again I learned another prescription for sorrow. By giving myself to these underprivileged children, I found happiness again.


William (Bud) Abbott and Lou Costello (born Louis Francis Cristillo) performed together as Abbott and Costello, an American comedy duo whose work in radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the 1940s and 50s.

Thanks to the endurance of their most popular and influential routine, "Who's on First?"—whose rapid-fire word play and comprehension confusion set the preponderant framework for most of their best-known routines—the team is, as a result, featured in the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Contrary to popular belief, however, the duo was not inducted into the Hall.) Read the entire article on Wikipedia

The Best of Abbott & Costello, Vol.1 includes their earliest hits. Watch carefully and you'll see Ella Fitzgerald in there. Most of the films in the second collection. The Best of Abbott & Costello, Vol.2 were made following the death of Costello's son. The final set is The Best of Abbott & Costello, Vol.3.

Abbott & Costello 50+ Vintage Comedy Radio Episodes MP3 

Each Tuesday, we feature a different show, often a US sitcom. Information, including spoiler plot outlines come from various sources. Information is as accurate as possible. When available, a photo will be included.

I'm always interested to hear your memories. In the interest of supporting fellow artists, I'll be featuring a few shops where the pieces tie into the general theme of the featured story.

There's a Stainless Steel Bracelet with Black Onyx Inset available. It may be something subtle that someone in your life would like to have. It may be just the right thing for parents who've lost a child.

There are many things that may be personalized, including necklaces or ornaments. Ornaments can be used as window or wall hangings not just for the holidays. Please take a look at my page about honoring loved ones and choosing memorial songs. You'll find some touching and beautiful designs there.

Books and web pages can help parents who are going through the loss of a child or an anniversary reaction.

Butterflies are so rich in symbolism. A Tiffany Style Blue Butterfly Accent Lamp is an idea, a pretty and glowing remembrance piece.

I doubt that Lou Costello would want people to walk away from any article about him in a sad mood. So I'll send you to a site about Abbott and Costello, straight to the text of their famous routine... Who's on First?

Here they are on film, Who's on First? on YouTube.
Image and some information from Journal of Living Magazine, AbbotandCostello.net

If you're reading this on my Facebook Fan Page, you may also want to check out my blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome and thanks for visiting.

Please keep your comments topical & respectful. We can't accept links or be responsible for content of comments.