Ah, the good ol’ days of interplanetary travel…when the rocket scientists followed a different protocol for missions to outer space. In case you weren’t alive yet or have forgotten, here are the steps, in order, for launching people into space in the 1950s:
1) Build rocketship. Make sure that launching can be done by flipping no more than five switches.
2) Pick destination by majority vote of rocket scientists.
3) Pick crew by having said scientists fight amongst themselves.
4) Load supplies.
5) Get crew on board using rocketship’s retractable ladder; blast off to worlds unknown.
Step #1 as outlined above always took years to do (and was solely the vision of one man), while steps 2 through 5 could usually be accomplished after lunch. It’s a good thing that space crews didn’t need extensive training back then, or else our pals Lester and Orville (aka Bud and Lou) would have had a difficult time accidentally launching themselves into outer space.
Apparently, the “truth in advertising” laws don’t apply to Abbott and Costello, since they never actually set foot on Mars. Instead, they land on Venus, which as you’ll all remember from your history books was, less than 100 years ago, still populated by astoundingly beautiful women—ONLY astoundingly beautiful women; no ugly women, and most importantly, no men, because they’d been banished by the Queen. Oh, did I mention that the atmosphere of Venus is breathable? (This is a good thing, as the space helmets with which the rocketship is stocked have open holes in the face area, perhaps to facilitate eating.) And did I also mention that every one of Venus’s gorgeous citizenry is 400 years old? And that giant dogs roam the planet’s surface? It’s all true.
Abbott and Costello Go to Mars starts off pretty slowly, but once A & C get to Venus, things pick up considerably. My favorite moment involves Lou’s massacring of the phrase “Venusian balloons.” Make sure to notice one of the doorways in the palace on Venus—the set designers probably snickered for WEEKS at getting such an obviously vulva-shaped portal past the censors.
All in all, for entertainment value, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars falls squarely in the middle of Bud and Lou’s movies. It’s certainly not the worst film they ever made (Dance With Me, Henry, anyone?), but the laughs aren’t as consistent as those in their first half-dozen films.
If you were to do a quick search, you could probably find any number of quasi-legal places to watch Abbott and Costello Go to Mars online. However, if you don’t have 77 minutes, you can watch the Castle Films cut-down of the feature below in less than 9 minutes, thanks to YouTube. (If you’ve never heard of Castle Films, or just want to know more about them, click here.)