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The Naughty Nineties
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Edmund L. Hartmann (screenplay) &
John Grant (screenplay) ...
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Release Date:
6 July 1945 (USA) See more »
A Show Boat Load of Laughter!
When their captain is swindled out of his riverboat by a trio of gamblers, stage show star Abbott and his bumbling sidekick Costello must put things right. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(4 articles)
Episode Recap: Supernatural - 6.03: "The Third Man"
 (From PopStar. 28 December 2011, 7:06 PM, PST)

AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movie Quotes
 (From Extra. 27 February 2011, 7:00 AM, PST)

AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movie Quotes
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User Reviews:
"Higher...HIGHER....No lower....LOWER." See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Bud Abbott ... Dexter Broadhurst

Lou Costello ... Sebastian Dinwiddle
Alan Curtis ... Mr. Crawford
Rita Johnson ... Bonita Farrow

Henry Travers ... Capt. Sam Jackson
Lois Collier ... Miss Caroline Jackson
Joe Sawyer ... Bailey
Joe Kirk ... Croupier
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rainbow Four ... Themselves
William Alcorn ... Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Audley Anderson ... Card Player (uncredited)
Jack Barbee ... Himself (Rainbow Four member) (uncredited)
Suzanne Lee Bastian ... Baby (uncredited)
Gladys Blake ... Girl in Garter Gag (uncredited)
Milt Bronson ... Gambler (uncredited)
Douglas Carter ... Croupier (uncredited)
Jack Chefe ... Gilded Cage Waiter (uncredited)
Jack Coffey ... Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Bing Conley ... Croupier (uncredited)
Tony Dell ... Croupier (uncredited)
William Desmond ... (uncredited)
Dolores Evers ... Girl in High-Wire Act (uncredited)
Tom Fadden ... Wounded Gambler (uncredited)
Sid Fields ... (uncredited)
Jack Frack ... Croupier (uncredited)
Jack Frost ... Himself (Rainbow Four member) (uncredited)
Edward Gargan ... Baxter - Saloon Bartender (uncredited)
Parker Garvie ... Croupier (uncredited)
Rita Gould ... Girl in Water Gag (uncredited)
William E. Green ... Minstrel (uncredited)
John Hamilton ... Sheriff of Ironville (uncredited)
Carol Hughes ... Tessie (uncredited)
John Indrisano ... Croupier (uncredited)
Warren Jackson ... Card Player (uncredited)
Ralph Johns ... Croupier (uncredited)

Ben Johnson ... Coach Driver (uncredited)
Shirley Karnes ... Hatcheck Girl (uncredited)
Donald Kerr ... Croupier (uncredited)
William W. Larsen ... Magician (uncredited)
Perc Launders ... Card Player (uncredited)
Ann Lawrence ... Girl in Garter Gag (uncredited)
Rex Lease ... Sheriff Wright (uncredited)
Ruth Lee ... (uncredited)
Arthur Loft ... Billy Boy (uncredited)
Chick Madden ... Himself (Rainbow Four member) (uncredited)
Sam McDaniel ... Matt - Cook-Waiter (uncredited)
Charles McNally ... Waiter (uncredited)
Mantan Moreland ... (uncredited)
Jack Norton ... Drunk at the Gilded Cage (uncredited)
Bud O'Connor ... Croupier (uncredited)
Jack Overman ... Gambling Room Guard (uncredited)
Barbara Pepper ... Gilded Cage Hostess (uncredited)
Charles Phillips ... Croupier (uncredited)
Torchy Rand ... Singing Specialty (uncredited)
Jack Rice ... Waiter (uncredited)
Cyril Ring ... Man in Water Gag (uncredited)
Sue Robin ... Topsy (uncredited)
Henry Russell ... Croupier (uncredited)
Sarah Selby ... Mrs. Hawkins (uncredited)
Arthur 'Fiddlin' Smith ... Fiddle Player (uncredited)
Ronald Stanton ... Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Irene Thomas ... Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Henry - Ironville Citizen (uncredited)
Bud Wolfe ... Croupier (uncredited)
Jack Worth ... Croupier (uncredited)
Lillian Yarbo ... Effie - Bonita's Cook (uncredited)

Directed by
Jean Yarbrough 
Writing credits
Edmund L. Hartmann (screenplay) &
John Grant (screenplay) &
Edmund Joseph (screenplay) &
Hal Fimberg (screenplay)

Felix Adler (additional comedy sequences)

Clyde Bruckman  uncredited

Produced by
John Grant .... producer
Edmund L. Hartmann .... producer
Milton Feld .... executive producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Paul Dessau (uncredited)
Edgar Fairchild (uncredited)
Cinematography by
George Robinson 
Film Editing by
Arthur Hilton 
Art Direction by
John B. Goodman 
Harold H. MacArthur 
Set Decoration by
Russell A. Gausman 
Leigh Smith 
Costume Design by
Vera West (gowns)
Makeup Department
Jack P. Pierce .... makeup director
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Howard Christie .... assistant director
Sound Department
Bernard B. Brown .... sound director
Robert Pritchard .... sound technician
Ronald Pierce .... sound effects mixer (uncredited)
Ronald Pierce .... sound re-recordist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Carl Lee .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Edward Colman .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Music Department
Jack Boyle .... stager: musical numbers (as John Boyle)
Edgar Fairchild .... musical director
Lloyd Akridge .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
James Mayfield .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Paul Neal .... music mixer (uncredited)
Other crew
Nan Grant .... researcher (uncredited)
Nanette Grant .... research director (uncredited)
Jean Kenney .... researcher (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
76 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Did You Know?

The set of the Gilded Cage nightclub and casino was recycled from the 1940 film "My Little Chickadee," starring Mae West and W. C. Fields.See more »
Continuity: In the chase sequence at the end of the movie, Bailey damages the gate of the ticket booth (with the "OFFICE" sign) by ramming his arms through the bars, yet seconds later it is intact and undamaged.See more »
Sebastian Dinwiddle:Well, go ahead and tell me!
Dexter Broadhurst:Who.
Sebastian Dinwiddle:The guy on first.
Dexter Broadhurst:Who.
Sebastian Dinwiddle:The first baseman.
Dexter Broadhurst:Who is on first.
Sebastian Dinwiddle:Have you got a first baseman on first?
Dexter Broadhurst:Certainly.
Sebastian Dinwiddle:Then who's playing first?
Dexter Broadhurst:Absolutely.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Comeback Season (2006)See more »
Uncle Tom's CabinSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
"Higher...HIGHER....No lower....LOWER.", 4 February 2006
Author: theowinthrop from United States

THE NAUGHTY NINETIES is one of those films of Abbott & Costello that is a favorite with their fans for the skits that are in them: the plot about the trio of gamblers plotting to take the showboat away from good old Captain Sam (Henry Travers) is tolerable, because it can be ignored. We like the old Captain, but we await the sketches involving the boys. In the end they help save the Captain, so they do become his pair of guardian angels - his "Clarences", if you will.

But the sketches are priceless, in particular the rehearsal sketch and the immortal WHO'S ON FIRST.

In another review I compared Bud and Lou with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Bud Abbott's persona is not like Oliver Hardy's, although both try to dominate (Bud, with more success) Lou and Stan. Ollie is quite self-important, but is (actually) as stupid as Stan is. His self-delusion is just added on the cake. But Bud normally is street smarter, and bullies Lou. He barks orders left and right to him, orders that Lou thinks he understands. The orders are in abbreviated form, using slang or short form descriptions that most people will understand, and that is doomed to confuse Lou.

In the rehearsal sketch, Lou is studying a song he wants to sing in the showboat show, and if he does it well Captain Sam will let him sing it. Bud is on stage helping direct the putting up of varying scenery. He is asked for help by Lou to help him, and to shut the little guy up, he half-heartedly agrees to do so. But he is concentrating on that scenery. So we hear Lou start singing "MY BONNIE LIES OVER THE OCEAN", and after awhile he hears Bud yelling "Higher", "HIGHER", "LOWER, etc. Of course Lou is not watching Bud directing the men with the scenery, and Lou raises and lowers his voice accordingly. The vast alterations eventually is too much for Lou, who falls into the orchestra pit while an oblivious Bud walks off stage.

The other sequence is even greater. If you say "Abbott & Costello" to anyone today, the phrase "Who's on First" comes up immediately. No other dialog of theirs is as memorable (not even that delectable skit about Niagara Falls). Indeed, due to the popularity of Baseball, the skit is honored in Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame, and Bud and Lou are members of the Hall of Fame too (without being baseball players). No other comedy team approached such a signature dialog - for instance Groucho and Chico Marx did several fractured English discussions, such as "Why a Duck" in COCONUTS, but the dialog is not central to their reputations. Similarly Laurel & Hardy's use of "two peas in a pod" in THE SONS OF THE DESERT is classic, but not central to their reputation.

"Who's On First" works on the same principle as the rehearsal skit - Lou cannot follow the statements fed him by Bud, and yet Bud is not being intentionally difficult. He starts by explaining the crazy nicknames of the baseball players these days, and Lou never makes the logical connection that the nicknames can be terms like "who", "what", "I don't know", and "I don't care". Once I saw someone rewrite Abbott's description as "Mr. Who is on First base; Mr. What is on Second Base...etc." Actually the effect on Lou would probably be minimal: How many people have surnames like "Who" (this was years before the British Doctor in the futuristic tardis showed up). Moreover, they are nicknames, not proper names like "Unconditional Surrender" Grant, or "Old Hickory" Jackson. So it can't be "Mr. Who" or "Mr. I Don't Care".

Interestingly few people seem to be noting that the nicknames don't say much for these players. "Who", "What", "I Don't Know", "I Don't Care", "Today", "Tomorrow" suggests that each of the players has a failing, like "Who" suggests he is confused at the strategy of the team (who is going to be targeted by his team's pitcher on the opposite team), "What" suggests a lack of understanding orders from the team coach or captain, "I Don't Know" suggests confusion, and "I Don't care (the short stop) doesn't give a damn to be on the scene of where the ball falls when he is needed. Lou's willingness to play on the team, which we accept as his fondness of the game (and his constant image of being childlike) may actually have some merit - he may be a better player than these others.

The highpoint (to me) of the dialog is when, giving up momentarily, trying to comprehend Bud's apparent double-talk, Lou shows he can repeat the line-up's name, and describe a baseball play perfectly. Bud shows his approval of this rational approach - only to hear Lou scream out he doesn't understand what he himself has been talking about. To me that was the perfect conclusion of the great confusion known as "Who's on First".

In recent years stores have offered mechanical representations of political and entertainment figures reciting comments they are supposed to be famous for. There was one pair together: of Bud and Lou in costume from THE NAUGHTY NINETIES (Bud wearing the baseball outfit of non-existent St. Louis Wolves), reciting Who's On First. That is immortality folks.

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