43 user 12 critic

Who Done It? (1942)

Approved | | Comedy, Mystery | 6 November 1942 (USA)
Two dumb soda jerks dream of writing radio mysteries. When they try to pitch an idea at a radio station, they end up in the middle of a real murder when the station owner is killed during a broadcast.


Erle C. Kenton


Stanley Roberts (story), Stanley Roberts (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview:
Bud Abbott ... Chick Larkin / Voice of Himself on Radio
Lou Costello ... Mervin Q. Milgrim / Voice of Himself on Radio
Patric Knowles ... Jimmy Turner
William Gargan ... Police Lt. Lou Moran
Louise Allbritton ... Jane Little
Thomas Gomez ... Col. J.R. Andrews
William Bendix ... Detective Brannigan
Don Porter ... Art Fraser
Jerome Cowan ... Marco Heller
Mary Wickes ... Juliet Collins
Ludwig Stössel ... Dr. Anton Marek (as Ludwig Stossel)


Two dumb soda jerks dream of writing radio mysteries. When they try to pitch an idea at a radio station, they end up in the middle of a real murder when the station owner is killed during a broadcast.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SHADES OF SHERLOCK...LOOK WHO'S SLEUTHING (original print ad-all caps) See more »


Comedy | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The "watts-volts" routine was not in the script. It was created by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello on the set. See more »


When Juliet is telling Mervyn that he can buy her some ice cream after the radio broadcast but that she had to go take care of radio business, her voice is heard but her lips don't move. When she turns around after entering the studio, she says something, but it isn't heard. See more »


Mervin Q. Milgrim: Operator! Give me Alexander two two, two two!
Telephone operator: The line is busy!
See more »


Referenced in Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952) See more »

User Reviews

Bud and Lou at the Top of Their Game
4 January 2003 | by TimBoHannonSee all my reviews

In 1942, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello capitalized on their smashing success and churned out what is arguably their best effort up to that point. This time around, Bud and Lou play two dim-witted soda jerks trying to work their way into the radio business. When a "whodunit" mystery writer meets them and gives them tickets to that night's play, the duo jump at the opportunity. However, they soon find themselves in the middle of a real murder case when the studio's Executive Director is bumped off in the same manner as the victims in the mystery script. Thanks to one of Bud's bright ideas, they become prime suspects in the case while the murderer targets them as well. Trying to clear their names and solve the case, Bud and Lou embark on a wild chase that evokes laugh after laugh after laugh.

After seeing this film, it is not at all difficult to see why Abbott and Costello were so popular. Every routine is treated like a masterpiece and their comedic delivery is as close to perfect as you will find anywhere. Take the soda bar scene, for example. It's not that the "Muck and Mire" radio script is so inhumanly dumb, but rather Lou's constant heckling of the straight-faced bud that is funny. Then there is the way Lou reacts to everything. The man is just priceless. These guys had comedy nailed like few others ever managed.

Another reason Who Done It? is so great is the supporting cast. Sure Bud and Lou almost get in trouble for pretending to be cops, but it is a wonder that the real ones managed to keep their jobs for more than a day. Williams Bendix as Brannigan is even dumber than Lou! Now that is a first! His buddy is not too bright either. Sure, Bud and Lou nearly get in trouble for pretending to be cops, but the real ones are nearly as bad. Adding even more laughs is Mary Wickes as Juliet Collins. The subplot with her and Lou completes a one-two-three punch that is one of A&C's best ever.

Finally, there cannot be a great Abbott and Costello without a famous routine or two. The "volts are watts" scene is terrific, and who can forget "Alexander 2222"? For fans of Bud and Lou, the best part has to be when they hear "Who's on First?" on the radio and DISLIKE IT! The director managed to create a terrific flow from one wacky sequence to the next. For Bud and Lou in top form, look no further than Who Done It? Laughs guaranteed.

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Release Date:

6 November 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Who Done It? See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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