This was posted on You Tube With The Audio of Sid Fields & Lou Costello performing “Who’s on First.”
“In the Early 1950’s , when Bud Abbott was unable to perform, Sidney Fields, playing the role of Professor Melonhead, took Abbott’s straight-man role in the skit “Who’s on First?”. They played it off that Bud Abbott was unable to make it so, with Abbott being sick, Professor Melonhead (Sidney Fields) the manager of the baseball team, would tell Lou the players name’s on the team.
This is the very rare audio performance of Lou & Sidney. Lou carried the act, in the beginning because you can tell that Sidney was nervous. He blew quite a few lines, but the genius of Lou Costello saved the bit. It’s amazing to hear this audio and listen to Lou Costello, “will” Sidney to succeed and remember his lines!”
Any fan of Abbott & Costello know Sid Fields.He has become a part of the fabric of A&C when he was part of the supporting cast of the A&C Costello television Show that ran for two seasons and 52 wonderful episodes that appeared from 1952-1954. Like the “Classic 39” episodes, the Classic 52 A&C Shows are still running today (I watch it on ME TV on Saturday mornings 5 am to 6 am).
I was lucky enough to meet Sid Fields in the early 1970. He lived in Las Vegas and had appeared in the Minsky’s Review at the Frontier before retiring He passed away in 1975 in Las Vegas at the age of 77.He considered the A&C Show his crowning achievement. It really preserved the work he had done for years in burlesque. He was greatly appreciative of Bud & Lou for the opportunity. Lou and Bud hired many of their old burlesque chums such as Murray Leonard to make appearances on the Classic 52.
What is important about this show is that A&C carefully preserved a permanent record of the great burlesque sketches played by some of the great burlesque performers from Beryt Lahr, Rags Ragland, Phil Silvers, Joe Yule (Mickey Rooney’s father) etc. Many were written for A&C by John Grant. Sid Fields helped write some of these great episodes, as well.
This is from WIKI: “The series is considered to be among the most influential comedy programs in history. In 1998 Entertainment Weekly praised the series as one of the “100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time”. In 2007, Time magazine selected it for its “The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME.” Jerry Seinfeld has declared that The Abbott and Costello Show, with its overriding emphasis upon funny situations rather than life lessons, was the inspiration for his own long-running sitcom, Seinfeld.
The show was a vehicle to bring the duo’s tried-and-true burlesque routines to television in a format that the team could control. It contained none of the musical interludes or love stories that marked most of their feature films. Basically, if a situation or gag was funny, the team filmed it with little regard to plot, character or continuity. As a result, the show became a valuable record of classic burlesque scenes performed by the duo.
Abbott and Costello portrayed unemployed actors sharing an apartment in a rooming house in Hollywood. The supporting cast included Sidney Fields as their landlord, Sidney Fields;Hillary Brooke as neighbor (and sometime love interest for Costello) Hillary Brooke; Gordon Jones as Mike the Cop, a dimwitted foil for the boys; Joe Besser as Stinky, a “little boy” dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit, played by the clearly adult Besser; and Joe Kirk (Costello’s brother-in-law) as Mr. Bacciagalupe, an Italian immigrant caricature who held a variety of jobs depending upon the requirements of the script. Bobby Barber and Joan Shawlee also appeared frequently. Several episodes featured a pet chimp named “Bingo”, who was dressed exactly the same as Costello; she was later “fired” from the show after biting Costello. Brooke, Besser and Kirk also left the cast after the first season.
Lou Costello owned the show with Bud Abbott working on salary. The show was not a network program when first introduced but was sold into syndication by MCA Inc. to about 40 local stations across the country. As a result, it was broadcast on different days and at different times in different cities. In New York it first appeared on the CBS affiliate, WCBS, on December 5, 1952, but was not carried nationally on that network. Second-season episodes (1953–54) were telecast in New York on NBC‘s flagship station, WNBT (later WNBC). The only time the show was broadcast on a network was when CBS repeated first-season episodes as part of its Saturday morning schedule in the 1954-55 season.
The first two establishing episodes were produced by Alex Gottlieb, who had produced the team’s first ten films and, more recently, their two independent color films, Jack and the Beanstalk and Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952). Jean Yarbrough, who directed every episode of the series, took over the producing chores thereafter. (Costello’s brother, Pat Costello, was listed as the producer but his function was nominal.) Eddie Forman, who was a staff writer on The Abbott and Costello Show on radio, wrote the first five episodes, after which Sidney Fields wrote the remaining 21 shows. Episodes in the second season were primarily written by Clyde Bruckman (15 shows) and Jack Townley (10). Fields received a co-writing credit on five episodes, including one with Costello.
The first season was filmed at the Hal Roach Studios in Culver City. The 14.5-acre (59,000 m2) studio, once known as “The Lot of Fun,” was torn down in 1963 and replaced by “Landmark Street,” an area of light industrial buildings, businesses and an automobile dealership, where a plaque marks the studio’s former location. The second season was shot at Motion Picture Center Studios (today Red Studios Hollywood), where the team had made Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd. Soon after, the studio became Desilu-Cahuenga Studios. I Love Lucy and the Danny Thomas and Jack Benny shows were also filmed there.
Sid Fields played a prominent supporting role as “Mr. Fields,” the hot-tempered, bald-headed landlord of the rooming house where Abbott and Costello lived. He was a frequent target of gags and schemes foisted by the two main characters. Like other cast regulars, Fields played other roles as well, usually wearing a wig or other disguise. (These characters were often described as relatives of Mr. Fields.) He also wrote some of the episodes. Fields was part of an ensemble cast that included Hillary Brooke as a neighbor and love interest of Lou Costello’s, Gordon Jones as Mike the Cop, who was a dimwitted comedic foil for the boys, Joe Besser as Stinky Davis, a 40-year-old man dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit, and Joe Kirk as Mr. Bacciagalupe, an Italian immigrant caricature who ran a bakery store.
Karen Sharpe Kramer (widow of the great director Stanley Kramer (High Noon, Caine Mutiny, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,l It’s a Mad Mad Mad, Mad World) stars in the A&C episode below: Honeymoon House. Karen recently told me how hard Lou worked on each episode (she said Bud just generally showed up and knew his lines). She said he was an absolute joy to work with and was very helpful to her and gave her great pointers that were immensely helpful.