Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Who Done It?

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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were stars on radio long before they got into pictures, and this energetic 1942 mystery-comedy shows their exceptional verbal timing to best advantage, setting them loose in a radio station after the owner is murdered on the air. Stanley Roberts wrote the story, but the team's material was by their right-hand man John Grant (who began his long association with them on The Kate Smith Show), and it's a cornucopia of hustles, shortchange routines, and loony debates. A young Mary Wickes shines as a smart-mouthed secretary Costello is trying to woo, and William Bendix and William Gargan are police detectives chasing the team around and around the station. The movie established Abbott and Costello as the world's top box-office draw; now, buried under some three dozen features, it's a reminder of how funny they could be in their element. Preceded by Call of the Cuckoos, a 1927 Laurel and Hardy short directed by Clyde Bruckman. 75 min. LaSalle Theatre.

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