Together they starred in 36 films and made countless appearances on television and radio. JOHN MARTZ is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives in Toronto with his wife and dog. In 1956, they were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. John loves cartoons, comics, and comedy and grew up watching Abbott and Costello movies.
They aroused big laughs with the famous baseball skit “Who’s On First,” called the greatest two-man comedy routine ever.
Then the comical Costello urged them to buy war bonds at the prison post office (which they were already doing).
He went back for a paper, and when he came out the building was not only completed and occupied, but “they were throwing people out for not paying their rent.” Last stop on the three-city tour was in Ironwood in the western U. In her national newspaper column, Hollywood gossip maven Hedda Hopper had announced that Abbott and Costello were stopping in Ironwood, fueling local interest to a fever pitch.
Gogebic County had already suffered six war deaths, and would have 181 by war’s end, so they realized the importance of buying bonds.
In its post-show edition, the Ironwood Times saluted the campaign committee’s bringing in Abbott and Lou Costello as “one of the finest events ever staged here.
Their greatest reward is the general satisfaction of a satisfied community.” Stunning impact Abbott and Costello toured under sponsorship of the U. Treasury Department, receiving no pay and using their own vacation time.
Travel expenses were shared by the comedians, their movie studio, the U. Army (which flew them from place to place), and state and local police departments who provided escort and security services. Behind-the-scenes incidents strained the pair’s relationship, and they reportedly spoke to each other only while performing. With America’s war financed mainly by the American people—whose bond buying provided over half the cost of the war—Abbott and Costello were responsible for almost half of those bond sales.
Abbott and Costello were no doubt the major fund-raisers among the many celebrities who promoted the cause. One year later, on the day Costello returned to the pair’s radio show after the bond tours and his several near-fatal bouts with rheumatic fever, one-year old Lou Jr. The basic bond cost .75, and returned eight years later.
Ishpeming digs deep Meanwhile, Ishpeming was throbbing with patriotic spirit as 20,000 people enjoyed a mile-long parade with the theme “Marquette County at War.” After the parade, over 5,000 streamed into the new high school stadium for a free-admission, two-hour show with three bands, soloists and choirs, patriotic speeches, a Fort Brady military unit and a comedy skit by Abbott and Costello (who arrived a little late from the prison).
Three local civic groups sold refreshments and divvied up the proceeds.
(In 2014, the Ironwood Historical Society showed a 1942 color film of the event.) The local campaign covered Gogebic and Ontonagon counties in Michigan, and Iron, Ashland and Vilas counties in Wisconsin, as organizers aimed for 0,000 in bond sales to underwrite the cost of 25,000 tons of “victory iron ore” from local mines.