Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man
Directed By
Charles Lamont
Produced By
Howard Christie
Screenplay By
Robert Lees
Frederic I. Rinaldo
John Grant
Story By
Hugh Wedlock Jr.
Howard Snyder
Based on
The Invisible Man
by H.G. Wells
Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Nancy Guild
Arthur Franz
Edited By
Virgil Vogel
George Robinson
Music By
Erich Zeisl
Distributed By
Universal Pictures
United States
Release Date
March 19, 1951 (US)
82 minutes
Rating G.gif
$1,550,000 (US rentals)

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (also known as Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man (full screen title)) is a 1951 American horror comedy film directed by Charles Lamont and starring the team of Abbott and Costello alongside Nancy Guild.

The film depicts the misadventures of Lou Francis and Bud Alexander, two private detectives investigating the murder of a boxing promoter. The film was part of a series in which the duo meet classic characters from Universal's stable, including Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Keystone Kops.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Lou Francis (Lou Costello) and Bud Alexander (Bud Abbott) have just graduated from a private detective school. Tommy Nelson (Arthur Franz), a middleweight boxer, comes to them with their first case. Tommy recently escaped from jail after being accused of murdering his manager, and asks the duo to accompany him on a visit to his fiancée, Helen Gray (Nancy Guild). He wants her uncle, Dr. Philip Gray (Gavin Muir), to inject him with a special serum he has developed which will render Tommy invisible, and hopes to use the newfound invisibility to investigate his manager's murder and prove his innocence. Dr. Gray adamantly refuses, arguing that the serum is still unstable, recalling that the formula's discoverer, John Griffin, was driven insane by the formula and did not become visible again until after he was killed. However, as the police arrive Tommy injects himself with it and successfully becomes invisible. Detective Roberts (William Frawley) questions Dr. Gray and Helen while Bud and Lou search for Tommy.

Helen and Tommy convince Bud and Lou to help them seek the real killer, after Tommy explains that the motive for the murder occurred after he refused to "throw" a fight, knocking his opponent, Rocky Hanlon (John Day), out cold. Morgan (Sheldon Leonard), the promoter who fixed the fight, ordered Tommy's manager beaten to death while framing Tommy for the crime. In order to investigate undercover, Lou poses as a boxer, with Bud as his manager. They go to Stillwell's gym, where Lou gets in the ring with Rocky. Tommy, still invisible, gets into the ring with them and again knocks out Hanlon, making it look like Lou did it, and an official match is arranged. Morgan urges Lou to throw the fight, but when the match occurs (with the aid of an invisible Tommy), poor Hanlon is knocked out yet again. Morgan plans Bud's murder, which is thwarted by Tommy, who is wounded in the battle and begins to bleed badly. The protagonists rush to the hospital where a blood transfusion is arranged between Lou and Tommy. During the transfusion Tommy becomes visible again – some of Tommy's blood has apparently entered Lou, who briefly turns invisible, only to reappear with his legs inexplicably on backwards.

All spoilers have been stated and have ended here.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Screenshot from the trailer for the film.

  • Bud Abbott as Bud Alexander
  • Lou Costello as Lou Francis
  • Arthur Franz as Tommy Nelson / The Invisible Man
  • Nancy Guild as Helen Gray
  • Adele Jergens as Boots Marsden
  • Sheldon Leonard as Morgan
  • William Frawley as Detective Roberts
  • Gavin Muir as Dr. Philip Gray
  • Sam Balter as Radio announcer
  • John Daheim as Rocky Hanlon
  • Paul Maxey as Dr. James C. Turner
  • James Best as Tommy Nelson (Franz's stand-in)

Cast notes[edit | edit source]

  • Claude Rains appears in a photograph as Jack Griffin (now called John), the original invisible man from the 1933 film.

Production[edit | edit source]

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man was filmed between October 3 and November 6, 1950. The character names of "Bud Alexander" and "Lou Francis" are Abbott and Costello's real first and middle names.

The special effects, which depicted invisibility and other optical illusions, were created by Stanley Horsley, son of cinema pioneer David Horsley. He also did the special effects for The Invisible Man Returns, The Invisible Woman and Invisible Agent.

As a reference to the first Invisible Man film, a photo of the serum's inventor, Dr. John Griffin which is actually a picture of Claude Rains, who played the role in Universal's first Invisible Man film in 1933.

When asked by a reporter whom he has fought in the past, Lou answers, "Chuck Lamont, Bud Grant." The film's director and screenwriter, respectively, are Charles Lamont and John Grant.

Home media[edit | edit source]

This film has been released several times on DVD. First on The Best of Abbott and Costello Volume Three, on August 3, 2004, and again on October 28, 2008 as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection. Later, the film was included in the 3-disc The Invisible Man: The Complete Legacy Collection and the 21-disc Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection both released on September 2, 2014. It was released on Blu-ray on August 28, 2018.

External links[edit | edit source]

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