In Society

In Society

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jean Yarbrough
Produced by Edmund L. Hartmann
Written by John Grant
Edmund Hartmann
Hal Fimberg
Starring Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Marion Hutton
Kirby Grant
Arthur Treacher
Music by Edgar Fairchild
Edited by Philip Cahn
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • August 18, 1944 (1944-08-18)
Running time
74 min
Language English
Budget $659,526.14[1]

In Society is a 1944 film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. It was the first of five Abbott and Costello films to be directed by Jean Yarbrough. It was re-released in 1953.


Eddie Harrington (Bud Abbott) and Albert Mansfield (Lou Costello) are plumbers who receive a call about a leak in the private bathroom of Mr. Van Cleve (Thurston Hall), a wealthy businessman. The grumpy man, though his costume is ready, does not attend the ball but goes to bed instead. The leak is keeping him awake, but the costume ball that his wife (Nella Walker) is throwing downstairs is not.

Eddie and Albert enlist the aid of a friend, Elsie Hammerdingle (Marion Hutton), a taxi driver, to take them to the mansion. While they are upstairs attempting to fix the leak—but flooding the room instead—Peter Evans (Kirby Grant), a guest dressed as a cab driver, mistakes Elsie for another costumed guest, despite her insistence that she really is just a cab driver. He winds up inviting her to another gala event, Mrs. Winthrop's (Margaret Irving) estate Briarwood, where a valuable painting, The Plunger (a heavy gambler), is to be unveiled.

Mrs. Van Cleve was intending to Eddie and Albert a letter of complaint for the devastation that they inflicted on her home. However, she is distracted for a moment while doing her mail, and instead sends them her own invitation to the unveiling of the Plunger at Briarwood. They think it is a reward for a job well done and look at it as a chance to meet other wealthy clients. Albert, being a plumber, can only think of a plumbing tool and is amazed at the value of the painting. However, a loan shark named Drexel (Thomas Gomez) to whom they owe money (they borrowed money from him to start their business and are balking at repaying him), demands they steal the painting while they are there. When they refuse to go through with the plan, Drexel and Marlow (Murray Leonard), a crooked chauffeur at the party, attempt to steal the painting themselves. When the painting is discovered to be missing, Gloria Winthrop (Ann Gillis), accuses Elsie, Eddie, and Albert of being the thieves. However, they clear their names when Eddie and Albert, in a fire truck, capture Drexel and Marlow and recover the painting.

At the end, some guests claim that Eddie and Albert stole their tuxedos and the two are chased across a field.


This film includes the classic Bagel Street scene—itself adapted from the popular vaudeville routine Floogle Street—during which Abbott and Costello attempt to deliver straw hats to the Susquehanna Hat Company, but everyone they meet along the way has a reason for hating that company, including a lunatic who claims that he was killed on Bagel Street, and each of them destroys a hat until there are none left.

This is followed by another scene where the two go careening down a steep street on a sofa, barely missing collisions, and causing havoc until the sofa lands in the river.


Filmed from June 12 through July 21, 1944, with much of it being filmed at the Jewett Estate on Arden Road in Pasadena, California.

Although Abbott and Costello filmed this Universal Pictures film after they filmed Lost in a Harem for MGM, this film was released first.

Lou Costello had recently returned to work following a battle with rheumatic fever. As a result, Universal wanted to release this film as quickly as possible. To save time, much of the climatic fire engine chase was lifted from W.C. Fields' Never Give a Sucker an Even Break.

DVD release

This film has been released twice on DVD. The first release was on The Best of Abbott and Costello Volume Two, May 4, 2004, and the second was on October 28, 2008 as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection.

See also


  1. Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0 p 108

External links

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