First Abbott & Costello ‘Who’s on First?’ Talking Bobblehead Set Unveiled
MILWAUKEE – This morning, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled an officially licensed, limited-edition Abbott & Costello “Who’s on First?” Talking Bobblehead Set to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the famous comedy routine, first heard in 1938. This marks the first bobbleheads of both Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, and the bobbleheads play over five minutes of their “Who’s on First?” skit at the touch of a button. The bobbleheads are being produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, and are being released in conjunction with National Bobblehead Day, which is celebrated annually on January 7th.
"We are thrilled to be producing the first Abbott and Costello bobbleheads,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “One of the greatest comedy duos of all time, Abbott and Costello’s ‘Who’s on First?’ routine is a timeless classic. The bobblehead set is sure to be a hit and will be a must-have for fans!’”
Considered one of the greatest comedy routines of all time, the premise of the sketch is that Abbott is identifying the players on a baseball team for Costello. The infielders’ names are Who (first base), What (second base) and I Don’t Know (third base) and the names can simultaneously serve as the basis for questions. The key to the routine is Costello’s mounting frustration set against Abbott’s unyielding formality.
The talking bobbleheads feature the duo standing on a baseball-shaped base bearing their names. Abbott is dressed in a St. Louis Wolves uniform, while Costello is wearing a suit and holding a baseball bat over his left shoulder. Each bobblehead set is individually numbered to 1,938 to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the comedy skit. They are available for pre-order through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s Online Store. The bobbleheads, which are expected to ship in February, are $50 each plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order.
Abbott and Costello’s work in radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team of the 1940s and early-1950s, and the highest paid entertainers in the world during World War II. The comedians first worked together in 1935 at the Eltinge Burlesque Theater on 42nd Street in New York City. Costello’s regular partner became ill, and Abbott substituted for him. With Abbott as the devious straight man and Costello as his dimwitted sidekick, the team made its first known radio broadcast on “The Kate Smith Hour” on February 3, 1938. The following month, on March 24th, Abbott and Costello performed their “Who’s on First?” skit for the first time for a national radio audience.
“Who’s on First?” is believed to be available in as many as 20 versions, ranging from one minute to up to 10 minutes. Abbott and Costello performed the skit numerous times in their careers, including for President Franklin Roosevelt several times. They rarely performed it the same way twice. Abbott and Costello’s final performance of “Who’s on First?” on TV was on Steve Allen’s variety show in 1957. In 1956, a gold record of “Who’s on First?” was placed in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. In 1999, Time named the routine the Best Comedy Sketch of the 20th century.
About the Abbott & Costello:
“Abbott & Costello” is a trademark of TCA Television Corp., Hi Neighbor and Diana Abbott Colton. Image of Bud Abbott used with the permission of Hi Neighbor and Diana Abbott Colton. Image of Lou Costello used with the permission of TCA Television Corp. © 2023 All Rights Reserved. Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing.
About the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum:
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located at 170 S. 1st St. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, opened to the public on February 1st, 2019. The HOF and Museum also produces high quality, customized bobbleheads for retail sale as well as organizations, individuals, and teams across the country. Visit us online and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.