Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd is a 1952 comedy film directed by Charles Lamont and starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello, along with Charles Laughton, who reprised his role as the infamous pirate from the 1945 film Captain Kidd. It was the second film in SuperCinecolor, a three-color version of the two-color process Cinecolor.

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCharles Lamont
Produced byAlex Gottlieb
Written byHoward Dimsdale
John Grant
StarringBud Abbott
Lou Costello
Charles Laughton
Hillary Brooke
Leif Erickson
Fran Warren
Music byRaoul Kraushaar
CinematographyStanley Cortez
Edited byEdward Mann
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
December 27, 1952
Running time
70 min.
CountryUnited States
Box office$2 million (US)[2]


Oliver "Puddin' Head" Johnson (Lou Costello) and Rocky Stonebridge (Bud Abbott) are on their way to Death's Head Tavern, where they work. They encounter Lady Jane (Fran Warren), who asks them to bring a love note to the tavern singer, Bruce Martingale (Bill Shirley).

At the tavern, the notorious Captain Kidd (Charles Laughton) is dining with Captain Anne Bonney (Hillary Brooke), a female pirate. She accuses Kidd of raiding ships in her territory and is asking for restitution. Kidd informs Bonney that he has hidden the amassed treasure on Skull Island, and that only he has the map to its exact location. He agrees to take her, with her ship in tow, to the island so that she can receive her share. During the discussion, Oliver happens to be waiting on them, and inadvertently switches the map for the love note that he was carrying. Rocky discovers the mistake and goes to Captain Kidd, demanding a share of the treasure and a place on the voyage in exchange for the map. Kidd ostensibly agrees, but intends to kill Oliver and Rocky once he gets the map.

The voyage begins (with the addition of Bruce, who has been shanghaied), and Kidd unsuccessfully attempts to regain the map throughout the entire voyage. Meanwhile, Bonney mistakenly believes that Oliver wrote the love note and has now fallen for him (further complicating the whole situation)! Also during the voyage, Kidd raids another ship, which happens to have Lady Jane on board, and she is kidnapped.

The two ships finally arrive at Skull Island; Oliver and Rocky begin to dig up the treasure, when Kidd arrogantly declares his plans to dispose of them along with Captain Bonney. Bonney alerts the others to Kidd's true intentions, and her crew attacks. The treasure is recovered, and Bonney's crew wins the fight, with Kidd becoming her prisoner.



Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd was filmed from February 27 through March 25, 1952. Since Universal would not spend the extra money to make an Abbott and Costello film in color, the duo opted to do it themselves. Using a contractual agreement with Universal that permitted them to make one independent film per year, they made the film using Abbott's company, Woodley Productions (and their first color film, Jack and the Beanstalk, using Costello's company, Exclusive Productions).[3]

Produced during a slump in Charles Laughton's career, the accomplished actor signed on to do the film for a mere $25,000.[4] Shortly after filming was completed, on April 6, Abbott and Costello hosted an episode of the Colgate Comedy Hour and brought Laughton along as a guest. Later that year, the three of them filmed a two-minute commercial for Christmas Seals.


The film was re-released in 1960 by RKO Pictures.


  • Handcuff Scene, first used in Who Done It?, is used again here. (This time, Captain Kidd demonstrates to Oliver how handcuffs should be worn by putting them on himself).

Home media

This film, along with Rio Rita, were released on DVD on April 1, 2011 by Warner Bros. on the WB Archive Collection.


  1. Furmanek p 231
  2. 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954
  3. Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0
  4. "Charles Laughton". Hollywood Greats. Series 2. Episode 5. August 31, 1978. 29 minutes in.
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