In the gay '90s, cardsharps take over a Mississippi riverboat from a kindly captain. Their first act is to change the showboat into a floating gambling house. A ham actor and his bumbling sidekick try to devise a way to help the captain regain ownership of the vessel.
Bud Abbott ... Dexter Broadhurst
Lou Costello ... Sebastian Dinwiddle
Alan Curtis ... Mr. Crawford
Rita Johnson ... Bonita Farrow
Henry Travers ... Capt. Sam Jackson
Lois Collier ... Miss Caroline Jackson
Joe Sawyer ... Bailey
Joe Kirk ... Croupier
Director: Jean Yarbrough
Codecs: XVid / MP3
It's not surprising that Abbott and Costello eventually got to do a movie on a showboat. Remember it was only 8 years earlier that Universal Studios did their classic version of Showboat and I'm sure that Carl Laemmle, Jr. wanted to take advantage of the set that was still there.
The Naughty Nineties in fact take whole characters from the Showboat plot. Henry Travers's character of Captain Sam is a total ripoff of Captain Andy and Alan Curtis and Lois Collier make a passable nonsinging Gaylord Ravenal and Magnolia Hawkes. Collier sings, but there are no classic duets like in Showboat. And Curtis's character is a riverboat gambler like Ravenal.
That being said the plot such as it is involves Rita Johnson and her two associates, Curtis and Joe Sawyer, gaining possession of Henry Travers's showboat with which they then set up some crooked gambling to make a quick profitable kill.
Abbott and Costello are part of the Showboat crew. Abbott is an actor in the Victorian tradition and Costello is as usual a lovable all around klutz that Travers must be keeping around for laughs.
If it's laughs Travers wants, he's made a sound investment because the boys do provide the public with plenty of that. The Naughty Nineties is famous as the film they did their classic Who's on First baseball routine. It had been done previously in their debut film, One Night in the Tropics, but in an abbreviated form.
Actually there is one routine involving poor Lou as he thinks he's eating a cat, I mean the feline type cat.
Joe Sawyer joins a list of otherwise serious actors like Douglass Dumbrille, Lionel Atwill, and Lon Chaney, Jr., who got in on the comedy with the boys. Sawyer does his own version of the famous Niagara Falls routine involving him sleepwalking and he looks like he's having a ball doing it. Sawyer makes a perfect foil for Bud and Lou's monkeyshines.
And I think the audience will enjoy it as much as Joe Sawyer.
* Contains the famous "Who's on First" routine. The routine began life as part of Abbott and Costello's Vaudeville act, then it debuted in their first film One Night in the Tropics (1940), though none of the previous incarnations were as lengthy as the one in this movie.
* The only baseball defensive position NOT mentioned in the "Who's On First" routine: Right Field.
* The scene of Abbott and Costello doing their classic "Who's on First" routine is run continuously at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. It is regarded as the best version of this routine in existence.
* Listen closely during the "Who's On First" routine. The laughter that can be heard faintly belongs to the film crew and director. After numerous takes trying to eliminate it, the power of Abbott and Costello to elicit laughter during this sequence proved too strong. The director had no choice but to leave the giggling in.
* 'Costello, Lou' recycles the "Lifesavers Candy" routine Groucho Marx used in the Marx Brothers' hit Horse Feathers (1932).
* The boat used as the show boat "River Queen" in this production was also used as the "Cotton Palace" in Show Boat (1936)
* The movie's line "Who's on first." was voted as the #91 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
* The character of Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) (1988) in _Rain Man (1998)_ memorizes "Who's On First" and uses it as therapy. If Hoffman is asked he will recite the routine
* The riverboat was later renamed the "Cotton Blossom" and used in the 1951 version of Show Boat (1951). It was sold off in 1973 when MGM disposed of many of its properties. It later an amusement park attraction. Sadly, in 1995, it was dismantled and scrapped.