Bagel Street, aka. Susquehanna Hat Company, aka. Fleugel Street routine—Abbott and Costello skit, taken from In Society
This is a classic vaudeville routine, and highly popular with the fans of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. During the filming of In Society, Lou wanted to include this routine in the movie. However, because the movie was already on a tight shooting schedule, since Universal Pictures wanted to release this film before MGM’s Abbott and Costello movie “Lost in a Harem,” the producers refused. Lou was unwilling to give up on the idea, so he filmed and directed this segment himself.
The routine involves Abbott and Costello helping out a friend, Derby Dan, owner of a hat shop, by delivering some hats to the Susquehanna Hat Company on Bagel Street [later, when doing the same routine on the Abbott and Costello television show, it was changed to Fleugel Street].
Bud Abbott: You’ve got to deliver these to the Susquehanna Hat Company!
Lou Costello: Where?
Bud Abbott: It’s on Bagel Street!
Lou Costello: Where’s Bagel Street?
Bud Abbott: I don’t know, we’ll ask somebody. It’s on our way down there
Lou Costello: [Getting a hat from the box] How much did you say they are?
Bud Abbott: $7.50 a piece!
Lou Costello: [places a hat on his head] How do I look with a 7 and a half dollar hat on?
Bud Abbott: Let me see … say, kind of spiffy!
Lou Costello: OK?
Bud Abbott: Alright, but carry those [gives boxes to Lou] but don’t get it dirty!
Lou Costello: Let’s go
Bud Abbott: Be careful
Lou Costello: Bagel Street eh?
Bud Abbott: Bagel Street!
Lou Costello: We’ll ask somebody!
Bud Abbott: We’ll ask somebody!
[down the street]
Bud Abbott: Here. Ask this fellow where Bagel Street is!
Lou Costello: OK – [to stranger] Excuse me … can you tell me where Bagel Street is?
Man: Sorry Buddy, I haven’t got a dime!
Lou Costello: Who’s asking you for money? I’m only asking you where Bagel Street is!
Man: Do I know where Bagel Street is?? Of course I know where Bagel Street is! What do I look like, a dummy? Do I look like I have just come off a boat? Is there a tag on my lapel saying that I just came from Ellis Island? Of course I know where Bagel Street is! I was born and raised on Bagel Street! My brother was born on Bagel Street! You know my brother?
Lou Costello: All I’m asking you …
Man: [interrupting] Why do you go round talking about my brother? I’ll have you understand my brother is one of the finest guys to have ever walked in shoe leather. My brother was an honest student at school! Go ahead, say something nasty about my brother. Say something like … ‘he shouldn’t get a parole!’
Lou Costello: I’m asking you where Bagel Street is! A common ordinary citizen asking another fellow where Bagel Street is! I have to deliver these hats to the Susquehanna hat company!
Man: [grabs Lou by the lapels]
Lou Costello: Let go of me!
Man: [points to Lou’s hat] – is that a
Lou Costello: yeah!
Man: [Takes off Lou’s hat and holds it] You know who makes these hats?
Lou Costello: I don’t know some …
Man: [interrupting] Child labour! Little girls. 13 – 14 years old. Little girls with curls down their hair. They work 13 – 14 hours a day. They work in a sweatshop all day long. [punches hole through top of hat] Here’s what I think of a
Lou Costello: [helplessly looking on as man goes crazy ripping his hat apart] seven and a half dollars!!
Man: Ow!! [he’s just cut his finger] Mmmm [sucking finger]
Lou Costello: What’s the matter?
Man: So you put the wire in there to cut my finger? [beating Lou over the head with the hat] Boy! the
Bud Abbott: Well. You know that’s gonna cost you, you know!
Lou Costello: Give ‘em back to Dan
Bud Abbott: Seven dollars and fifty cents! You broke one of Dan’s hats!
Lou Costello: Look, all I did was put a hat on my head [places another hat on his head] Did I ask the guy to take it off?
Bud Abbott: That’s enough! It’s the way you ask them!
Lou Costello: You ask the next guy!
Bud Abbott: Come on. Never mind. Let’s find Bagel Street!
[Further down the street]
Bud Abbott: Here. Ask this lady where Bagel Street is!
Lou Costello: Excuse me lady! Can you tell me where Bagel Street is?
Lady: Bagel Street? [cries] Ohh, why did you have to remind me of Bagel Street? My husband was killed on Bagel Street, do you hear? My husband was killed on Bagel Street!
Lou Costello: Well I mean, after all, all I don’t understand this. I wanna go, to the Susquehanna Hat Company!
Lady: Susquehanna Hat Company??? [cries angrily, takes hat off Lou’s head] – Is that a Susquehanna hat? That’s the same kind of hat my husband was wearing when he was killed! He wouldn’t have lost his life if he had of been wearing a good hat when that safe fell off that 15 storey building – but no! He was wearing a hat like this one. [punches hole through hat] That’s the cheapest hat I ever saw … Oh! My husband’s dead! [runs off crying] He’s Dead! He’s Dead!
Lou Costello: He ain’t dead lady … he’s hidin’!
Bud Abbott: Now look!
Lou Costello: That guy!
Bud Abbott: Now, just a minute! That’s two hats you’ve broken! Now you know how much you own Derby Dan?
Lou Costello: How much do I owe Derby Dan?
Bud Abbott: Fifteen Dollars!
Lou Costello: Fifteen Dollars?
Bud Abbott: Yes! [shouting] and STOP insulting women!!!
Lou Costello: Look! All I asked her was ‘where was Bagel Street!’
[Young Woman walks up behind Lou]
Young Woman: Bagel Street? [screams]
Lou Costello: [punches hole in hat before she has an opportunity]
Young Woman: Bagel Street? Don’t ever mention that name to me again! I can’t stand it! [takes broken hat and hits Lou over the head with it] BAGEL STREET! [storms off] Oh!
Bud Abbott: Wait a minute!
Lou Costello: [picks up hat boxes and looks as if he’s about to throw them away]
Bud Abbott: Hold that still!
Lou Costello: Give him back the hats!
Bud Abbott: Take that box and go on down there and find out where Bagel Street is! [pushes Lou down the street—further down the street – pauses outside china pottery shop]
Lou Costello: Hey, Eddie.
Bud Abbott: What?
Lou Costello: How much do I owe Derby Dan now?
Bud Abbott: Twenty two dollars and fifty cents.
Lou Costello: I’m going to try just one more! [places another hat on head]
Bud Abbott: Be careful with that one, will you please!
Lou Costello: Yes sir!
Bud Abbott: Hey wait a minute … I’ve got an idea. I’m going to run back to our plumbing shop, and get some of those little business cards of ours, and we can give them away to those society people up in Briarwood.
Lou Costello: Very good business sense you got Eddie!
Bud Abbott: But find out where Bagel Street is, please! [Exits scene]
Lou Costello: OK, I’ll ask another guy that comes along. I’ll ask anybody, I don’t care!
[Man comes into scene]
Lou Costello: Excuse me, Mister. Can you please tell me where Bagel Street is?
Man: [sadly] Bagel Street? Don’t ask me where Bagel Street is … [starts crying] A terrible thing happened to me on Bagel Street [openly sobbing]. I was walking along, minding my own business, and a safe fell off a 15 storey building on my head and killed me!!
Lou Costello: A safe fell 15 floors on your head and killed you?
Man: Yeah!! [sobbing]
Lou Costello: Well, as long as you’re dead then there’s no use asking you where the Susquehanna Hat Company is …
Man: [loudly] Susquehanna Hat?!? That’s the kind of hat I was wearing when I was killed and …
Lou Costello: [quickly takes off hat and places it back in the box]
Man: … and you ask me about a … [takes hat out of box] – this hat?? this hat is not worth wearing and .. [yelling] This is the kind of hat I was killed in! [punches hole through hat]
Lou Costello: Eddie!
Man: [beats Lou over head repeatedly with broken hat]
Lou Costello: Eddie! Eddie!
Man: [screaming] You’re asking me about … [pauses] I’m so sorry [calmly]. I .. I .. I think I’ve broken your hat!
Lou Costello: You think you’ve broken it?
Lou Costello: This is the fourth Susquehanna Hat I…
Man: [yelling] Susquehanna! [grabs vase and breaks it over Lou’s head—Shop proprietor, an older Italian man named Luigi, comes out to see what the commotion is about]
Luigi: What are you doing? Help! Police! Help! Help! Help!
Cop: What’s going on here?
Luigi: Ah, this fellow here, this big fellow, is trying to take it on the little fellow, my friend
Cop: [grabbing man] Come on!
Luigi: Lock him up!
Man: [Smiling] You can’t take me to Jail!
Cop: Oh no?
Man: I’m dead!! [laughs] You can’t take me to jail!
Cop: Oh yes I can! Come on!
Man: I’m Dead! [laughing hysterically] Ha ha ha ha!
Cop: [drags crazy man off to jail]
Luigi: He’s crazy!
Lou Costello: He’s crazy!
Luigi: Yeah! What can I do now for you, Albert?
Lou Costello: Luigi, How can I get to the Susquehanna Hat Company?
Luigi: Susquehanna! Susquehanna!
Lou Costello: Luigi!
Luigi: [Runs in shop, reappears with axe and smashes all the vases on display!]
Lou Costello: [grabs hat boxes and runs off]