William “Bud” Abbott and Lou Costello were vaudeville comedians who became famous in radio, film, and television as Abbott and Costello. In 1938, they performed Who’s on First, a rapid-fire routine that had been reworked from a variety of early 1900s burlesque sketches, on radio for the very first time. It became a classic after that. From wikipedia:
Abbott and Costello performed “Who’s on First?” numerous times in their careers, rarely performing it exactly the same way twice. They did the routine for President Franklin Roosevelt several times. An abridged version was featured in the team’s 1940 film debut, One Night in the Tropics. The duo reprised the bit in their 1945 film The Naughty Nineties, and it is that longer version which is considered their finest recorded rendition. They also performed “Who’s on First?” numerous times on radio and television (notably in The Abbott and Costello Show episode “The Actor’s Home”, widely considered the definitive version).
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. A video (taken from The Naughty Nineties) now plays continuously on screens at the Hall.
In 1999, Time named the routine Best Comedy Sketch of the 20th century.
An early radio recording was placed in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2003.
In 2005, the line “Who’s on First?” was included on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 memorable movie quotations.
In the archives: Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra’s Take Me Out to the Ball Game, The Marx Bros’ classic mirror scene, Charlie Chaplin in the lion’s cage, Osvaldo Cavandoli’s La Linea, and the Candy Factory Conveyor Belt with Lucy and Ethel.
Bonus: Two great singing performances from Abbott and Costello movies.