By Admin | January 20, 2006

BOOTLEG FILES 113: “Africa Screams” (1949 Abbott and Costello mess).

LAST SEEN: Playing online at

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Only in public domain dupes.


CHANCES OF SEEING A DVD RELEASE: Not likely, since it is an orphan film.


Get the bootleg in part two of THE BOOTLEG FILES: “AFRICA SCREAMS”>>>

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  1. Phil Hall says:

    The source I had for the “King Kong” reference is a 1976 book called “The King Kong Story.” I recall that because it was one of my favorite books when I was a kid, and it was the first time I heard of Charles Gemora. I don’t immediately recall my source for the Ritz Brothers reference, though I think it is the aforementioned Mulholland book, which had a chapter on the Ritz siblings that included a photo with the gorilla (I will have to double check on that).

  2. J. Barnett says:

    Not very accurate-

    Charlie Gemora was not in The Ritz Brothers-The Gorilla (1939). That gorilla was played by Art Miles. Also, Charlie would never take credit for playing King Kong. In fact, he disliked when people attributed him with it.

  3. Phil Hall says:

    @Peter: Mea culpa on several of the points raised. The review was written some years after I saw “Africa Screams” (an admittedly forgettable film), so I consulted with the Jim Mulholland book “The Abbott and Costello Book” (1977 paperback edition, published by Popular Library) for clarification on some points of the film that I had forgot. Alas, it seems Mr. Mulholland also forgot the film before he wrote about it: The book identifies Costello’s character as “Livingston” rather than “Livington” and has Abbott dressing as a gorilla rather than a lion. (I will be happy to provide a photocopy of Mr. Mulholland’s essay on “Africa Screams” to confirm this – my article did not rely on Wikipedia for its sourcing.) I remembered Abbott in the gorilla suit from a classic African-based segment of “The Abbott and Costello Show,” which was infinitely funnier than this movie – this clearly stuck in my mind instead of the scene from the film. The book title “Dark Africa” rather than “Dark Safari” is my error, for which I apologize. And while Gargantua might be considered an orangutan in a brief dialogue exchange, it is clearly an ape both in appearance and geography – orangutans are not native to Africa. That being said, I appreciate your taking the time to improve the article, I would offer my condolences for your having suffered through this awful movie.

  4. Peter says:

    Hi. I just watched this movie and have a few corrections to make to your post, please.
    1. Bud doesn’t dress up in a gorilla suit at all. It’s a lion suit, and that leads to Lou’s getting trapped in lion tamer Clyde Beatty’s cage with a real lion, then hiding out under a large box (the prop the lions would jump up onto) while Beatty did his act with the lion and then a few more.

    2. The “gorilla” character is supposed to be an “Orang-utan gargantua.” It’s a juvenile, because a 15-footer shows up later. There is nothing romantic between Lou and this ape, who does, however, feel sorry for Lou and wants to be his friend. It’s wrong to compare this to the lovey-dovey way the script would have had the ape eying Lou had it been a female (as seen in other movies). Since the ape ends up with this bag of diamonds, he also ends up being tycoon Lou’s business partner back in Lou’s new NYC skyscraper, where Bud is the elevator boy.

    3. Sorry, but your notetaking was not good. The book was titled “Dark Safari.”

    4. C’mon, Lou’s character was named Stanley Livington, no “s.” That’s obvious throughout the movie, when it is spoken dozens of times, and at the end, when “LiViNGTON” is in stone over the entrance to tycoon Lou’s (Stanley’s) office building.

    5. Numerous other details wrong!

    The Wikipedia article writers did better than you, but they have many details wrong, too. Good luck researching your corrections.

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