"I've always had a sore spot," said Chris Costello, "because the so-called comedy historians have always overlooked the contribution to comedy that Abbott and Costello made."
Well, if Chris Costello, the 41-year-old daughter of the late Lou, has her way, all that will change. First off, there's a chance for a commemorative stamp. "I think," she said, "it's long overdue - and something like that would really signal that now is their time."And there is a growing fan club. "The audience that's giving us the greatest response," she insisted, "is under 30."
In addition to all that, her business partner, 49-year-old Bud Abbott Jr., says, "People have been saturated with dirty comedy. I think people enjoy clean comedy from 30 years ago."
If the last is indeed true, this new Abbott and Costello team, which also includes Bud Abbott Jr.'s sister Vicki and Chris Costello's sister Paddy, may just have something in "The Best of Abbott and Costello Live," a new video being distributed by Warner Home Video.
The tape, a compilation of the team's live appearances on the small screen - including the occasional blooper - was culled from well-preserved, family-held kinescopes shot between 1951 and 1954.
"This is the first time in 32 years that the families have gotten together - to help make this tape, and future projects, successful," Chris Costello said.
And when the families got together, they formed Abbott & Costello Enterprises - which, Abbott thinks, is a lesson for others.
"We're proving that heirs of celebrities can band together and keep the pirates away. The main problem is that many times the heirs never get along. There's always a lot of hostility. If they could get together - if only around a business table - they can do what we've done."
One future project they're trying to put together is a documentary about their fathers.
And with it they hope to put to rest a lot of the rumors surrounding the two men - rumors that were revived just 10 years ago when Harvey Korman and Buddy Hackett starred in the made-for-TV film, "Bud and Lou."
"If you look at that horrendous movie," Costello said, "they gave the impression that Abbott and Costello died broke. That wasn't true. And it infuriated me because my father was a forerunner of television residuals. They were signed to Universal, and Abbott and Costello were the first stars in Hollywood to get 10 percent of their films.
"We tried to stop the movie," she said. "We tried to get an injunction - but we couldn't."