Cast & Crew
Lovebirds Eloise Larkin and Arthur Royal, who are performing in an amateur theatrical production, have a dress rehearsal to attend, but Eloise must first find a baby-sitter for her siblings, a baby sister and a precocious eight-year-old brother, Donald. As no baby-sitter will watch the mischievous Donald more than once, Eloise calls Polly, a very tall person who runs an employment agency. Before going on a date with her boyfriend, the colossal Sgt. Riley, Polly sends Jack and his "agent," Mr. Dinkel, to the Larkin house. When Jack and Dinkel arrive, Donald is ready to terrorize, but instead becomes fascinated by Jack's incompetence. After permitting Jack to read aloud Jack's favorite story, Donald soon takes over when the words get too tough. As Jack slips into drowsiness, he hears this story: A muddleheaded boy named Jack lives with his mother in a village that is terrorized by a giant. The giant has stolen the royal jewels, so Princess Eloise must marry Prince Arthur from a nearby kingdom, sight unseen, for the sake of the kingdom. On her way to be married, she stops for a drink of water at Jack's house. The giant has also stolen the village's food, making times so hard that Jack's mother orders him to sell their only cow, Henry, to the butcher, Mr. Dinkelpuss. On the way, Jack meets the prince, who confides that he is unimpressed with a princess who would marry for money. As they talk, they hear the giant nearby and when the rumbling settles, Jack realizes that the prince is gone. In the village, Dinkelpuss tricks Jack into accepting five magic beans for Henry, instead of money, but then loses Henry to the giant. Meanwhile, Jack happily heads home, until he learns from the villagers that the giant stole the princess. At home, Jack tells his mother about the stolen princess and the magic beans. Resigned to Jack's stupidity, she has him plant the beans, hoping that they at least might grow into something edible. By morning the beans have become a towering beanstalk that Jack decides to climb, telling his mother that he will avenge his father's death at the hands of the giant, save the princess and find Nellie, their stolen hen who lays golden eggs. After hearing about the hen, Dinkelpuss decides to follow Jack up the beanstalk. At the top, Jack and Dinkelpuss see the castle, but on their way there, the giant catches them and takes them as prisoners. Meanwhile, in the castle, the prince and princess are locked up and overseen by the giant's giant housekeeper, Polly, and Patrick, a talking harp. As both want to be liked for themselves and not their royal status, neither informs the other of his or her true identity. However, the prince, pretending to be a troubadour, wins the heart of the princess with his singing. Jack and Dinkelpuss are put to work, but arrange for the prince and princess to meet for a moonlight stroll in the garden. Watching them, Polly and Jack are inspired to dance together. Polly, who is willing to help, Polly suggests they can escape using the trunks of skinny trees to catapult them beyond the walls of the locked garden. The next morning, Jack almost becomes the giant's breakfast, but Polly and the others knock out the giant with a log. Unable to exit through the locked door, they escape by swinging on a chandelier through a high window, out to the garden. Almost everyone, including Henry and Nellie, gets out, but Jack is delayed when the giant awakens. After a vigorous fight, Jack reunites with the others in the garden, but when it is his turn to be catapulted over the garden walls, he forgets to get on the tree and is left behind. Finally, Jack climbs the wall, but the giant follows him. The rest of the group climbs down the beanstalk, and Dinkelpuss reports Jack's heroic death to the waiting villagers. When the king arrives for the marriage ceremony, the prince and princess are both unhappy to learn that they have been deceiving each other, but soon make up. Then Jack is spotted climbing down the stalk, with the giant close behind him. On the ground, Jack grabs an ax and chops down the beanstalk, causing the giant to fall to the earth, then through it, all the way to China. As the villagers cheer, their hero kneels before the king to be crowned. Back at the Larkin household, Jack is awakened when Donald crowns him with a vase. Eloise and Arthur return from their rehearsal, and Jack, confusing the story with reality, leaves the house filled with delusions of grandeur.
Clarence C. Eurist
J. R. Glass
Wilton R. Holm
Clifford D. Shank
Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk was the first of the independent films the comedy duo were permitted to produce by their contract with Universal. Each of the two formed his own company ¿Lou Costello's Exclusive Productions and Bud Abbott¿ Woodley Productions ¿with the intention of making films in color (a luxury denied them at their home studio). Lou's company would own the first project, Jack and the Beanstalk, with Bud working on salary, and Bud's company would own the second, Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952), with Lou on salary.
According to Bob Furmanek and Ron Palumbo in their book, Abbott and Costello in Hollywood (Perigee), Costello got the idea to make this movie while reading the story to his four-year-old daughter. "I was only part way through the book when I started to look at the pretty pictures and thought what a wonderful movie this would make," he related in the film¿ pressbook. "Then I remembered that some of the biggest box-office smashes have been fantasies ¿The Wizard of Oz  and the Disney films." Costello (who was the undisputed boss of the production, right down to hiring the writers and cast) used the storytelling device to frame the picture, opening it in sepia with Lou the babysitter reading the story to his young charge and moving to color ¿much like The Wizard of Oz ¿after he falls asleep and dreams himself into the tale.
Except for the opening and closing sepia sequences, the film was shot in the new three-strip Super CineColor process. The picture was completed in 22 days ¿two days under schedule ¿and a considerable sum of money was saved by using sets left over from the Ingrid Bergman vehicle Joan of Arc (1948).
Although most people now remember Bud Abbott with a mustache, this was actually its first screen appearance (after 30 pictures the two had already made together). He decided to keep it, and maintained this new look during the team's successful run on television, which began in the fall of 1952. Ratings for their first two appearances on The Colgate Comedy Hour had been excellent, and in May 1951, the two signed an exclusive deal with NBC guaranteeing them $15,000,000 over five years for a regular comedy series. Alex Gottlieb and Jean Yarbrough, the producer and director, respectively, of Jack and the Beanstalk, were hired to take on the same chores for the TV show.
The Giant is played by ex-boxer Buddy Baer, the younger brother of World Heavyweight Champion Max Baer. At more than 6 1/2-feet tall and weighing 245 pounds, Baer was also cast as a giant in Quo Vadis? (1951) and often played the "heavy" to such stalwart TV Western stars as James Arness, Clint Walker and Chuck Connors. His nephew, Max Baer, Jr., later played Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies TV series. Joe Glaston, Jr., the son of Abbott and Costello's press agent, recalled (in Abbott and Costello in Hollywood) visiting the set as a small child: "I became buddies with Buddy Baer, the Giant; he really liked kids. At one point there's a scene where they hit him in the gut with a battering ram. I just went bananas when I saw them do that to him. I cried and ruined the take. They had a meeting to discuss whether the scene was too violent, and they decided that it was only because I knew Buddy Baer off the set that I was so appalled that they had hit him. They figured that the kids in the audience are going to see him as the evil Giant and they won't give a damn -they'll probably cheer. So they left the scene in."
This was the last film for 40-year screen veteran William Farnum (brother of silent movie Western star Dustin Farnum). The voices of several animals in the picture were supplied by Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig. The whimsical songs were written by Lester Lee, who composed much more sultry tunes for Rita Hayworth (or rather, her singing double) in Affair in Trinidad (1952) and Miss Sadie Thompson (1953). A soundtrack album of Jack and the Beanstalk was actually released on Decca and included the songs, "I Fear Nothing," "He Never Looked Better in His Life," "Dreamers Cloth," and dialogue from the film. The cow used in the shoot ended up at the Costello ranch, and the golden egg and the harp found a home in his house.
Director: Jean Yarbrough
Producers: Lou Costello, Bud Abbott, Pat Costello, Alex Gottlieb
Screenplay: Nathaniel Curtis, Pat Costello
Cinematography: George Robinson
Editing: Otho Lovering
Art Direction: McClure Capps
Original Music: Heinz Roemheld, Lester Lee
Cast: Lou Costello (Jack), Bud Abbott (Mr. Dinkel/Mr. Dinkelpuss), Buddy Baer (Sgt. Riley/The Giant), Dorothy Ford (Polly), William Farnum (The King).
by Rob Nixon
Jack and the Beanstalk
The film's onscreen title card reads: "Abbott and Costello in Jack and the Beanstalk." In the opening credits, the character, "Patrick the Harp," is listed as a cast member. In the film, the character is represented by an elaborate carving of a face on top of the musical instrument. Arthur Shields provided the harp's voice. The film, which was produced by Lou Costello's company, was shot entirely at the Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, CA. The baby-sitting scene of the picture, which was filmed in sepia tone, was written by Lou Costello's brother Pat, who, according to Warner Bros. production notes, got the idea while reading to his four-year-old daughter.
Brief animation sequences appear in the fantasy portion of the film, which was Abbott and Costello's first color production. The world premiere was held in Costello's home town, Patterson, NJ. Although the opening credits claim to "introduce" Shaye Cogan and James Alexander, Jack and the Beanstalk did not mark Cogan's film debut. She first appeared in the 1951 Universal-International production Comin' Round the Mountain, which also starred Abbott and Costello (see entry above). Modern sources include Hank Mann in the cast.