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For other uses of Rio Rita, see Rio Rita (disambiguation).

Rio Rita is a 1942 comedy film starring Abbott and Costello. It was based upon the 1927 Flo Ziegfeld Broadway musical, which was previously made into a 1929 film that starred the comedy team of Wheeler & Woolsey.

This is the first of three films that the duo made on loan to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer while under contract to Universal, the other two pictures being Lost in a Harem and Abbott and Costello in Hollywood.


Nazi spies have infiltrated the Hotel Vista del Rio, a resort on the Mexican border. They plan to use a radio broadcast by a famous guest, Ricardo Montera (John Carroll), to transmit coded messages to their cohorts. Doc (Bud Abbott) and Wishy (Lou Costello) are stowaways in Montera's car, who steal a basket of "apples" that turn out being miniature radios used by the spies. Rita Winslow (Kathryn Grayson), the hotel's owner and childhood sweetheart of Montera, hire Doc and Wishy as house detectives, who discover the Nazi codebook and give it to Montera. They are then kidnapped by the spies, and left in a room with a bomb set to explode, but manage to escape while Wishy plants the bomb in the pocket of one of the culprits. Meanwhile, the broadcast has already begun and Montera, refusing to participate in treason, fights the spies until the Texas Rangers arrive. The spies' escape by car is thwarted when the planted bomb finally explodes.


Rio Rita was filmed from November 10, 1941 through January 14, 1942.

It was during filming that Abbott and Costello had their hand and footprints enshrined at Grauman's Chinese Theatermarker on the night of Dec. 8, 1941. In addition, at the same time Abbott and Costello signed a new agreement regarding their partnership. Previously, any deal that they signed required Abbott to be paid $10 more than Costello. After the new deal signed on January 9, 1942, Costello would now earn 60 percent of their salary with Abbott taking only 40 percent.

Joe Kirk, who later played Mr. Bacciagalupe in The Abbott and Costello Show, has a small role. (Kirk later became the Costello's brother-in-law).

DVD release

This film, along with Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd, remain the only Abbott and Costello films not yet released on DVD.

External links


  1. Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0

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