One Night in the Tropics
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Directed by A. Edward Sutherland
Produced by Leonard Spigelgass
Written by Gertrude Purcell
Charles Grayson
Starring Allan Jones
Nancy Kelly
Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
William Frawley
Peggy Moran
Music by Jerome Kern
Editing by Milton Carruth
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) November 15, 1940 (1940-11-15)
Running time 82 min.
Language English

One Night in the Tropics is a 1940 comedy film noteworthy for being the film debut of Abbott and Costello. The team play minor roles but steal the picture with five classic routines, including an abbreviated version of "Who's On First?" Their work earned them a two-picture deal with Universal, and their next film, Buck Privates, made them bonafide movie stars. Songs in the film were by Jerome Kern. The film is based on a 1914 novel, Love Insurance by Earl Derr Biggers, the creator of Charlie Chan.[1]


Jim "Lucky" Moore (Allan Jones), an insurance salesman, comes up with a novel policy for his friend, Steve (Robert Cummings): a 'love insurance policy', that will pay out $1-million if Steve does not marry his fiancée, Cynthia (Nancy Kelly). The upcoming marriage is jeopardized by Steve's ex-girlfriend, Mickey (Peggy Moran), and Cynthia's disapproving Aunt Kitty. The policy is underwritten by a nightclub owner, Roscoe (William Frawley), who sends two enforcers - Abbott and Costello - to ensure that the wedding occurs as planned. Everyone involved in the situation winds up sailing or flying to San Marcos (a fictional South American country), where another complication arises, when Lucky falls for Cynthia. Lucky winds up marrying Cynthia, but Roscoe does not have to pay the $1-million because Steve ends up marrying Mickey.



One Night in the Tropics was filmed from August 26 through September 30, 1940 under the film's working title, Riviera.[1] Riviera was an unproduced Jerome Kern musical from 1937 originally planned for Danielle Darrieux;[2] Kern's songs were reused in the film.[3]


Just prior to the beginning of production, on August 21, 1940, Jones and Cummings were guests on Abbott and Costello's radio show and promoted the film.

World premiereEdit

The film had its world premiere in Costello's home town of Paterson, New Jersey on October 30, 1940.[1]


The film was re-released (at 69 minutes) by Realart Pictures in 1950 with The Naughty Nineties and in 1954 with Little Giant.[1]

DVD releaseEdit

This film has been released twice on DVD. The first time, on The Best of Abbott and Costello Volume One on February 10, 2004, and again on October 28, 2008 as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Furmanek, Bob; & Ron Palumbo (1991), Abbott and Costello in Hollywood, New York: Perigee Books, ISBN 978-0399516054 
  2. Furmanek & Palumbo, p. 36 
  3. Hemming, Roy (1999), The Melody Lingers On: The Great Songwriters and Their Movie Musicals, Newmarket Press, p. 105, ISBN 978-1557043801 

External linksEdit