Milt Bronson: Cohort of Costello

Milt Bronson (1896-1993) was a member of Abbott and Costello’s stock company and inner circle during their peak years. Born in New York, Bronson started out in vaudeville, where I find references to his act as early as 1928. By the early ’30, vaudeville was dead so he moved to burlesque where he was one of countless comedians working the circuits. He worked with Lou Costello and Bud Abbott in Minsky houses as early as 1933, before they were even a team.

From 1942 through 1943 he appeared in the burlesque themed Broadway show Strip for Action with Jean Carter, Keenan Wynn, Joey Faye and Jack Albertson. From here, he joined his old pals Abbott and Costello in Hollywood, where they were big stars by now. He participated in the Susquehanna Hat Company routine in their comedy In Society (1944), then went on to appear in their films Here Come the Coeds (1945), The Naughty Nineties (1945), Little Giant (1946), Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), and Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953), and he frequently performed with the the team on The Colgate Comedy Hour and The Abbott and Costello Show from 1952 to 1954. Bronson also worked on their films as a dialogue director, presumably drilling them in their old burlesque routines to keep it fast and flowing. He worked for them in that capacity on Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950), Comin’ Round the Mountain (1951), Jack and the Beanstalk (1952), Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952), Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953), Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953) and The Abbott and Costello Show. Without the team, he appeared in the films A Wave A WAC and a Marine (1944) and Flesh and Fury (1952), and was a dialogue director in the Judy Canova comedy Lay That Rifle Down (1955).

In 1956 Bronson took a job directing stage shows at the Riviera hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Later, he became a manager, representing people like Tony Martin and Cyd Charisse. 

To learn more about vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic comedy, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube