Immortal Befuddled

"Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard"
Edmund Keane, 1834

Part One: Double Trouble
by Dennis E. Power

The many faces of Ollu and Buzsla





Circa 1350 BC Ancient Greece "Who Needs Arrest?" Abbott and Costello Animated Series episode

   Patrolling in a chariot Abbott and Costello receive orders to arrest Lou's friend Hercules. Hercules gives Lou a terrible clobbering until Costello accidentally rips off the mask Hercules has been wearing. This reveals the supposed Hercules to be a circus strong man posing as Hercules.

    This places Ollu and Buzsla in ancient Greece in the heroic age. It also seems to indicate that they knew Hercules or at least one of the three or four men upon whom the legends of Hercules are based. Although we cannot be certain as to who they believed was the "true" Hercules it may have been Tarzan, Lord Greystoke who had traveled back to the past via the H.G. Wells I. We do not know which of the Hercules Alley Oop met.

Circa 1040 BC "Go Go Goliath"  Abbott and Costello Animated Series episode 1.

  In this Abbott and Costello Cartoon episode Abbott gets Costello to fight the giant Goliath for a million bromin. After whipping the guy with a slingshot. They discover that one million bromin equals thirty-five cents.

           This places Ollu and Buzsla in Ancient Israel in the time of King Saul.(6) It is possible that they were among the migrations of the Habiru from Egypt, called the Exodus. Whether or not Ollu and Buzsla actually met and fought against a man named Goliath is problematic, although Ollu could have been the "Elhanan son of Jair of Bethlehem killed Goliath of Gath, whose spear had a shaft like a weaver's beam." (2nd Samuel 21:19) although this is later amended to state "Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi, brother of Goliath of Gath, whose spear had a shaft like a weaver's beam."  (1 Chronicles 20:5) As we will later see, Ollu and Buzsla also aided in the killing of another giant.

  85 AD  Ancient Rome. "No Place like Rome"    Abbott and Costello Animated Series episode

 Abbott and Costello are hot-dog vendors working outside the Coliseum. Hoping to increase their sales they sneaked inside the Coliseum. Lou finds himself dressed in gladiatorial gear and slated to fight the Mad Mongolian, a thirty-foot warrior. He finally defeated him using magic sandals borrowed from the god Mercury that enabled him to fly around the giant.

    There were sausage and other types of vendors working outside and inside the great Roman circuses, the giant stadiums where the games were held. That Ollu and Buzsla were once such vendors is not unbelievable. It is also possible that they could have ended up in jail on some charge or another. Ollu was probably mistakenly mixed in with a group of condemned prisoners slated to provide a sort of warm up slaughter for the patrons of the game. His opponent was probably from Eastern Europe, possibly a Magyar. His height may have been tall but not extremely so. The deus ex machina of Ollu using the shoes of Mercury seems metaphorical. Mercury was Hermes. One of the functions of the god Hermes was to act as a psychopomp, a guide to the souls of the recently departed. Ollu "defeated" his opponent by dying. Although his wounds were repaired almost instantaneously, he played dead. Ollu's body was dragged from the coliseum and dumped into the pile of corpses to be shipped to the necropolis. When he was alone with the corpses he extracted himself and escaped.

circa 640 Ancient Persia   "Teen-Weeny Genie"    Abbott and Costello Animated Series episode

  Bud and Lou are junk merchants in Ancient Persia. Lou accidentally releases a baby genie from an antique bottle. The baby genie wreaks havoc until Bud and Lou devise a method for tricking the genie back into the bottle. A  little while later Lou once again releases the baby genie from the bottle, only this time he is accompanied by his gigantic brother.

    Although the dating is inexact this seems to put Ollu and Buzsla in Persia at the waning of the ancient world and the beginnings of the medieval period. They appear to have traveled from Rome to Byzantium and then to Persia. While the encounter with the genie may be a recounting of a true incident it may also be metaphoric. It could refer to the rapid rise of the religion of Islam from a small sect (the tiny genie) to a faith that dominated the Middle Eastern region. (the large genie) The reference to Lou letting the genie out of the bottle could be a reference to a relationship with Mohammed while he was a trader. Lou's discussions about philosophy with the camel trader may have culminated in the Mohammed's interest in religious matters. Possibly it put him in the right frame of mind to allow him to interpret the recitation from the Archangel Gabriel.

845  Ancient Persia "Turkish Daffy"   Abbott and Costello Animated Series episode

    The Sultan of Istanbul hires Abbott and Costello as guards to watch over a gem the Star of Shishkabar. The Thief of Badguy swipes the jewel from under their noses but an Arabian Knights chase through Istanbul results in the return of the priceless gem. Costello finds that this valuable stone is not to be sneezed at.

    Since the Thief of Baghdad is a major player in this particular episode of Ollu and Buzsla's life, we can tentatively date the incident as taking place circa 845. The story of the Thief of Badgered takes place during the rule of the grandson of Haroun Al Rashid. Although the character is named Ahmad in the film, the grandson who succeeded Haroun Al-Rashid, after a succession of Haroun's sons, was al-Wathiq whose reign lasted from 842-848.  The events of the Thief of Bagdad probably took place in 842, shortly after al-Wathiq assumed the Caliphate. Before he had consolidated his power he was deposed by his Vizier who used sorcery to make it appear as though he were al-Wathiq. Al-Wathiq reassumed his throne within eighteen months despite being placed under a spell of blindness. In his gratitude for the Thief of Badgered he made him a part of his court. Given his background and skills, Abu probably became a secret agent for al-Wathiq.

    It was in this capacity that he visited the city of Constantinople and attempted to retrieve a gem that had belong to Haroun al Rashid but that had been sold during the short reign of Jaffar. Ollu and Buzsla had been commissioned by a wealthy Moorish gem merchant living in Constantinople to guard the gem. When Abu stole it they followed him back to Baghdad. Unable to retrieve it, they found other employment in Baghdad.






6. Ancient Israel According to the usual chronology, David was born in 1085 and reigned from 1055 to 1015 BC Recent writers have been induced by the Assyrian inscriptions to date his reign from 30 to 50 years later. Within the limits imposed it is impossible to give more than a bare outline of the events of his life and a brief estimate of his character and his significance in the history of the chosen people, as king, psalmist, prophet, and type of the Messias.)



© 2002 Dennis Power

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