Laurel and Hardy


Laurel and Hardy

Laurel and Hardy were the popular American-based comedy team of thin, British-born Stan Laurel (1890-1965) and heavy, American-born Oliver Hardy (1892-1957). They became famous during the early half of the 20th century for their work in motion pictures and also appeared on stage throughout America and Europe.

The two comedians worked together briefly in 1920 on "The Lucky Dog". After a period appearing separately in several short films for the Hal Roach studio during the 1920s, they began appearing in movie shorts together in 1926. Laurel and Hardy officially became a team the following year, and soon became Hal Roach's most famous and lucrative stars. Among their most popular and successful films were the features "Sons of the Desert" (1933), "Way Out West" (1937), and "Block-Heads" (1938) [ [http://www.imdb.com/keyword/laurel-and-hardy/ Highest rated features at IMDb] ] and the shorts "Big Business" (1929), "Liberty" (1929), and their Academy Award-winning short, "The Music Box" (1932). [ [http://www.imdb.com/keyword/laurel-and-hardy/ Highest rated shorts at IMDb] ]

The pair left the Roach studio in 1940, then appeared in eight "B" comedies for 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1941 to 1944. From 1945 to 1950 they did not appear on film and concentrated on their stage show. They made their last film, "Atoll K", in France in 1950 and 1951 before retiring from the screen. In total they appeared together in 106 films. They starred in 40 short sound films, 32 short silent films, 23 full length feature films and in the remaining 11 films made a guest or cameo appearance.

Before the pairing

tan Laurel

Stan Laurel (June 16, 1890February 23, 1965) was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Ulverston, Lancashire (now Ulverston, Cumbria), England. His father, Arthur J. "A.J." Jefferson, was a showman who served as actor, director, playwright, and theatrical entrepreneur in many northern English cities.

Laurel began his career in Glasgow Britannia Theatre of Varieties and Panopticon music hall at the age of 16, where he crafted a comedy act largely derivative of famous music hall comedians of the day, including George Robey and Dan Leno. He gradually worked his way up the ladder of supporting roles until he became the featured comedian, as well as an understudy to Charlie Chaplin, in Fred Karno's comedy company. He emigrated to America in 1912 where he decided to change his name; he worried that "Stanley Jefferson" was too long to fit onto posters. He shortened it to "Stan" and added "Laurel" at the suggestion of his vaudeville partner, Mae Dahlberg.

He made his first film appearance in "Nuts in May" (1917) and continued to make more than 50 other silent films for various producers. At first he experienced only modest success as a solo comedian. Producer Hal Roach later attributed this to the difficulty in photographing Laurel's pale blue eyes on early pre-panchromatic film stock, perhaps giving the appearance of blindness (which, in his earliest films, Laurel tried to remedy by adding heavy defining makeup around his eyes). Moreover, Laurel did not have an identifiable or easily marketable screen character, like that of Chaplin, Harold Lloyd or Buster Keaton.

It was only when Laurel began appearing in satires of popular screen dramas that audiences really took notice of him. Between 1922 and 1925 he starred in a number of films including "Mud and Sand" (1922) (a burlesque of "Blood and Sand" featuring Stan as "Rhubarb Vaselino") and "Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde" (1925) (with Stan playing both the gentle doctor and the manic monster). Many of these comedies had crazy visual gags along with Laurel's eccentric pantomime, establishing the star as an inspired "nut comic."

Oliver Hardy

Oliver Hardy (January 18, 1892August 7, 1957) was born Norvell Hardy in Harlem, Georgia, in the United States. Upon turning 18, he changed his first name to that of his father who had died years earlier, henceforth calling himself "Oliver Norvell Hardy." His offscreen nickname was "Babe."

Hardy's nickname "Babe" is thought to have originated during his pre-Laurel early silent film career. Hardy was a frequent visitor to an Italian barbershop near to the Lubin Studios where he worked and, after cutting his hair and giving him a shave, the barber would then pat his face with talcum powder whilst saying "Nice-a baby, nice-a baby!!". "Baby" became "Babe" and that nickname stuck with Hardy for the rest of his life.

By his late teens Hardy was a popular stage singer, and he operated his own moviehouse (the "Palace Theater" in Milledgeville, GA). He thought he could do better than some of the movie comedians he was presenting, so in 1913 he became a movie actor. Babe Hardy was quite versatile, playing heroes, villains, and even female characters. He starred or co-starred in more than 250 silent short films, about 150 of which have been lost.

He was much in demand as a supporting actor, comic villain, or second banana. For 10 years he memorably assisted star comics Billy West (a Charlie Chaplin imitator), Jimmy Aubrey, Larry Semon, and Charley Chase. Hardy was a member of Hal Roach's stock company when he began working regularly with Stan Laurel.

History

"Stan" and "Ollie": Hal Roach years

The first film encounter of the two comedians (as separate performers) took place in "The Lucky Dog", produced in 1919 by Sun-Lite Pictures and released in 1921. Several years later, both comedians appeared in the Hal Roach production "45 Minutes from Hollywood" (1926). Their first "official" film together was "Putting Pants on Philip", although their first pairing as the now familiar "Stan and Ollie" characters was "The Second Hundred Years" (June 1927), directed by Fred Guiol and supervised by Leo McCarey, who suggested that the performers be teamed permanently.

Hal Roach kept them a team for the next decade, making silent shorts, talking shorts, and feature films. While most silent-film actors saw their careers decline with the advent of sound, Laurel and Hardy made a successful transition in 1929 with the short "Unaccustomed As We Are". Laurel's English accent and Hardy's Southern American accent and singing brought new dimensions to their characters. The team also proved skillful in their melding of visual and verbal humor, adding dialogue that served to enhance rather than replace their popular sight gags.

Laurel and Hardy's shorts, produced by Hal Roach and initially released through Pathe and then in 1929 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, were among the most successful in the business. Most of the shorts ran two reels (10 minutes per reel), although several ran three reels long, and one, "Beau Hunks", was four reels long. In 1929, they appeared for the first time in a feature as one of the acts in "The Hollywood Revue of 1929" and the following year they appeared as the comic relief in a lavish all-Technicolor musical feature entitled: "The Rogue Song". This film marked their first appearance in color. Considered a "lost film", only a few fragments of this production have survived, along with the complete soundtrack. In 1931, Laurel and Hardy's first starring feature was released, "Pardon Us". Following its success, the duo made fewer shorts in order to concentrate on feature films, which included "Pack Up Your Troubles" (1932), "Fra Diavolo" (or "The Devil's Brother", 1933), "Sons of the Desert" (1933), and "Babes in Toyland" (1934). Their classic short "The Music Box", released in 1932, won the first "Academy Award" for Best Short Subject, (Comedy).

Because the popularity of the double feature diminished the demand for short subjects, Hal Roach cancelled all of his shorts series, save for "Our Gang". The final short in the "Laurel and Hardy" series was 1935's "Thicker than Water". The duo's subsequent feature films included "Bonnie Scotland" (1935), "The Bohemian Girl" (1936), "Our Relations" (1936), "Way Out West" (1937) (which includes the famous song "Trail of the Lonesome Pine"), "Swiss Miss" (1938), and "Block-Heads" (1938).

tyle of comedy and notable routines

The humour of Laurel and Hardy was generally visual with slapstick used for emphasis. They often had physical arguments with each other, which were quite complex and involved cartoon violence. Their characters preclude them from making any real progress in even the simplest endeavors. For example, in "Night Owls" (1930) the boys want to enter a house without disturbing the occupants. Ollie pushes Stan through an open window, but they get into an argument and Stan closes the window on Ollie. Ollie signals for him to open the front door. Stan opens the door but steps out to greet Ollie, and lets the door close behind him. There are several variations of Ollie and Stan entering and leaving various doors and windows, until Stan finally rings the doorbell, alerting the butler who falls down the stairs, scaring Ollie out the door. Once again the team is back where it started.

Much of their comedy involves milking a joke, where a simple idea provides a basis from which to build several gags. Many of their films have extended sequences constructed around a single problem the pair is facing, without following a defined narrative.

In some cases, their comedy bordered on the surreal, Stan Laurel called it "white magic". For example, Laurel would clench his fist and pour tobacco into it, as if it were a pipe. Then he flicked his thumb upward as if he held a lighter. His thumb would ignite, and he would matter-of-factly light his "pipe." The amazed Hardy, seeing this, would unsuccessfully attempt to duplicate it. Much later in the film Hardy would be terrified when his thumb suddenly caught fire.

A common routine the team often performed was a "tit-for-tat" fight with an adversary. Typically, Laurel and Hardy accidentally damaged someone else's property. The injured party would retaliate by ruining something belonging to Laurel or Hardy, who would calmly survey the damage and find something else to vandalize. The conflict would escalate until both sides were simultaneously destroying property in front of each other. An early example of the routine occurs in their classic short, "Big Business" (1929), which was added to the Library of Congress as a national treasure in 1992, and one of their short films was called "Tit for Tat" (1935).

Many gags involved the Ford Model T car which was their favoured form of transport and several were wrecked in the films. Perhaps the most memorable destruction of their car was in the short "Busy Bodies" (1933), in which it was sawn in half by a huge bandsaw.

Rather than showing Ollie suffering the pain of misfortunes such as falling down stairs or being beaten by a thug, banging and crashing sound effects were often used so the audience could visualize the scene for themselves. Routines frequently performed by Stan were a high pitched whooping when in peril and crying like an infant when being berated by Ollie. Ollie often looked directly at the camera, breaking the fourth wall, to express his frustration with Stan to the film audience. Actors acknowledging the presence of an audience in a motion picture is unusual because it breaks the illusion that what is happening is real. However, in Hardy's case, the technique worked perfectly for comedy value.

On-screen characterizations

The Laurel and Hardy onscreen personas are of two supremely brainless, eternally optimistic men, secure in their perpetual and impregnable innocence. Their humor is physical, but their accident-prone buffoonery is distinguished by their affable personalities and mutual devotion. They are 'children' in an adult world: a skinny-and-fat pair of life's innocent bystanders who run afoul of irate landlords, pompous citizens, angry policemen, domineering women, antagonistic customers, and apoplectic bosses. The more volatile Ollie thinks he is smarter than Stan and often loses patience with his abstraction. But they face the world together, no matter how disastrous the consequences, and their friendship sees them through more than 100 misadventures. If nothing else, they are gentlemen: "Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy."

Laurel and Hardy had an inherent physical contrariety which was enhanced with small touches. Stan kept his hair short on the sides and back, but let it grow long on top to create a natural "fright wig" through his inveterate gesture of scratching his head at moments of shock or wonderment and simultaneously pulling up his hair. In contrast Ollie's thinning hair was plastered on his forehead and he wore a toothbrush moustache. To achieve a flat-footed walk, Stan removed the heels from his shoes (usually Army shoes), he was of average height and weight but appeared small and slight next to Ollie who was height|ft=6|in=1 tall.cite book|date=1995|author|Glenn Mitchell|id=ISBN 0-7134-7711-3|title=The Laurel & Hardy Encyclopedia|publisher=Batsford] and weighed about 280 lb (127 kg) in his prime. Both wore derby hats but Stan's was narrower than Ollie's. Other distinctive features of their normal attire were that both wore wing collar shirts, with Ollie wearing a standard neck tie which he would twiddle and Stan a bow tie. Ollie's sports jacket was too small for him and done up with one straining button, whereas Stan's double breasted jacket was loose fitting.

Part of Laurel and Hardy's onscreen images called for their faces to be filmed flat, without any shadows or dramatic lighting. To invoke a traditional clown-like appearance, both comedians wore a light pancake makeup on their faces, and Roach's cameramen, such as Art Lloyd and Francis Corby, were instructed to light and film a scene so that facial lines and wrinkles would be "washed out." Art Lloyd was once quoted as saying, "Well, I'll never win an Oscar, but I'll sure please Stan Laurel."

Offscreen, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were quite the opposite of their movie characters: Laurel was the industrious "idea man", while Hardy was more easygoing. Although Hal Roach employed writers and directors such as H.M. Walker, Leo McCarey, James Parrott, James W. Horne, and others on "Laurel and Hardy" films, Laurel would rewrite entire sequences or scripts, have the cast and crew improvise on the soundstage, and meticulously review the footage for editing, often moonlighting to achieve all of these tasks. While Hardy did contribute to the routines, he was generally content to follow Laurel's lead and spent most of his free time on hobbies such as golf.

Observers have found the archetypal Laurel and Hardy scenario (two tramp-like men bewildered by the simplest elements of life) to have much in common with the Theatre of the Absurd. This is most strikingly manifested in the work of Samuel Beckett, himself a fan, and who was unquestionably influenced by the characters in works such as "Waiting for Godot". [ [http://media.ucsc.edu/classes/thompson/beckett.html Beckett ] ]

Later feature films

By 1936, although the relationship between Laurel and Hardy remained strong, Laurel's dealings with producer Roach became strained amid a tangle of artistic differences. Roach insisted that his feature-length comedies should also contain musical numbers and/or subplots. (Roach always contended that if you watched any comedian for an hour at a time, "you'd be bored to hell with him.") Laurel maintained that such padding distracted from the team's comedy. Because of this friction, extended stand-off periods became common during the late 1930s, with Roach occasionally threatening to pair Hardy with someone else.

Roach kept Laurel and Hardy under separate contracts, so they would have less bargaining power as individuals. Stan Laurel's contract ended in August 1938; Oliver Hardy's had one more year to run, and Roach issued press releases that Harry Langdon (who had co-written Laurel and Hardy's recent feature "Block-Heads") would be Hardy's new screen partner. [Pryor, Thomas M. (Aug. 18, 1938). "In the Camera's Eye". "The New York Times". Excerpt: "Harry Langdon replaces Laurel as Hardy's partner...comedy series planned...Laurel placed under permanent suspension...Laurel was removed from the payroll when he declined to report for retakes for 'Blockheads' and for the subsequent Laurel and Hardy effort which was to have been started two weeks ago. Langdon will be teamed with Oliver Hardy in comedies. The first will be "Zenobia's Infidelity"," by H.C. Brunner..."] Hardy's solo film, "Zenobia" (1939), featured Langdon in the supporting cast but, despite the publicity, the two comics were never really a team. Laurel countered Roach's announcement with one revealing his own plans. In October 1938, Roach's old rival Mack Sennett announced that he had signed Laurel to star in comedy features for his new Sennett Pictures Corporation Studio. [Pryor, Thomas M. (Sept. 12, 1938). "Laurel to Make Film Series for Sennett". "The New York Times". Excerpt: "...Mack Sennett announced that he had signed Stan Laurel to star in a series of films he will make with a new producing company to be known as Sennet Pictures Corporation. Laurel was under contract to Hal Roach as member of the Laurel and Hardy comedy team, until last month, when Roach broke up the combination, alleging that Laurel violated his contract, and substituted Harry Langdon as Hardy's mate..."] Those films were not made, since by April 1939 the dispute between Laurel and Roach was settled and the comedy team was again intact for further work with Roach. They made two more films for Roach, "A Chump at Oxford" (filmed in 1939, released 1940) and "Saps at Sea" (1940). Both of these films were released through United Artists, as Roach's distribution arrangement with MGM had ended in 1938.

Hoping for greater artistic freedom, Laurel and Hardy split with Roach and signed with major studios 20th Century-Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. However, the working conditions were now completely different, as they were hired only as actors, relegated to the B-film divisions, and initially not allowed to improvise or contribute to the scripts. When the films proved popular, the studios gave the team more input, and Laurel and Hardy made eight features through 1944. These films, while not considered the team's best, were extremely successful; budgeted at $250,000 to $300,000 each, the films earned millions at the box office. The films were so profitable that Fox kept making Laurel and Hardy comedies after discontinuing its other "B" series. "Jitterbugs" (1943), released by Fox, has often been picked by critics as the best of these films; many fans prefer the team's last Fox film, "The Bullfighters" (1945), which includes sequences written and directed by Stan Laurel.

In 1941, Laurel and Hardy filmed a silent sequence as a public service for the Department of Agriculture; this footage was incorporated into the U. S. Government short "The Tree In a Test Tube" (1943). Narrated by MGM's Pete Smith, the Kodachrome short marked the duo's second appearance in color.

After spending the rest of the 1940s performing on stage in Europe, Laurel and Hardy made one final film together in 1950. "Atoll K", later reissued in abridged form as "Utopia", was a French-Italian co-production directed by Leo Joannon, which was plagued by language barriers, production problems, and Laurel's grave health during shooting. Although the film contained some clever visual humor, critics were disappointed with its storyline, English dubbing, and Laurel's sickly physical appearance with his weight down to 115 lb. The film was not a success, and brought an end to Laurel and Hardy's film careers.

Final years

After "Atoll K", Laurel and Hardy took several months off, so that Laurel could recuperate. Upon their return to the European stage, they undertook a successful series of public appearances in short sketches Laurel had written: "A Spot of Trouble" (in 1952) and "Birds of a Feather" (in 1953).Laurel and Hardy returned to the United States in 1954. On December 1, 1954, the team made their only American television appearance, surprised by Ralph Edwards on his live NBC-TV program, "This Is Your Life". By the mid-1950s, partly due to the positive response from the television broadcast, the pair was renegotiating with Hal Roach for a series of color NBC television specials to be called "Laurel & Hardy's Fabulous Fables". However, plans for the specials were shelved, as the aging comedians suffered from declining health.

In 1955, Laurel and Hardy made their final public appearance together, taking part in a BBC television program about the Grand Order of Water Rats, the British variety organization, titled "This is Music Hall". Laurel and Hardy provide a filmed insert during which they reminisce about their friends in British variety.

Under doctor's orders to improve a heart condition, Hardy lost over 100 pounds in 1956. Several strokes (that some doctors partly attribute to the rapid weight loss) resulted in loss of mobility and speech. He died of a major stroke on August 7, 1957. Longtime friend Bob Chatterton said Hardy weighed just 138 pounds at the time of his death. A depressed Laurel did not attend his partner's funeral, due to his own ill health, explaining his absence with the line "Babe would understand." Just after Hardy's death, Laurel and Hardy returned to movie theaters, as clips of their work were featured in Robert Youngson's silent-film compilation "The Golden Age of Comedy".

For the remaining eight years of his life, Stan Laurel refused to perform, even turning down Stanley Kramer's offer to make a cameo in his landmark 1963 movie, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World". In 1960, Laurel was given a special Academy Award for his contributions to film comedy. Despite not appearing onscreen after Hardy's death, Laurel did contribute gags to several comedy filmmakers. Most of his writing was in the form of correspondence; he insisted on answering every fan letter personally. Late in life, he hosted many visitors of the new generation of comedians and celebrities, including Dick Cavett, Jerry Lewis and Dick Van Dyke. Laurel would live until 1965, surviving to see the duo's work rediscovered through television and classic film revivals. He died in Santa Monica, and is buried at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, California.

upporting cast

Their films included a memorable supporting cast who appeared with Stan and Ollie. James Finlayson, a small balding moustachioed Scotsman known for displays of indignation and squinting 'double takes', made 33 appearances. Charlie Hall who usually played angry 'little men' appeared nearly 50 times. The diminutive Daphne Pollard and strong willed Mae Busch also played a formidable Mrs Hardy and some other characters. Tiny Sandford was a very tall and burly man who played authority figures and Walter Long played villains. The English actor Charley Rogers and the grim faced Sam Lufkin also appeared several times. Cross eyed Ben Turpin made appearances and the 'blonde bombshell' star Jean Harlow had a small role in their short "Double Whoopee" (1929) and two other films.

Aftermath

Posthumous revivals

After Stan Laurel's death in 1965, there were two major motion-picture tributes: "Laurel and Hardy's Laughing '20s", Robert Youngson's compilation of the team's silent-film highlights; and "The Great Race", a large-scale salute to slapstick which director Blake Edwards dedicated to "Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy."

Since the 1930s, the works of Laurel and Hardy have been re-released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals (broadcast, especially public television, and cable), 16mm and 8mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home video. When film colorization was introduced in 1983, the new technology was unveiled on NBC's "Today" program, and the first films demonstrating the process were two Laurel and Hardy clips (from "The Fixer Uppers" and "County Hospital").

Merchandiser Larry Harmon claimed ownership of Laurel's and Hardy's likenesses, and issued Laurel and Hardy toys and colouring books. He co-produced a series of "Laurel and Hardy" cartoons in 1966 with Hanna-Barbera Productions. [ [http://www.toontracker.com/lh-ac/lh-ac.htm Laurel and Hardy cartoons by Hanna-Barbera] ] His animated versions of Laurel and Hardy also guest-starred in a 1972 episode of Hanna-Barbera's "The New Scooby-Doo Movies". In 1999, Harmon produced a direct-to-video feature, the live-action comedy "The All-New Adventures of Laurel and Hardy: For Love or Mummy", with actors Bronson Pinchot and Gailard Sartain playing the lookalike nephews of the original Laurel and Hardy, Stanley Thinneus Laurel and Oliver Fatteus Hardy. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0143096/ All New Adventures of Laurel and Hardy at IMDb] ]

Lost films

Virtually all of the Laurel and Hardy films survive, and have never gone out of circulation permanently. Three of their 106 films are considered lost, as they have not been seen in full since the 1930s. The silent "Hats Off" (1927) has vanished completely. The first half of "Now I'll Tell One" (1927) is lost and the second half has never been released on video. In the operatic Technicolor musical "The Rogue Song" (1930) Laurel and Hardy appear in 10 sequences, only one of which is known to exist. "The Battle of the Century" (1927) is the only other Laurel and Hardy film with missing content; a few minutes of footage bridging the first and second halves has not been located.

Music

The duo's famous signature tune, known variously as "The Cuckoo Song", "Ku-Ku", or "The Dance of the Cuckoos", was composed by Roach musical director Marvin Hatley as the on-the-hour chime for the Roach studio radio station. Laurel heard the tune on the station, and asked Hatley to use it as the Laurel and Hardy theme song. In Laurel's eyes, the song's melody represented Hardy's character (pompus and dramatic), while the harmony represented Laurel's own character (somewhat out of key, and only able to register two notes: "coo-coo"). The original theme, recorded by two clarinets in 1930, was re-recorded with a full orchestra in 1935.

A compilation of songs from their films "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" was released in 1975.

The Sons of the Desert organization

The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as The Sons of the Desert, after a fraternal society in their film "Sons of the Desert" (1933). It was founded in New York in 1965 by Laurel & Hardy biographer John McCabe, with the sanction of Stan Laurel. Since the group's inception, well over 100 chapters of the organization have formed across North America, Europe and Australia. An Emmy-winning film documentary about the group, "Revenge of the Sons of the Desert", has been released on DVD as part of "The Laurel and Hardy Collection, Vol. 1."

Popular culture

The catchphrase most associated with Laurel and Hardy is almost always misquoted as "Well, "that's" another "fine" mess you've gotten me into." Ollie actually said, "Well, "here's" another "nice" mess you've gotten me into." The phrase has passed into common usage and means to blame a partner for causing an avoidable problem. The phrase was first used in the "The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case" (1930). A variation of the phrase occurs in the "Chickens Come Home" (1931), when Ollie says impatiently to Stan, "Well...." with Stan replying, "Here's another nice mess I've gotten you into." The phrase is also reinterpreted in "The Fixer-Uppers" (1935) as "Well, here's another nice kettle of fish you pickled me in!" and in "Saps at Sea" (1940) as "Well, here's another nice bucket of suds you've gotten me into!" The misquoted version of the phrase actually was used by the pair; just not as often as the "nice mess" variant. The "fine mess" version of course becomes the title to "Another Fine Mess" (1930); Ollie also uses it in a 1932 public address that the pair recorded in London, redistributed as an audio track in later years.

There are two Laurel and Hardy museums. The first in Laurel's birthplace, Ulverston, UK [ [http://www.lakedistrictletsgo.co.uk/attractions/attractions_pages/laurel_hardy.html Museum in Ulverston] ] , and the second in Hardy's birthplace, Harlem, Georgia, USA. [ [http://www.laurelandhardymuseum.org/ Museum in Harlem, Georgia] ]

Laurel and Hardy's likenesses have made frequent "cameo appearances" in animated cartoons and comic strips since the 1930s (Laurel and Hardy were featured in a cartoon series by Laurel and Hardy . From "Mickey Mouse" to "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies" to "Woody Woodpecker", caricatured versions of the comedians appeared as walk-on characters and sometimes in supporting roles in cartoons from the Golden Age of American animation.

In one of the few instance of incorporating the famous duo's visages into popular literature, author/illustrator Maurice Sendak's "In the Night Kitchen" (1970) [Sendak, Maurice. "In the Night Kitchen". New York: HarperCollins, First edition 1970. ISBN 0-06026-668-6.] showed three identical Oliver Hardy figures as bakers preparing cakes for the morning in his award-winning children's book and is treated as a clear example of "interpretative illustration" wherein the comedians' inclusion harkened back to the author's own childhood. [Lanes 1998, p. 47.] [Salamon, Julie. "Sendak in All His Wild Glory." New York Times", April 15, 2005. Retrieved: May 28, 2008.]

The duo also appeared in the film "Wild Poses" in the Hal Roach series Our Gang (later The Little Rascals). Laurel and Hardy have also turned up in more recent works such as the Asterix album "Obelix and Co.", Federico Fellini's film Ginger e Fred (1986), Berkeley Breathed's comic strip "Bloom County", Gary Larson's comic strip "The Far Side" and the "The Simpsons" episode The Wandering Juvie.

Laurel and Hardy were featured alongside many other celebrities in cutout form for the cover of the Beatles's 1967 masterpiece album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Of the two, Stan is more recognizable.

In 1976, STV (Scottish Television) produced a half-hour play by Alex Norton called "Stan's First Night", about a 16-year-old Stan Jefferson's (Stan Laurel's real name) first appearance on stage at the Panopticon variety theatre in Glasgow.

In a 2005 poll, "The Comedian's Comedian", the duo was voted the seventh greatest comedy act ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders, making them the most popular double act on the list.

In 2006, BBC in the UK broadcast a drama "Stan" about Laurel's final visit to see the dying Hardy. The TV programme derived from a radio play first broadcast in 2004. Both radio and TV versions were written by Neil Brand.

ee also

* Laurel and Hardy films
* Filmography of Oliver Hardy
* Filmography of Stan Laurel
* Double act

References

Notes

Bibliography

*Everson, William K. "The Complete Films of Laurel and Hardy". New York: Citadel, 1967. ISBN 0-8065-0146-4. (First book-length examination of the individual films)
* Harness, Kyp. "The Art of Laurel and Hardy: Graceful Calamity in the Films". Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2006. ISBN 0-78642-440-0. (Critical assessment of the comedians and their films)
* Lanes, Selma G. "The Art of Maurice Sendak". Harry N. Abrams; 2nd revised edition, 1998, 1st edition, 1980. ISBN 0-81098-063-0.
* Louvish, Simon. "Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy". London: Faber & Faber, 2001. ISBN 0-571-21590-4. (Biography, with new research revealing more about the comedians' personal lives)
* MacGillivray, Scott. "Laurel & Hardy: From the Forties Forward". Lanham, Maryland: Vestal Press, 1998. ISBN 1-879511-41-X. (Discussion of the post-1940 films, projects, revivals and compilations)
* McCabe, John. "Babe: The Life of Oliver Hardy". London: Robson Books, 2004. ISBN 1-86105-781-4. (In-depth biography of Oliver Hardy, drawing upon unused material from McCabe's earlier biography)
* McCabe, John. "Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy: An Affectionate Biography". London: Robson Books, 1961. ISBN 1-86105-606-0. (The authorized Laurel & Hardy biography, containing firsthand recollections by Laurel and Hardy themselves, and quotes from family members and colleagues)
* Mitchell, Glenn. "The Laurel & Hardy Encyclopedia". New York: Batsford, 1995. ISBN 0-7134-7711-3.
* Skretvedt, Randy. "Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies" (2nd ed.) Anaheim, California: Past Times Publishing Co., 1996. ISBN 0-940410-29-X. (Film-by-film analysis, with detailed behind-the-scenes material and numerous quotes from colleagues)
* Stone, Rob. "Laurel or Hardy: The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy". Manchester, New Hampshire: Split Reel, 1996. ISBN 0-965238-407. (Exhaustive study of the comedians as solo performers, 1913-26)

External links

*
*
* [http://www.laurel-and-hardy.com/ The official Laurel and Hardy website]
* [http://home.earthlink.net/~sons_secretary/ Sons of the Desert: The International Laurel and Hardy Society]
* [http://www.neilbrand.com/stan.htm Stan. A fictionalized account of Stanley Laurel's last visit to the bedside of Oliver Hardy]
* [http://www.wayoutwest.org/pratfall/contents.html "Pratfall," a periodical magazine tribute to Laurel and Hardy, with numerous issues and articles]
* [http://www.laurelandhardyforum.com/ The Laurel and Hardy Forum]
* [http://www.laurelandhardymuseum.org/ The museum in Harlem, Georgia, USA]
* [http://laurelandhardy.podOmatic.com: The Laurel and Hardy Forum Podcast]
* [http://bowlerdessert.co.uk: Bowler Dessert Online]
* [http://www.laurel-and-hardy-online.com/ Laurel and Hardy Online aka An Online Mess You've Got Me Into!]

Public domain material

The following Laurel and Hardy material is in the Public domain. It can be watched, listened to or distributed freely.
* [http://www.archive.org/details/Laurel_Hardy_OTR Mr. Slater's Poultry Market] at the Internet Archive. (Un-aired pilot for an NBC Old Time Radio (OTR) series - 26 minutes)
* [http://www.archive.org/details/TheFlyingDeuces The Flying Deuces] at the Internet Archive. (Their 1939 film "The Flying Deuces" in full).
* [http://www.archive.org/details/utopia Utopia] at the Internet Archive. (Their 1951 film "Atoll K/Utopia" in full).
* "The Lucky Dog" (1921). Their first film together.


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Laurel and Hardy — noun United States slapstick comedy duo who made many films together • Instance Hypernyms: ↑duet, ↑duette, ↑duo • Member Meronyms: ↑Hardy, ↑Oliver Hardy, ↑Laurel, ↑Stan Laurel, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

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  • Laurel and Hardy — noun a team of US comic film actors, Stan Laurel (Arthur Stanley Jefferson), 1890–1965, born in Britain, the thin one, and Oliver Hardy, 1892–1957, the fat one …   Australian English dictionary

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  • Laurel and Hardy filmography — This is a list of films which either star or feature the comedy team of Laurel and Hardy. For filmographies of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy without the other see Filmography of Oliver Hardy and Filmography of Stan Laurel. For songs in their films …   Wikipedia


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