Well Cassettes, here’s another nice case we’ve gotten ourselves into! This week, we had our very first guest stop by the studio and tell us about his favorite comedy team (well, one of his favorites).
Special thanks to Mr. Bob Hecker (Robin’s Dad) for coming over to teach us kids a thing or two about Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
- The Lucky Dog (1921): The very first movie that Stan and Ollie worked together in. In this silent film Stan plays a poor dog lover and Ollie plays a criminal who wants to rob him and his new love.
- Their First Mistake (1932): Laurel convinces Hardy that in order to save his marriage he must get a baby. Line quoted in this episode “I’m not as dumb as you look.”
- Way Out West (1937): Considered by many to be one of their best feature-length films, this movie was produced by Stan Laurel himself so he was allowed total creative freedom
- Putting Pants on Philip (1927): This is the first short where they were put together as a duo, though they do not play the characters of Laurel and Hardy
- The Music Box (1932): This short won an Oscar for best short subject. Not bad for two guys that were almost never critical darlings.
- Towed in a Hole (1932): In this short, Stan convinces Ollie that they would make more money as fishmongers if they caught the fish themselves. So, they set out to fix up a boat for fishing.
- A Chump at Oxford (1940): In this full-length film, Stan and Ollie are given a scholarship to Oxford for catching a bank robber. While there, they have a difficult time fitting in with the other students
- In this episode we reference a scene where Laurel thinks he’s having a dizzy spell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0pCH91gVQI
- Thicker Than Water (1935): Laurel convinces Hardy to use his savings to pay for furniture. Instead, the boys squander the money at an auction.
- Men ‘O War
- We didn’t list this short by name, but Marci referenced a scene where the men try to share a soda. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMoSu6e1IZ0
- Flying Deuces (1939): When Hardy falls in love with a married woman, he joins the foreign legion with Laurel to forget her.
- This is the film in which the men die in a plane crash and are reincarnated; Laurel as himself and Hardy as a horse
- Atoll K / Utopia (1951):
- This was the duo’s last film together. Laurel was sick for much of the filming and the men weren’t given the creative freedom they thought they would have.
- Unaccustomed As We Are (1929): When Ollie invites Stan over for dinner, Hardy’s frustrated wife leaves him to cook the dinner on his own. When the woman from across the hall offers to help, the evening develops into a big misunderstanding between the men and the neighbor’s husband
- This was the first sound short filmed without a corresponding silent version.
- They Go Boom (1929): Laurel and Hardy attempt to get a good night’s sleep despite Hardy’s terrible cold
- This short was released as both silent and with sound
- Stan Laurel
- Born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in 1890
- He was known for many of the creative ideas behind the comedy due Laurel and Hardy
- He played the lovable air-head Laurel who looked up to his friend Hardy
- He appeared in numerous shorts and films throughout the 20s, 30s, and 40s
- After the death of his comic partner in 1957, he no longer appeared on-screen
- Oliver Hardy
- Born Norvell Hardy in 1892, he later added Oliver to his name to honor his father
- Originally from Georgia, his southern background was a large part of his character
- He was known for playing the out-spoken, bossy counterpart to the childlike Stan Laurel for about twenty years
- After the duo’s final film (Utopia/Atoll K,) the men went on a final tour together
- Hal Roach
- Writer, producer, and director who won three Academy Awards and was chief of Hal Roach Studios for 40 years. One of the awards was for “The Music Box” from 1931 in which Laurel and Hardy spend the entire short lugging a piano up a staircase. Mostly known for his work with comedies he not only presented Laurel and Hardy to the world he also created “Our Gang” a series of short films about the escapades of young poor neighborhood kids.
- Billy Gilbert
- Well known for his comical sneezing routine. He most notably appears in “The Music Box” as Prof. von Schwarzenhoffen who is upset with the Laurel and Hardy for delivering a piano he does not want. Other credits to him include episodes of The Three Stooges, the movie His Girl Friday, and the model/voice of Sneezy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Edgar Kennedy
- A man of many talents, Edgar Kennedy was a member of the Keystone Cops before landing roles in Charlie Chaplin films
- As a freelance comedy actor, he often played a policeman in Laurel and Hardy shorts and became famous for his “slow burn” routine
- James Finlayson
- Roles in 33 Laurel and Hardy Films with the majority as him portraying the villain. He is also who Dan Castellaneta took inspiration from for Homer Simpson’s famous catchphrase, “D’oh!”.
- Mae Busch: After having a rough start in Hollywood she finally was able to appear in a movie with Stan and Ollie. She then appeared several times afterward as Hardy’s nagging wife in shorts like “Their First Mistake”.
- Anita Garvin: At the age of 12 Anita was already 5’6″ allowing her to begin early in a bathing beauty stage show. After working her way up with her beauty and hard work she began comedy work thus landing a leading lady role opposite Stan. Stan impressed with her commitment convinced Hal Roach a year later to bring her aboard for roles within the Hal Roach Studios. In Laurel and Hardy she often portrayed Laurel’s shrewish wife.
- Thelma Todd: A successful actress despite her short career, Thelma Todd made a name for herself in comedy and other genres as well. She appeared in Marx Brothers films before being cast alongside Zasu Pitts and Patsy Kelly in shorts as the female counterparts to Laurel and Hardy. She died at the age of 29. Although the death was officially ruled a suicide, it is still considered highly suspicious.
- ZaSu Pitts: Along with Thelma, a female counterpart to Laurel and Hardy. We mention their film On the Loose (1931)
- Here is a link to the short. Don’t be fooled by the title, this is not a Laurel and Hardy short, they just appeared in it briefly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnB_WqEGPLo
- Patsy Kelly: Discovered by Hal Roach she was paired many times with Thelma Todd and known as the Queen of Wise-cracks
When our guest Mr. Bob Hecker listed some comedians that were influenced by Laurel and Hardy, he quickly threw in the names “Audie & Baudie.” These two might not be a famous comedy duo, but they are real! Archibald Audie and Ichabod Baudie are a clown duo featuring Mr. Hecker and his cousin Steve.