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Laurel and Hardy

Laurel and Hardy – great comedy film duo, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

Laurel and Hardy in Tit for Tat(You can read more about Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy at our sister site, Laurel and Hardy)

Laurel and Hardy.   Stan and Ollie.   Skinny and Fatty.   In Italy, they are known as Stallio and Ollio.   In Germany they are known as Dick und Doof (“Fatty” and “Stupid” ).   Whatever they are called,  Stan Laurel  and  Oliver Hardy  are two of the best known clowns in film history.

Laurel and Hardy  were almost perfect  examples of opposites. Stan was thin, Ollie was fat.  Laurel was English, Hardy was a southern gentleman  hailing from Georgia.   Stan’s character was nearly perpetually happy, while Oliver’s character was constantly being exasperated by “my friend, Mr. Laurel.” But the  lynchpin of their comedy was the friendship of the two mismatched characters, which under-girded the relationship, and made possible so many of their comedic moments.

Laurel and Hardy were one of the few silent film teams to make the transition to sound  films – and they seemingly made it effortlessly. Although  Charlie Chaplin’s  famous tramp character couldn’t talk and remain in character, the two characters played by  Laurel and Hardy could, and did.   “I’m sorry, Ollie!” and “Why don’t you do something to  <em”>help  me?” became their respective catch phrases, know world wide.   In addition, they were able to make the transition from short films to feature films as well, making both for a time.

Laurel and Hardy’s  famous signature tune is known as  the Cuckoo Song, composed by T. Marvin Hatley (1905-1986) and first used in  Night Owls  (1930). The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as  Sons of the Desert  after a fraternal society in the film of the same name. It was founded in New York in 1965 with the sanction of Stan Laurel, and now has branches (known as tents) worldwide. In a 2005 poll The Comedian’s Comedian, Laurel and Hardy were  voted the 7th greatest comedy act ever by fellow comedians  and comedy insiders, making them the most popular double act on the list.

  • Stan and Ollie: The roots of comedy. by Simon Louvish (2001) [Very detailed double biography – essential reading]
  • Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy. by John McCabe (1961)
  • The Laurel and Hardy Encyclopedia. by Glenn Mitchell (1995) London: Batsford. [“Encylcopedia” is no idle boast – Laurel and Hardy from A to Z]
  • Laurel and Hardy: The magic behind the movies (rev. 2nd ed.) by Randy Skretvedt (1996). [The definitive filmography – highly recommended]
  • Laurel or Hardy: The solo films of Stan Laurel and Oliver “Babe” Hardy. by Rob Stone (1996) [The many films done by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy before they became the world-famous team of Laurel and Hardy]

Other web sites on Laurel and Hardy

Originally published at  Clown Ministry

6 thoughts on “Laurel and Hardy

  1. Chinmaya says:

    Hello,
    A quick introduction from my end-Iam Chinmaya from Bangalore,India. The reason for my mail is that I understand that the “Sons of the Desert” are having their next convention at Hollywood later this year and would want to know if you are attending it. You may check this for more details- http://www.laurelandhardywood.com/ .

    Incase you or anyone whom you know are,please let me know as there are somethings that i want to discuss regarding transport and accommodation.My id is chimayaprakash@gmail.com Else,you may ignore this.

    Regards and best wishes,
    Chinmaya

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