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The Live Ghost

Laurel and Hardy’s The Live Ghost (1934) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Walter Lang

On one hand, The Live Ghost is a very typical Laurel and Hardy short film – in fact, it co-stars all of the Roach Studio players that we typically find in a Laurel and Hardy film (Walter Long as the gruff sea captain, Arthur Housman as an inebriated sailor, Charlie Hall as another sailor and Mae Busch as the “floozy”) except for James Finlayson.  The basic plot has Walter Long as a gruff sea captain, who’s having trouble hiring sailors to work on his ship, since it has a reputation for being haunted.  He hires Laurel and Hardy to help him shanghai a crew (in a very funny extended scene, with Stan and Ollie and a bag of boiled eggs), ending with not only the sailors being shanghaied but Laurel and Hardy as well.

Walter Long, Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel in The Live GhostThis leads to a problem for Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, since the sailors want revenge on the pair – “but the Captain warns them that no one is to harm them as long as they stay on the boat.  So, no matter how many ports the ship stops at, the boys refuse to go on shore.  The situation gets worse when the Captain orders them to keep the inebriated sailor on board while the ship is in port.  The inebriate sneaks out, however, and Stan and Ollie, through one of their typical mishaps, think that they’ve murdered him.  After they think they’ve disposed of “the body”, the inebriated sailor sneaks back on board, after having fallen into whitewash, and looking like the “live ghost” of the title.

From that point on, the movie goes into high gear, with Laurel and Hardy scaring themselves silly as the “ghost” wanders around, the Captain returns with the girl that he’s picked up in the tavern (Mae Busch), only to hear his men talking about a “ghost” which infuriates him, and leads to the ending of the movie – which I personally didn’t find all that funny.  Even so, I enjoyed The Live Ghost and rate it a solid 3 clowns out of 5.

Funny movie quotes from Laurel and Hardy’s The Live Ghost

Stanley (Stan Laurel): We heard the sea is infatuated with sharks.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Not infatuated. He means infuriated.

Captain (Walter Long): If anybody ever mentions the word “ghost” to me, I’m gonna twist his head around so that when he’s walking north he’ll be looking south.

[over “dead” body]
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Do you think he’s in heaven?
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): No. Most likely he’s gone to the other place. Get some coal. We’ll dump him overboard.
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Do you gotta take your own coal with you when you go to the other place?
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Certainly not. It’s to weight the sack down so it’ll sink.


Computer nerd by day, professional clown on evenings and weekends (Raynbow), who combines the two by maintaining a bunch of websites dedicated to the history and performances of clowning, such as Free Clown Skits, and comedy such as Best Clean Funny Jokes.

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