Laurel and Hardy

Babes in Toyland, starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers

Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers aka Babes in Toyland (1934)

When people think of holiday classics, few people think of ”March of the Wooden Soldiers” by Laurel and Hardy—and that’s a pity. Based on Victor Herbert’s famous 1903 operetta, “Babes in Toyland,” it is a musical fairy tale that’s loved by young and old alike.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in March of the Wooden Soldiers, also known as Babes in ToylandIn March of the Wooden Soldiers, the boys (Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy) portray Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee, employees of Toyland’s toy factory and just as inept there as at any other occupation in any other Laurel and Hardy film. They live in the home of the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe, whose oldest daughter is Little Bo Peep. Peep is in love with Tom Tom, the Piper’s son, but desired by the evil Silas Barnaby (“the meanest man in town”), who holds the mortgage on the shoe. Other fairy tale figures include Old King Cole, the Three Little Pigs, and several others. The plot revolves around Barnaby’s attempts to win the hand of Bo Peep by hook or crook, and Stan & Ollie’s bumbling attempts to foil them, including having Stanley stand in for Bo Peep in a wedding ceremony.

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You're Darn Tootin' - Oliver Hardy loses his pants, while Stan Laurel looks on

You’re Darn Tootin’

You’re Darn Tootin’ (1928) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy

You're Darn Tootin' - Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy playing in the bandYou’re Darn Tootin’ is a very funny silent Laurel and Hardy film, which I can’t help but wonder how it would have been with sound.  The basic premise has Stan Laurel playing the clarinet, and Oliver Hardy the French horn.  They’re playing in a bandstand, where they are comically inept.  Throughout the short, Stan Laurel uses the clarinet as a wonderful comedy prop, with its’ multiple sections falling apart at the most inopportune times.  During the band’s playing, Stan loses his sheet music.  And so he steals Oliver’s prompting Oliver to try and retrieve “his” music sheet from under the conductor’s feet. After more comic ineptness, including knocking down all of the music stands like a set of oversized dominoes, Laurel and Hardy are summarily fired. (more…)

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Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection

Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection

Editorial review of Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection, courtesy of

Laurel & Hardy: The Essential CollectionBuy from “Eternal pals and eternal antagonists, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are the great partnership of movie slapstick. They finally get their DVD due with Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection, a 10-disc orgy of pratfalls, slow burns, and slap fights–in short, a collection that truly qualifies as a must-have for connoisseurs of comedy. The collection contains the sound films that Laurel and Hardy made for producer Hal Roach, the man who teamed the simpering English vaudeville player and the rotund American actor in the first place (although their laughs are evenly divided, Laurel was the creative force and chief gag-inventor of the duo). (more…)

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Do Detectives Think? Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy

Do Detectives Think?

Do Detectives Think? (1927) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson

Do Detectives Think? is an early Laurel and Hardy silent film.  In fact, this is the first Laurel and Hardy short where Stan and Ollie wear their trademark derby hats.  The basic plot has an escaped murderer, “The Tipton Slasher” out for revenge on the judge who put him behind bars—played by the very funny James Finlayson, (more…)

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Blotto (1930) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Anita Garvin

Synopsis of Laurel and Hardy’s short film, Blotto

In Blotto, during the prohibition period in the United States, Laurel and Hardy make plans to spend a wild night out at the Rainbow club. Phoning Stan at home, Ollie suggests a plan to henpecked Stan on how to get out of the house. Stan offers to bring a bottle of liquor which his wife has hidden in the house. Mrs. Laurel, eavesdropping on another line, immediately launches a scheme of her own: she replaces the alcohol with a non-alcoholic mixture. Stan and Ollie proceed to get “drunk” at the nightclub, having a wonderful time, until an angry Mrs. Laurel turns up armed with a shotgun, reveals that their “liquor” is merely cold tea, chases them into the street, and demolishes their cab with one well-aimed shot. (more…)

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Stan Laurel holds Academy Awards Oscar presented to him for his creative pioneering in the field of cinema comedy on July 11, 1961. (AP Photo/Don Brinn)

Stan Laurel’s Eulogy

[Editor’s note: this is Stan Laurel’s eulogy, given by Dick Van Dyke at Stan’s funeral]

Thirty years ago, when the latest Laurel and Hardy movie played in my hometown in Illinois, I attended the Saturday matinees. That is to say, from about eleven A.M. to maybe nine or ten P.M.—or whenever my mother and father came to drag me home. (more…)

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James Finlayson as the teacher at the prison in Pardon Us

James Finlayson biography

James Finlayson – August 27, 1887 – October 9, 1953

James Finlayson, best known for his recurring roles in various Laurel and Hardy films as their foil, was born James Henderson Finlayson on August 27, 1887, in Larbert, Scotland, to his parents Alexander and Isabella.   (more…)

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Laurel and Hardy - Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

Laurel and Hardy

Laurel and Hardy – great comedy film duo, Stan Laurel and Oliver 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. (more…)

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Oliver Hardy in prison garb in "Pardon Us"

Oliver Hardy biography – Laurel and Hardy – another fine mess you’ve gotten me into!

Oliver Hardy Biography (January 18, 1892 – August 7, 1957)

Oliver Hardy’s Early Years

On January 18, 1892, Norvell Hardy was born in Harlem, Georgia. It wasn’t until many years later that he adopted his father’s name, Oliver, as his own.  A tribute to the father that he never knew. (more…)

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Laurel and Hardy - Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

Biography of Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy – I’m sorry, Ollie!

Biography of Arthur Stanley Jefferson, aka Stan Laurel (June 16, 1890 – February 23, 1965)

Stan Laurel, the tall, thin, “dumb” half of the team of Laurel and Hardy, is an interesting individual in his own right. Stan Laurel was of the pioneers of motion picture comedies. Stan and his partner Oliver Hardy were two of the rare individuals who made the successful transition from silent movies to talking pictures. But he is much more than that. For instance, few people are aware that he had a successful film career before teaming with “Ollie,” or that he produced, directed, wrote and edited much of the work that “The Boys” created. In many ways, his life parallels that of another film comedy great, Charlie Chaplin. Did you know that, unlike the southern Ollie, Stan was English? And did you know he was Chaplin’s understudy on the stage in their home country of England? (more…)

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