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markbeckuaf

Grooving to Laurel and Hardy and more this week on TCM!!!

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P.S., It's not clear which comment you're referring to (and I wouldn't want to get into an escalating ****-for-tat a la Stan and Ollie), but if it was mine,I didn't even get into any offensive aspects of "General Spanky." My comment was that the kids are all wasted in this film. The whole charm of the Little Rascals was kids being themselves; they reportedly improvised a lot of their dialogue. Here it was clear they had to memorize the dialogue and react in a scripted fashion as well. So you can think what you like about the film's story line, it's another question whether the film is funny. I have my own views about the story line, but historically you're right that it was no better, but no worse than many other Hollywood films of that period. One historical question would be why the major studios maintained essentially a D.W. Griffith view of the Civil War up through the end of the 1930's.

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Yes, and in the full length version, too. I was about to turn off the set when TCM's current shorts intro started and I thought, "Let's see what this is first; probably a TravelTalks about Paris" -- and was I surprised. Then I thought I could stay up another 10 minutes to see if it was truncated like a couple of weeks ago and 20 minutes if not. I enjoyed it and the ending was very unexpected!

 

A lot more people might have had the chance to catch it had the shorts listings not stopped in the daily schedule... Hope the webmasters are able to restore those listings soon.

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> {quote:title=nitratefiend wrote:}{quote}

> One historical question would be why the major studios maintained essentially a D.W. Griffith view of the Civil War up through the end of the 1930's.

 

Uh...to not offend white southern audiences and exhibitors? (It also explains why black artists were essentially shunted into separate parts of storylines, so their scenes could be more easily cut for southern theaters.)

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> {quote:title=VP19 wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=nitratefiend wrote:}{quote}

> > One historical question would be why the major studios maintained essentially a D.W. Griffith view of the Civil War up through the end of the 1930's.

>

> Uh...to not offend white southern audiences and exhibitors?

 

That?s a myth that modern Hollywood contrived to take the blame off of all the old studio heads and producers and the men who owned the studios and the theaters.

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Is there enough interest in this new topic we've started to start a separate thread? It's far off topic as far as L&H, or even the Little Rascals are concerned. Although I would have only theses or surmises to contribute myself, I find the question interesting and would like to hear from those who know more. It would be a timely discussion in the context of the Civil War sesquicentennial. On the other hand, I know many folks come to this site for fun and relaxation, not to look into how films treat history.

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Wow, you sure did, LZ, at least 15 pages worth! Thanks for leading me to this thread. It took some time to read, but there were many insightful entries and I learned a lot. Tried to post a comment there to this effect, but without success. In any case, no one has posted on that thread since Nov. 21, 2010, so we'll consider it closed.

 

Getting back to "Sons of the Desert": did anyone else notice that the boys left the two telltale pineapples out on the kitchen table when they sneaked upstairs to the attic to hide from their wives? Stan first puts the pineapples on a chair, where of course Ollie sits on them, after which Ollie moves them to the tabletop.

 

Edited by: nitratefiend on Jan 28, 2011 2:06 PM for updating

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> {quote:title=rodee wrote:}{quote}

> I must agree with you. I was thrilled to see the Laurel and Hardy marathon on TCM. I haven't seen many of these shorts since I was a kid and one local TV station played them. I have loved Laurel and Hardy ever since. No one has been able to match their comedy. I can only hope that now that TCM has played these shorts they will repeat this marathon often (hint hint please please) and hopefully add these wonderful films to their DVD collection. I will be first up to purchase.

 

This was a good series. I managed to record all of them. I'd like to see TCM show more series of silent films in a block like this, maybe once a year.

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That's the thing. Stan and Ollie were primarily for kids. If you watch them for the first time as an adult, the stuff seems kind of juvenile. Their humor is not in the realm of, say, Noel Coward.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> That's the thing. Stan and Ollie were primarily for kids. If you watch them for the first time as an adult, the stuff seems kind of juvenile. Their humor is not in the realm of, say, Noel Coward.

 

It's called Slapstick Humor. And that dosen't make it any less funny then your Noel Coward who I consider a bore. Besides, for your information, everything in older film was created with adults in mind, not children, and that includes Slapstick Humor, Cartoons, Serials, ETC., ETC., ETC. Slapstick Commedians like Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges, Abbott AND Costello, and the Cartoons did not become ASSOCIATED with Children until the advent of Television in the 50s when these films were sold to TV in package deals and aired in the afternoons when kids would get home from school.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> That's the thing. Stan and Ollie were primarily for kids. If you watch them for the first time as an adult, the stuff seems kind of juvenile. Their humor is not in the realm of, say, Noel Coward.

 

I don?t want to see or hear any Noel Coward humor when I watch their films. I want to see them bopping each other on the head, yelling, crying, falling down, falling off roofs, being nagged by their wives, etc.

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Dear finance,

 

These classic comedies were designed to be seen by live audiences, on a big theater screen. The comic impact is entirely different with an audience, as opposed to seeing them alone, at home on a small screen. I hope you see them in a theater someday. Years ago I saw the Three Stooges in a theater, and the effect was far better than with home viewing. Ever since, I have come to respect audiences and what they can feel or see collectively, as do most of the people trying to make money in the film business.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> That's the thing. Stan and Ollie were primarily for kids. If you watch them for the first time as an adult, the stuff seems kind of juvenile. Their humor is not in the realm of, say, Noel Coward.

Sorry, they were not primarily for kids. And Coward was probably a fan.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> That's the thing. Stan and Ollie were primarily for kids. If you watch them for the first time as an adult, the stuff seems kind of juvenile. Their humor is not in the realm of, say, Noel Coward.

Sorry, they were not primarily for kids. And Coward was probably a fan.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> That's the thing. Stan and Ollie were primarily for kids. If you watch them for the first time as an adult, the stuff seems kind of juvenile. Their humor is not in the realm of, say, Noel Coward.

Sorry, they were not primarily for kids. And Coward was probably a fan.

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> {quote:title=nitratefiend wrote:}{quote}

> Getting back to "Sons of the Desert": did anyone else notice that the boys left the two telltale pineapples out on the kitchen table when they sneaked upstairs to the attic to hide from their wives? Stan first puts the pineapples on a chair, where of course Ollie sits on them, after which Ollie moves them to the tabletop.

>

More fun trivia:

Did you notice in that scene in the newspaper a picture of Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly in costume for their short AIR FRIGHT, released just a few days before SONS OF THE DESERT?

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Dear musicalnovelty,

 

That was a very good catch! Just for that, here is a musical novelty for you:

 

 

*"Honolulu Baby" from Sons Of the Desert (1934)*

 

 

Happy Friday

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> {quote:title=ThelmaTodd wrote:}{quote}

> Dear musicalnovelty,

>

> That was a very good catch! Just for that, here is a musical novelty for you:

>

>

> *"Honolulu Baby" from Sons Of the Desert (1934)*

>

>

>

> Happy Friday

>

Here's a version you may not have heard:

 

 

(Never mind the visuals here, it's the audio that's rare).

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Interesting point. We had this discussion several months ago, about movies specifically for teens and kids not being produced until later. But weren't there Saturday matinees in the thirties in which the Little Rascals and Laurel and Hardy, e.g., were shown? Even if Stan and Ollie were not targeted to kids, I'm sure that kids liked their stuff. I don't think kids grooved to (for you, Mark) Noel Coward's stuff.

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The genius of that early era often created a film product that could appeal to children, while also making humor for adults. Many films, like cartoon shorts and slapstick comedies which nominally were geared for juveniles, often had wry satirical humor that could only be appreciated by more mature viewers. The Three Stooges in their first Columbia short *Woman Haters (1934)* are a good case in point. How many children have laughed at and enjoyed their antics, and yet did not "get" the savage satire of misogyny and gender relations embodied in their dialogue, which was sung in rhyme? Some of the Fleischer Studio cartoons had images and references that many would consider unsuitable for children. I think creating a multi-generational appeal made sense, as children were most often accompanied by an adult (working moms were far less common).

 

Studios ended up hiring many jaded intellectual types to write for them, who were recruited from the ranks of best selling novelists and New York playrights. Despite their cushy contracts and very high salaries (some made the equivalent of 30 to 50 thousand per week in today's money, and on a 5 or 7 year contract at that!!), so many of these writers hated or looked down on Hollywood, the film business, it's mass market product and it's public. They often tried to "slip in" humor and satire that they hoped would go over the heads of children(whose tastes bored them), "rubes in the sticks"(whom they especially despised as stupid and backward) and studio bosses (whom they thought ill qualified to judge their work). They sometimes succeeded!

 

 

I believe Stan Laurel said that he got a lot of his comic inspiration from watching the antics and reactions of children. The Hal Roach comedies evoke a transgenerational response not through a lot of subtle satire, but through the essential simplicity that comes from childhood. Stan and Ollie were a couple of grown up kids; the Little Rascals were children who often acted out adult role playing. Roach didn't seem to tolerate too much intellectual "cleverness" on the part of his writers and wanted to keep it all simple, even primal!

 

Take another good look, or rather listen to this film and it's satire of men/women relations and the resentment they breed:

 

*PT 1 The Three Stooges In Woman Haters*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y7Rc_F-mKM

 

Much of the dialogue betrays a satirical humor that flies over the heads of children.

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As long as we're getting into the real Hal Roach trivia (and I enjoyed the bit about Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly's picture in the newspaper, which I'll admit I didn't see), did anyone else notice this:

 

One of the shorts TCM broadcast had the name of Hal Roach sound engineer Elmer Raguse (who also worked on Little Rascals films) misspelled as Elmer "Roguse." Which short was it? IMDB noticed this error, BTW, as I confirmed by Googling Elmer Roguse.

 

It got me to thinking what a great time the late 1920's and early 1930's must have been for a sound engineer. Commercial radio was ramping up bigtime, and the talkies arrived shortly thereafter. The soundmen would have been really in demand, even after the Depression hit.

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> {quote:title=nitratefiend wrote:}{quote}

>

> One of the shorts TCM broadcast had the name of Hal Roach sound engineer Elmer Raguse (who also worked on Little Rascals films) misspelled as Elmer "Roguse." Which short was it? IMDB noticed this error, BTW, as I confirmed by Googling Elmer Roguse.

>

That misspelling was the fault of the reissue company Film Classics. When they reissued the films in the 1940's and replaced the original titles & credits they misspelled Raguse's name on several films. They also carelessly and disgracefully mangled many other names and even some of the film titles!

Some I know have a sort of a nostalgic fondness for the "Film Classics Plaque" titles on the Roach films, but I am delighted to see the original title & credits restored on so many of them.

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MN, thanks for clearing up something I was wondering about as I made my way through the shorts I had recorded. There are some very creative opening titles, like the buzzsaws moving across the titles of "Busy Bodies," or the night cityscape on the titles of "The Night Patrol," and then there are the same boring placard titles on a number of the other ones. Was this the same distributor that cut even these two-reelers into shorter snippets to sell them to TV (as mentioned in a previous post, to fit two shorts into a 30-minute TV slot, even allowing for commercials)?

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