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Stan and Ollie


kitsy
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I love Laurel and Hardy movies and I can't seem to get enough of them. "Way Out West" is one of my favorites, but I like all of them, especially the very old ones when they first teamed up. If you like them I'd like to hear from you. Thanks

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I've always loved Laurel and Hardy also. I think "The Music Box" was probably the first work of theirs that I saw as a child, and it remains my favorite. Though many would disagree, I also like "Air Raid Wardens".

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Now that you've opened this topic, you may never get rid of me. L&H are of transcendental importance in my cinema universe. It's a crying shame that so many of their short films are so obscure and deteriorating. As with all true classics, you will find more to appreciate each time you view one of their films.

 

My favorite short of theirs is "Twice Two" where they play each others' wives. "**** for Tat" is another good one (of course they are all good). Their earlier full-length films are better than the later ones, and "Pack Up Your Troubles" is a good start. There are many fan clubs worldwide, and there is a lot of information about both Stan and Babe (that's what they called Ollie in real life) online.

 

Many of their films, shorts and full-length, are in VHS and DVD format, but most are of pretty poor quality, so beware if you purchase any and don't expect too much. TCM's recently released collection is very good, and the copy of "Sons of the Desert" in it is in particular a very good print. I hope you pursue this interest, and I'm sure you will get great pleasure out of it.

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The list of inspired moments is endless, isn't it? And many of their films were quite risque, in a very gentle way, a factor I didn't fully recognize until I was older.

 

Stan, as the driving force behind their films, had a great feel for the absurd, and Babe was letter-perfect in executing Stan's direction. They were unusual in the world of comic pairings in that they got along very well, understood, and appreciated each other. Don't overlook Hardy's contribution to the team - it wouldn't be the same if he hadn't been so skillful.

 

Although there have been many affectionate imitators over the years, I don't think any actor has ever successfully mimicked the totally blank look Stan could achieve (a character he appropriated from another Hal Roach player, Harry Langdon, and improved upon). And many heavy-set actors have attempted to re-create Babe, but they generally lack the gracefulness he had - he had been very athletic as a young man, and he and Stan were both very light on their feet when they danced together.

 

Here's a confession: when I was a little girl, I used to fantasize that Stanley and Oliver were my grandpas. They remain my favorite fictional characters, and the real men would have been nice to know as well.

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I am one of the few people I have ever come across that can do the "kneesies, earsies, nosies" bit. I enjoy trying to get people to try this only to watch themselves haplessly attempt this absurd but fun little trick.

 

One of my favorite shorts is "Blotto". They do the same drunk, laughing routine they do in "The Devil's Brother" and it's a riot. Anyone who can watch either of those and not start to laugh (pretty much like Ollie does in the scene) need to be checked for a pulse. There are quite a few others including "Towed In A Hole", "Me and My Pal." (Ollie's wedding is delayed by them putting a puzzle together.)

 

They were indeed great friends. I think that really comes across on screen. It was ok for them to be rough with each other but don't anyone else do it. Ollie was happy enough to let Stan do the writing and creative thinking while he played golf or some hobby. He was also quite content to get less money for the same reason.

 

I hope more shorts are in store for us.

 

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Me

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Some years ago, one of the cable stations (forget which one) showed what I seem to remember as "Blotto" with all the dialog spoken in other languages. L&H did many of their shorts for distribution in other countries, speaking the dialog phonetically. I remember seeing this in Spanish, and perhaps in German, but maybe I saw the German at an earlier date. Their language skills were quite good, and it's interesting to see some very subtle differences because of the change in supporting players.

 

Speaking of other countries, my father, himself a great L&H fan who grew up in Poland and then lived in France, told me that in many European cinemas L&H were billed as "Flip & Flop."

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> I am one of the few people I have ever come across

> that can do the "kneesies, earsies, nosies" bit. I

> enjoy trying to get people to try this only to watch

> themselves haplessly attempt this absurd but fun

> little trick.

 

I'm jealous of your talent. I can't do that and used to try when I was a kid. My son can do it and has tried to teach me.

 

> laughing routine they do in "The Devil's

> Brother" and it's a riot. Anyone who can watch either

> of those and not start to laugh (pretty much like

> Ollie does in the scene) need to be checked for a

> pulse.

 

My mother needs her pulse checked. She never got Stan and Ollie or Red Skelton, The Three Stooges, no one.

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Thanks for the rely. I remember when I was in the 4th grade and saw an obituary of Stan Laurel in the newspaper. I think it was 1965 or 1966. Anyway I kept it for many years until somehow it got lost over the years. Stan and Ollie kept me entertained as a kid on Saturday runs of their movies in those days and I have never forgotten how much they made me laugh. I am so glad that our technology today can improve the quality and sound of their movies on DVD. I hope that parents will show their children these films hopefully preserved forever and that they pass them on to their children. Some more of my favorites are "Bonnie Scotland" and "Another Fine Mess". Do you remember the routine where Stan pretends to reattach his index finger by sliding it back and forth, while Ollie looks on in his usual disbelief? Or when Stan uses his thumb as a lighter? Great routines from two geniuses!

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The great Hal Roach knew a good thing when he signed on Laurel and Hardy. There was a musical number in "Way Out West" that showed Stan and Ollie doing a dance number that shows how much the two enjoyed performing together and showed versaitlity and grace as well as humor in all of their routines. I hope many more fans will keep his discussion going and share more of their favorite moments from this dynamic duo!

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Let us not forget the supporting players who helped to make things funny: Mae Busch, James Finlayson and Charlie Hall. Stan was very good at keeping his friends employed.

 

Finlayson is the actor who said "D'oh!" I hear that's now in the dictionary, credited to Homer Simpson, but that's incorrect.

 

Can any L&H fan help me remember which short this comes from? I think it's a very early talkie.

 

Ollie is arguing with his wife, played by Mae Busch. She is haranguing him, and to drown her out, he puts a record on the phonograph. It's "The Teddy Bears' Picnic," and as the music plays, Mae begins to speak in rhythm with the music -

"I'm not gonna take it, not gonna take it, not gonna take it . . . " and when she realizes what he's done, of course she breaks the record over his head (they were made of shellac then, so you could do that). Sound familiar?

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I can't swear to it yet but it sounds like it fits for "Their First Mistake." I have to get my 15 year old tapes to verify. I'll check and let you know.

 

Meanwhile, a short time later.....

 

Looks as if I was wrong. I guess I'll have to go through my collection for you. Oh darn! :)

 

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I don't think I've ever seen the film I described more than once - I did have the impression that it was a one of their really early talkies, but it may just be that the quality of the film was so poor that it looked that way. I don't have that one on tape, more's the pity. That scene sticks in my mind as a very clever use of sound very early on. Hooray for Mae!!

 

I hope you can bear the task of going through all your L&H tapes, poor lamb. I can't think of too many better ways to spend an evening.

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> And how did you do that? That's the attachment I was

> trying to get to work here a couple of weeks. I finally gave up.

 

I just dropped it in like a regular photo, using the techniques we discussed in another thread: http://forums.tcm.com/jive/tcm/thread.jspa?threadID=78584&tstart=0. Before that I loaded the animated gif into Macromedia's Fireworks (Adobe's ImageReady would work as well) and made the surrounding white a transparent color, so it would blend into the background.

 

DavidE

http://www.classicfilmpreview.com

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Moviemn,

 

Regarding a question I posed earlier in this thread about a short where Mae Busch nags in rhythm to a gramophone record -- I'm wondering if it might be "Unaccustomed As We Are." This was, I think their first all-talkie. Does it ring a bell with you?

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It does and you are right. It is "Unaccustomed As We Are." I had not got to that tape yet but I looked it up when I saw your comment and there it was.

 

I don't recognize the tune but after Mae gets worked up Ollie puts on the record and the more she yells the more she "conducts" herself. Stan sways to the beat until Mae catches on and as you point out smashes the record on Ollie's head.

 

Good for you. If you have anymore just say the word.

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Yup - it's a hoot. I'm pretty sure I remember the tune as "Teddy Bears' Picnic," which would be in keeping with the absurdity of the situation. I haven't seen it in years and years. I do think it wonderful that they were already exploring the possibilites of sound gags even at that early date.

 

Thanks for your research efforts.

Regards.

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