I doubt many of my followers have heard or seen Laurel and Hardy, but to my mind they remain one of the funniest duos I’ve ever seen. Mind you, I’m not old enough to have seen them in person, but I did see some of their sketches on TV when I was a little girl. The Bluebird of Bitterness (https://bluebirdofbitterness.com/) had a video of them dancing on her blog Friday, and that stirred me to go back and find out more about them.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
Let me introduce you:
Laurel and Hardy were a comedy team in the early classical Hollywood cinema. Laurel was the thin Englishman Stan Laurel who paired with the heavyset American Oliver Hardy. They became well known during the late 1920s through the mid-1940s for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy and childlike friend of the very pompous Hardy.
Their comedy is very typical of the simple, physical slapstick of the time – also a feature of the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, and later, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. It sustained people both here and in England, during the dark days of the 1930s and 40s.
Their physical differences played out in their comedy routines. Stan Laurel was of average height and weight, but appeared small and slight next to Oliver Hardy, who was 6 ft 1in and weighed about 280 lb. They used some details to enhance this difference. Laurel kept his hair short on the sides and back, growing it long on top to create a natural “fright wig”. At times of shock, he would simultaneously cry while pulling up his hair. Hardy’s thinning hair was pasted on his forehead in spit curls and he sported a toothbrush mustache. Laurel walked flat-footed by removing the heels from his shoes, and both wore bowler hats, Laurel’s with a flattened brim. Hardy wore a neck tie which he would twiddle and Laurel a bow tie, and they contrasted their jackets. Hardy’s was always a bit small with straining buttons, while Laurel’s was loose fitting.
You can see this in these clips:
Laurel and Hardy appeared as a team in 107 films – 32 short silent, 40 short sound films and 23 full length feature films. Since the 1930s, the works of Laurel and Hardy have been released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 8-mm and 16-mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home videos, so their comedy is still making people laugh. There is even a Laurel and Hardy appreciation society called The Sons of the Desert, named after one of their films of the same name.
I dare you not to laugh watching this clip: