Did You Know?
by Richard W. Bann

The official date of death of Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy:
Hardy: Aug 7, 1957.
Laurel: Feb 23, 1965.

8x7=56. 2x23=46. 56-46=10. Laurel was 75. Hardy was 65. 75-65=10.

Hardy died at 65 in '57, which is 75 backwards, Laurel died at 75 in '65, which is the age when Hardy died in '57, which is 75 backwards, which is the age when Laurel died, in '65, at age 75, which is '57 backwards, which is when Hardy died, at age 65, to infinity to the tenth power, which is how long Laurel & Hardy will continue entertaining a world in need of laughter ... if we have anything to do with it!

At one point, Stan Laurel had married his first wife once, his second wife twice, and his third wife three times. 1-2-3. Then he spoiled that arithmetic progression, but created a different symmetry. He went back and married his second wife, a third time, and concluded by marrying his fourth wife once. 1-3-3-1. What does this mean? TWICE TWO? Maybe TWICE THREE? You tell us. Perhaps Oliver Hardy had the answer in SONS OF THE DESERT when he said, "I never realized that such a deplorable condition existed in your home."

Did You Know?
Courtesy of Laurel and Hardy Central

If it wasn't for an accident Oliver suffered cooking a leg of lamb, Stan Laurel would never have been coaxed into taking over his role in a forthcoming film. Stan Laurel might have continued contentedly as a writer and director and Leo McCarey would not have noticed the comedy chemistry which resulted from the chance pairings of Stan and Babe in those early Hal Roach comedies.

According to Movie Mirror (1933), Oliver Hardy bought the rights to their famous signature tune, Cuckoo, from the composer Marvin Hatley for $25. "I thought it was funny" said Stan.

By the time they produced their first true Laurel & Hardy film, Ollie was already thirty-five and Stanley was thirty-seven.

Hardy's most famous catchphrase is often misquoted, "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten us into." The incorrect "another fine mess" comes from the name of one of their short films, made in 1930.

Stan's daughter, Lois, was briefly considered for the role of the orphan girl in Pack Up Your Troubles. By the time of filming, it was determined that Lois looked too old for the role. When Lois was younger she used to dislike Ollie as he always seemed to bully her Dad in their films, and persuaded Stan to incorporate a 'revenge' scene at the end of One Good Turn, where Stan finally turns the tables on Ollie.Jerry Lewis once offered Stan $100,000 to write for him on a part-time basis. Stan declined the offer.

Ollie's favourite pastime was golf. Among his frequent golfing partners were Bing Crosby, W.C. Fields, Babe Ruth and Chico Marx. Stan's favourite pastime was fishing, especially salmon fishing in northern California. As his daughter Lois put it, "He loved it when the fish would put up a bit of a fight with him."

In addition to fishing, Stan's other interests included raising ducks and hydroponic gardening (a process in which plants are grown in chemical solutions rather than soil). He once successfully cross-bred a potato and an onion, but couldn't get anyone to sample the results.

Stan was married four times. His marriage to actress Lois Neilson (1926-1936) produced a daughter, Lois Jr., in 1927. Stan's first wife sometimes served as his personal business manager and handled all of his business dealings with Hal Roach. His stormiest marriage to Illiana Shuvalova, a Russian opera singer, lasted only a year.

Oliver was married three times. His final marriage was with Lucille Jones, a script girl that he had met during the filming of The Flying Deuces. It lasted from 1940 until his death in 1957.

Most fans know that the team's 1932 short The Music Box was honoured with an Academy Award for Best Short Subject. What some don't know is that 1935's Tit for Tat also received a nomination in the same category.

The original preview prints of The Bohemian Girl featured Thelma Todd in the prominent role of the Gypsy Queen. After Thelma's mysterious death in December 1935, some of her scenes were scrapped and new footage was shot.

A monkey plays the role of Mickey Mouse in Babes In Toyland, one of the few times you're likely to see an appearance by a Disney character in a non-Disney film. Walt Disney himself was a Laurel and Hardy fan, as well as a close friend to Hal Roach.

Stan was instrumental in the career of the young Marcel Marceau. After seeing Marceau perform in Paris in 1950, Stan praised him as an unsung genius and helped Marceau gain attention in the French press.

Hardy played the Tin Man in a 1925 silent version of The Wizard Of Oz.

Name' actors who appeared in Laurel and Hardy films: Jean Harlow, Robert Mitchum, Alan Hale Sr., Sidney Toler, Peter Cushing, Elisha Cook, Jr., Vivian Blaine, Margaret Dumont and Jean Parker

Blake Edwards, known for his PINK PANTHER films with Peter Sellers, dedicated his 1965 film The Great Race to "Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy", while Kurt Vonnegut dedicated his novel Slapstick to "Arthur Stanley Jefferson and Norvell Hardy, two angels of my time.".

How did Stan and Ollie get together in the first place? They had appeared together by chance in an earlier film called THE LUCKY DOG, but it was not until each had joined Hal Roach that their teaming began. They were appearing in the same films at Roach when director/supervisor Leo McCarey recognized the comic contrast between them and encouraged their teamwork. They first appeared in something resembling their eventual format in a 1927 release called DUCK SOUP.

THE MUSIC BOX (1932) brought Laurel & Hardy an Oscar. The idea of steps was also used in one of their silents, HATS OFF, no copy of which is known to exist.

Including quest appearances, Laurel & Hardy made 106 films together. This number does not include films in which Laurel directed Hardy, newsreels, home movies or TV.

A few times, Stan and Ollie appeared together on TV: They were guests on a BBC show hosted by bandleader Henry Hall in 1953 and in the following year they were the subjects of THIS IS YOUR LIFE in America. In 1955 - in what was to be their last engagement as a team - they contributed a filmed insert for another BBC show, THIS MUSIC HALL.

Laurel & Hardy did not always do their own stunts. By the time of their teaming, they were approaching middle age and of course were becoming too valuable to risk. Stan Laurel was sometimes doubled by Ham Kimsey; Oliver Hardy's usual double was Cy Slocum, though a still from SWISS MISS shows Charlie Phillips performing this task.