Like many people, I’ve been a huge fan of Laurel & Hardy since childhood. This is mainly due to my father, who would howl at the boys’ films on TV and I would laugh at him, laughing at them. Then one day, something occurred when my attention turned from him and to the screen long enough to finally understand what it was that my dad found so funny. In that instant, I was bitten by the bug! I had contracted Laurelandhardymania!
I had an unquenchable thirst for more information about the boys and had endless questions such as: ‘Who were they off screen?’, ‘Were they anything like their screen counterparts?’, ‘Where were they born? and ‘when did they die?’ My need for Laurel and Hardy knowledge, films and merchandise became an addiction and it grew by the day, like an out of control addict, I needed my fix! My friends at school thought I was weird and they were probably right!
I began collecting VHS copies of the boys’ films and built up a sizeable library. I even managed to record the majority of their Hal Roach talkies on my VCR, as they were shown so regularly back then on the BBC. Then, one Christmas, I received my first book on the boys. It was a copy of John McCabe’s, ‘Mr. Laurel & Mr. Hardy‘ – a paperback with a bright pink cover. I consumed it quickly and shed more than one tear at the end, as the subject of Stan and Babe’s passing was handled by the author with much care and sensitivity. But I wanted more. Many more books followed, including my all-time favourite – Randy Skretvedt’s, ‘Laurel & Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies‘. This was a small orange paperback, with very fine pages, not like today’s version which is the size of a mattress and weighs about the same as a bus…but, what a book! I remember taking this book with me on holiday to the USA and devoured every page. The mix of film facts and behind the scenes information, combined with a sprinkling of their personal history was exactly what I’d been looking for – and today’s updated and revised version is all that and SO much more. It truly was and still is THE greatest book on Laurel and Hardy any fan could wish for and my blog would be nothing without it.
Towards the end of 2018, having not watched the boys for a while, due to branching out into other interests, I decided to re-visit their films one by one, from their first silent short together ‘The Lucky Dog‘ (1921) to their last talking feature ‘Atoll K’ (1951) and all that’s in between – 106 films in total. And, to prove to myself, that perhaps I’m not that weird after all, I thought I’d share my thoughts on each film, as I went along, and see what reactions and discussions may follow.
Then, on April Fools’ Day, 2020 (it seemed appropriate!) I launched a podcast series! The Laurel and Hardy Blogcast is, first and foremost, a way to make my blogs more accessible, so each episode contains an audio version of the blogs from this website. However, in order to add value, I also invite a special guest to talk with me about the boys’ films and also their own connections to the world of Laurel and Hardy.
Finally, on 10th June 2020, I created BLOG-HEADS, a private Facebook Group to enable all the readers, listeners and supporters of The Laurel and Hardy Blog, to have one place where we could all come together to discuss the films, ask questions, find answers and just generally share our love and appreciation for the wonderful Stan & Babe.
So, why not join me as I work my way through our beloved team’s canon of work. You can add your comments to the blogs or on my social media pages. I’d love to hear your thoughts. To start the discussion, I include my review of the films and try to add a bit of behind the scenes information and some context with what was happening in the boys’ personal lives at the time they were making each film, in an attempt to give a more complete picture.
I follow the chronological order of when the titles were filmed, rather than released by the studios, as set out in Randy Skredtvedt’s ‘The Magic Behind the Movies‘. In writing these blogs, I refer to my own personal Laurel & Hardy library and you can find a complete list of all the books that I use and more by clicking HERE or by using the ‘Books etc‘ tab from the main menu. The affiliate links will take you directly to Amazon, where you can purchase your own copy, should you wish.
Thank you for joining me on this Laurel & Hardy journey, I really appreciate your support and contributions. Please join in with the discussions by sharing your thoughts and comments, both on this website and via the various social media platforms. I look forward to hearing from you.
Let’s build something together.