Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010

Laurel and Hardy

Both Englishman Stan Laurel and American southerner Oliver Hardy had solid careers before they met. Laurel was an understudy to Charlie Chaplin in England and Hardy had appeared in more than 40 films as the heavy villain. When they teamed up in 1927 in the short Duck Soup, it was the beginning of one of the most famous comedy teams in Hollywood history. Over the next 24 years, Laurel and Hardy starred in more than 70 short films and two dozen features. The skinny Laurel and nearly 300-pound Hardy created slapstick comedy playing off their contrasting physiques, blazing through tit-for-tat spectacles that often ended in the catchphrase, "Well, that's another mess you've gotten me into." When Hardy died of a massive stroke in 1957, Laurel did not attend his funeral, saying only, "Babe" — a nickname for Hardy — "would understand." Laurel wrote films and sketches for the next eight years until his own death, but he refused to appear in another film without his great friend.