Matinee Monday: Laurel and Hardy


There are many great comics and comedians from the Classic Era of cinema, and many great comedy teams, but the best team of all, the creme´ de la creme´, was Laurel and Hardy. While both worked separately in films, in the silent era and early talkies, it was movie magic when Hal Roach paired the two together, creating the most beloved movie team ever.

In their movies, they were never anything other than themselves, two harmless naifs bumbling the world at their own pace. Oliver Hardy, big and pompous, was the self-anointed brains of the outfit, and Stanley Laurel was his best friend, a semi-conscious, bewildered tag-along who needed superintending, and often, simple needed tending. Saying that Oliver was the brains of the outfit is not saying that either had a brain; just that Oliver was satisfied in his smug self-assurance that he knew best.

Most of their films were about the two just trying to live normal lives, but somehow, life overtook them and even over-powered them. Whether it was trying to fool their wives about going to a lodge convention, trying to install a radio antenna, trying to sleep in an upper berth, trying to refurbish a boat, or deliver a piano, life always proved too much for them.

In 1932, they made the 28-minute short, The Music Box, in which they attempt to deliver a spinet piano up this flight of steps:

That little gray box at the top of the photo? That's the top of the steps!

That little gray box at the top of the photo? That’s the top of the steps!

The Music Box received an Oscar for Best American Short Film that year, and selected by the Library of Congress for preservation as culturally and aesthetically significant. I don’t know who got ambitious, but whoever it was, they uploaded the entire short. When you have a free half hour, click on this link and enjoy one of the finest comedy films every made.


Filed under Culture

2 responses to “Matinee Monday: Laurel and Hardy

  1. I am old enough to have seen the Laurel and Hardy shorts on network television as a young girl. As you say, they were classics, especially when you consider that the stunts we take for granted today had to done live. Don’t, however, overlook Abbott and Costello!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s