LAUREL & HARDY - BEYOND THE 106 MOVIES

By Dave Wyatt

This three part series first appeared in the printed version of our 'Laurel and Hardy Magazine'. Now we are pleased to present it here (edited for the web) so that you can see the film footage. This is PART ONE, PARTS TWO and THREE will be added to our MEMBER / SUBSCRIBERS only area of our site.

Laurel & Hardy appeared in 106 films together. These have been well documented, as have the foreign language versions, and the films they made separately. But the boys also appeared in various newsreels; promotional reels; TV and home-movie footage. Below is the first of a series of articles detailing these 'extra' appearances. Compiled by “Helpmates’” very own “Keeper of the Celluloid,” David Wyatt, the listings contain details of every known extant piece of footage. It’s a fascinating record, full of delightful and intriguing revelations.

Please note: all titles feature original L&H footage, and are in b/w unless mentioned as colour. Cinema newsreels sometimes had a title on each individual news item, sometimes not. Those listed here as 'untitled' had no actual title, so are referred to by the title in the newsreel company’s catalogued. Dates given are the dates when the events were filmed - not when the newsreels were released.

PART 1: L&H IN BRITAIN AND EUROPE 

CINEMA NEWSREELS PATHÉ NEWS

SOUTHAMPTON – ARRIVAL ON THE “QUEEN ELIZABETH” (untitled) - 10/2/1947

Laurel & Hardy arrive for their first British working tour, together with other Hollywood stars Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor. The team are interviewed by reporter John Parasols (whose ‘Lord Plumtree’ accent is almost as funny as L&H’s comedy routine). Stan can’t get a word in during Babe’s speech; when he finally interrupts it is to tell him “You’re standing on my foot!” Their proposed British film ROBIN HOOD is mentioned.

Recycled by Associated British Pathé into SPOT THE STARS – a reel of various news shots of film stars in the form of a quiz.

COMEDIANS AT THE APOLLO (untitled) - 13/4/1947

Outside the Apollo Theatre, London, L&H help other comedians raise money for a farmers’ distress fund. Sid Field, George Robey, Tommy Trinder and most of the Crazy Gang also appear. CICK ON IMAGE: This will open a new window where you can play the newsreel.

Laural and hardy People in Camera

DAILY MAIL IDEAL HOME EXHIBITION - 16/3/1947

L&H at the Ideal Home Exhibition, London – Hardy supposedly testing chairs with actresses Tessie O’Shea and Vera Pearce.

Unedited footage – not used in any newsreel. 

DAILY MAIL FILM FESTIVAL – OSCARS FOR BRITISH STARS - 28/4/1947

Awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel. Margaret Lockwood and producer Herbert Wilcox receive awards; British stars Michael Wilding, Patricia Roc and Michael Rennie are also seen.

L&H arrive late, with their wives and briefly improvise some comedy business with a handy vase of flowers. Out takes exist with more shots of Stan & Babe – Babe using a flower as a buttonhole and reacting to its smell.

DAILY MAIL FILM FESTIVAL - OSCARS FOR BRITISH STARS

ABOARD THE FRENCH BOAT TRAIN (untitled) - 2/11/1947

L&H in the dining car of the boat train, improvising some business - then disembarking. They were travelling from Paris to London on their way to the Royal Command Performance at the Palladium the next evening. If only that had been filmed!

  

NEW ADDITION LOCATED BY GLENN MITCHELL -SKATERS KEEP 'EM ROLLING video newsreel film 08/05/1950

Full title reads: "Paris. Skaters Keep 'Em Rolling".

Paris, France. The roller skating show 'Skating Vanities with Gloria Nord' are a big hit in Paris.

VS girls walking on balls. CU Girls on balls pan down to balls. MV Girls trundling balls along in centre of hall. CU Stan Laurel looking on. VS girls in crinolines roller skating with hoops. LS Girl skating with hoops. SV Girl and boy holding hoop in foreground as skaters skate past. LV Skaters passing in centre of hall. MV Skaters forming up in centre of floor. LV GV skaters formed up in centre as lights go out.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO PLAY.

 

SKATERS KEEP 'EM ROLLING  JUST CLICK ON THE IMAGESKATERS KEEP 'EM ROLLING

Your browser does not support iframes.


Laurel and Hardy arrives in England in 1952

 

 

VARIETY CLUB LUNCH - 31/1/1952

L&H had just arrived for their second British variety tour (see GB Newsreel – ARRIVAL ON THE QUEEN MARY) and were invited to this Variety Club event at the Empress Club, London. Speeches are heard by Charlie Chester and Freddie Mills and for some reason a chimp (not THE chimp!) and some girls wrapped in cellophane presenting gifts are involved.

L&H are then interviewed by Eamon Andrews (wrongly this was often assumed to be a TV. interview when resurrected in later TV. shows.) Unedited footage, not used in any newsreel. Discussion includes the cold weather, how the change of time zone has affected them – and not much more. Graciously they compliment Andrews’ then current TV quiz show ‘What’s My Line?’ What a pity they weren’t asked to appear as guests.

Silent footage also includes a variation on the ‘standing on my foot’ gag, this time with Bertram Mill’s Coco the clown wearing huge clown size boots.CICK ON IMAGE: This will open a new window where you can play the newsreel.

 

PART ONE                       PART TWO

Eamon Andrews opening his little red book and uttering those words we all know so well: “Laurel and Hardy – That’s My Wife”

 

NEW THEATRE, NORTHAMPTON - 22/10/1953

At the start of their 1953 British tour, L&H are filmed arriving for their first week’s engagement.

Visual gags centre on getting in and out of the car, and their cramped dressing room, with Stan finally locking their costume trunk on Ollie’s jacket. “For 30 years two of the best known funny men in films” says the commentary (a slight exaggeration!).

Recycled in part by Pathé into their compilation ‘This Was Yesterday’ (1955).

 MOVIETONE NEWS

RAILWAY BIRTHDAY PARTY - 21/3/1947

The team re open the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway extension to Dungeness, celebrating the railway’s 21st birthday. Met by the Mayor and other VIPs, L&H attempt to open some prop doors placed across the line – while Ollie is fumbling with a giant key Stan finds the door already open. To the delight of the crowds they improvise more comedy with Ollie trying to board the miniature Pullman car, setting off the train whistle, etc.

Out takes also exist in which he exchanges hats with train driver Tony Baker. Tony remains an ardent L&H fan today, recreating his role when at least one group of Sons of the Desert descended on the railway in recent years. He remembers finding L&H’s antics not particularly funny on the day, but greatly enjoyable when seen later at the cinema (for which he had to pay admission, despite his co star role!).

Laurel and Hardy at the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway

GAUMONT BRITISH NEWS

SMALLEST RAILWAY CELEBRATES A BIRTHDAY - 21/3/1947

Basically the same story as above, with a few different train shots and slightly different camera angles on the action with L&H.

also BRITISH PARAMOUNT NEWS

LAUREL & HARDY OPEN A RAILWAY - 21/3/1947

After years of assuming only the Movietone News version of the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway story survives, I’ve now discovered copies of both this and the Gaumont British News story above. Basically more of the same, but synchronised sound adds a whole new dimension to this version. At the mike L&H declare the railway open and do a gag routine as they hand the key back to owner Captain Howey. Hardy asks Mrs. Howey, “Is he the owner?” and adds jokingly, “Can we buy into this?”

DENMARK

ARRIVAL IN COPENHAGEN (untitled) - 1/10/1947

Late in 1947 the team had to arrange a hasty European excursion when Babe’s permitted time in Britain ran out. L&H are seen being driven from the station to the Palace Hotel, Copenhagen in an open horse-drawn carriage. There they wave to the crowd from the balcony. Reportedly, the suffered from seasickness during the ferry crossing (no oil being handy for Stan to pour on troubled waters) but they certainly look recovered here as they enjoy party drinks with some Danish actors.

AMATEUR FILM - GRAND HOTEL - 28/7/1932

Produced by J.G. Ratcliffe; photography: Arthur G. Greaves; titles: Stephen Arthur. 16mm

Perhaps the best known L&H tour film ever. Somehow copies of this 1932 footage seem to have got everywhere. After leaving the Grand Hotel, Tynemouth, the Boys relocate to the veranda of the Plaza cinema, overlooking the beach. There they sign autographs, make speeches, clown for the crowd of thousands, and give charity donated presents to 600 children. Filmed silent - as were many professional newsreels of the time – some of Stan and Babe’s words are at least quoted for posterity in A.J. Marriot’s book “Laurel & Hardy –the British Tours.” A.J. also notes that Laurel was unable to get inside his old house in Dockwray Square earlier in the day, such were the size of the crowds. A moment lost both to Stan and to us forever more.

 

STAN AND OLLY - 29/7/1932 - Producer: Alan J.Harper

Another amateur cameraman takes up the story as Laurel & Hardy visit Edinburgh. Crowds at Waverley Station; the Castle; and a lengthy sequence at the Playhouse showing the cinema and its large staff, projection room and L&H on stage.

Again a very familiar film, thanks to its wide availability, usually together with the above. BBC TV’s ‘Omnibus – Cuckoo’ (1974) documentary on Laurel & Hardy used much of it to good effect. Shots of the pair backstage somehow found their way, too, into Ken Murray’s compilation of movie star footage ‘Hollywood Without Make up’ (1962), erroneously credited as “at a party in America”.

LAUREL & HARDY VISIT EDINBURGH (untitled) - 29/7/1932

Silent 35mm newsreel presumably intended for local cinema use – similar to STAN AND OLLY above.

L&H AT THE CORONATION HALL, ULVERSTON - 27/5/1947

While on tour Stan Laurel took his wife Ida and the Hardys to his birthplace. There he introduced Babe to the crowds and was presented with a copy of his birth certificate from the balcony of the Coronation Hall.

Russell Wall bought this 8mm film at auction a few years ago. As far back as 1997 Mr. Wall announced that he was preparing a documentary on L&H’s British tours to include “never before seen film footage.” To date neither this film nor the documentary have seen the light of day.

L&H IN WESTON SUPER MARE - 17/7/1947

In front of 6,000 people, Stan and Babe judge the ‘Modern Venus’ beauty competition with their wives at an open air stadium in Weston Super Mare.
Discovered by Peter Andrews of the Bristol ‘Fraternally Yours’ L&H Tent. Filmed on 9.5mm by Mr. Gold. As Mr. Gold’s camera held only one minute of film, he had to make the most of it. Every frame is therefore – pure Gold.

OPENING OF THE MEMORIAL CLUB, GLASGOW - 14/3/1952

L&H at the opening of the Stage and Screen Memorial Club. 8mm Kodachrome colour film by Colonel A.E. Pickard. Colonel Pickard was known, amongst other things, for driving a car around Glasgow complete with TV. aerial and dummy TV. inside. Hardy does a quick gag with the car. Eric Woodburn, famous for his comic monologues on stage - later Dr. Snoddie in BBC TV’s ‘Doctor Finlay’s Casebook’ - is also seen together with Harry Gordon, co-founder of the club. Laurel & Hardy were staying at the Central Hotel, Glasgow at the time.
Stan wrote a letter from there next day thanking Harry Gordon and praising the club - “a worthwhile thought and gesture which could only be conceived by a swell guy.” The letter is owned by L&H fan Jonathan Pertwee who is related to Harry Gordon.

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Hopefully new Laurel & Hardy discoveries will continue to be made. Three previously unknown newsreels have been found even while this article was being prepared. Please contact the ‘Laurel & Hardy Magazine’ if you have, or know of, any home-movie or other footage featuring L&H. There must be more out there!

PART 2:- U.S. and TV Footage.

And

The Solo material - footage with either Laurel or Hardy

 

TEXT (C) DAVE WYATT and THE LAUREL & HARDY MAGAZINE

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