May 12th 1934
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Stanley LAUREL and Oliver HARDY
The famous comedy team first began to work together in 1927. Before then they had worked separately but without conspicuous success, and when they teamed, they certainly did not anticipate the popularity they have achieved.
Laurel was born on June 16th, 1895, in Ulverston, and christened Stanley Jefferson. He adopted his present name when he ran away to become a comedian. His parents were theatrical people, but they had other plans for Stanley. The boy had some hard times to face so hard that he welcomed a job with Fred Karno's English comedians -pay three shillings a day. In 1911 Fred Karno's troupe, including Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin, the star of the show, went to America, and for almost four years toured the country. When it disbanded, Stan stayed on in variety, but seldom managed to make any money except the sum sufficient to carry him over until the next engagement. Then he went to Hollywood, where his success as a comedian was such that he took up directing. He was engaged to direct four comedies with Oliver Hardy as lead. An accident to Hardy resulted in Laurel "filling the gap." And Laurel became a comedian. Hal Roach used Laurel and Hardy in three comedies, their roles gradually increasing in importance until they were finally co-starred in "Hats Off."
Oliver Hardy entered the world some three years before his partner-on January 18th, 1892, in Atlanta, Georgia. Eighteen months later his father died, and the family finances grew so low there were four other little Hardys-that at six Oliver was selling newspapers, collecting a little extra from customers here and there by singing, for he had a fine clear tenor voice. Four years later, he had joined a minstrel troupe, and was announced as "the boys' tenor," but life was so unpleasant that he returned home.
By this time his brothers and sisters were working, so Oliver went to school, spending his holidays in variety But once more family finances got the better of him, and he left college on the stage. Failure here returned him to the films. Here he did manage to get jobs, but for the "quickie" companies, and put in much good work for many bad cheques. Finally, he was engaged for the four comedies which Laurel directed. And the firm of Laurel and Hardy was made.
They still have not forgotten the pinch of their, early days, and they live without extravagance. Fishing and his flower garden are Laurel dissipations, while golf and a well-cut suit satisfy Hardy. Laurel, by the way, is the business manager of the pair, assists in the direction and the selection of stories.
They can be seen this week in "Fraternally Yours."
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