Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy

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Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have remained, from 1927 to the present day, the screen's most famous and popular comedy double act, celebrated by legions of fans. But despite many books about their films and individual lives, there has never been a fully researched, definitive narrative biography of the duo, from birth to death.

Louvish traces the early lives of Stanley Jefferson and Norvell Hardy and the surrounding minstrel and variety theatre, which influenced all of their later work. Louvish examines the rarely seen solo films of both our heroes, prior to their serendipitous pairing in 1927, in the long-lost short "Duck Soup." The inspired casting teamed them until their last days. Both often married, they found balancing their personal and professional lives a nearly impossible feat.

Between 1927 and 1938, they were able to successfully bridge the gap between silent and sound films, which tripped up most of their prominent colleagues. Their Hal Roach and MGM films were brilliant, but their move in 1941, to Twentieth Century Fox proved disastrous, with the nine films made there ranking as some of the most embarrassing moments of cinematic history.

In spite of this, Laurel and Hardy survived as exemplars of lasting genius, and their influence is seen to this day. The clowns were elusive behind their masks, but now Simon Louvish can finally reveal their full and complex humanity, and their passionate devotion to their art. In Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy, Louvish has seamlessly woven tireless and thorough research into an authoritative biography of these two important and influential Hollywood pioneers.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Lirmac - www.librarything.com

This well-researched overview of Laurel and Hardy's career suffers from the fact that neither Stan nor Ollie led remarkable or extravagant lives. Unlike Chaplin, Keaton or Arbuckle there is neither ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - burnit99 - LibraryThing

I've read a number of biographies and filmographies of my favorite comedy team, Laurel and Hardy, by now (even named my two cats Stan and Ollie). My memory may be faulty, but it seems to me that this ... Read full review

Contents

Once Upon a Clown
3
Stanley
10
Young Stan Jefferson
11
Arthur Jefferson
20
The Road Diverges
22
Ollie War and Peace
30
Oliver Norvell Hardy as a baby
31
The Boarding House Boy 3 8
38
Multiple wife trouble for the innocent spouse
263
The Song of the Cuckoos
265
Below Zero in the Depression dumps
269
Modern transport in Hog Wild
271
Chickens Come Home
280
Delivery accomplished with Billy Gilbert and Gladys Gale
286
A Very Good Boy
290
Busy Bodies and Devils Brothers
295

What Bloody Use Are We?
49
Young Stan Jefferson he of the funny ways
58
In the Temple of the Magic Light Beams
59
WowWows in Wonderland
69
Laurel and Chaplin with the Karno troupe aboard
70
Rum Uns aRoamin
79
All Broken Out with the Movies
89
Early film antics of Babe Hardy a primal scream?
93
Vim and Vigour or Straddling the Home Plates
101
Babe in trouble again
102
The Laurel Wreath of Scipio Africanus and Other Tall Hollywood Tales
113
Just Rolin Along Commence the Hal Roach Story
119
Hal Roach with Harold Lloyd early days
121
The Larry Semon Show
128
Put em both up insect before I comb your hair with lead
140
The Lucky Dog first contact
141
The Handy Man
148
Stan and Mae Laurel
149
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
163
Hardy and Semon in The Perfect Clown with Dorothy Dwan
164
The Reluctant Suitors
177
Leo McCarey
179
PART TWO The Glory Days Tall Oaks From Little Acorns Grow
191
The Fruits of Toil
193
Laurel and Hardy with musical instruments
194
The Metamorphosis
204
Cave Stan and Ollie with maidens in Flying
211
Running Frantically through the Streets
216
Whitewash in The Second Hundred Years
217
Stan and Ollie
226
The Lot of Fun
228
Conflict resolution in Big Business with Jimmy Finlayson
234
Multiple Whoopee or Wives and Woes
239
Liberty caught with their pants down and on the high rise 2367
246
Unaccustomed As We Arent
250
Soda soda soda And what will you have Stan?
255
Genderbending in Their First Mistake
296
Modern carpentry in Busy Bodies
304
The Exhausted Rulers
306
Party time with Charley Chase in Sons of the Desert
314
Babes in Toilland
319
Mounting silliness in Babes in Toyland
323
On the trail of the lonesome mimes
327
Nice Weather We Had Tomorrow
329
Ollie without trousers
330
Bohemian Girls
338
Perils of matrimony Oliver and Myrtle Hardy 1936
346
Believe It or Not Stan and Hal Go Off the Rails
353
The LaurelHardy Matrimony Case
360
BlockHeads the walking wounded
367
Hardy Without Laurel Laurel Without Hardy
369
A Chump at Oxford Stan as Lord Paddington
379
Something wholesome something tender
382
The Fox and the Huns
394
Reborn in the Foxhole Great Guns
401
Nothing But Trouble
405
Air Raid Wardens Gone to fight the Japs
408
Nothing But Trouble two cooks with the wrong recipe
419
Any Old Port
421
Utopias and Unpromised Lands
432
Ollies last standalone in Frank Capras Riding High
433
Twilight of the Vauds
444
Going Bye Bye
456
Endpiece
461
Notes on Sources
463
Chronology
477
Filmography
481
Bibliography
501
Acknowledgements
505
Index
507
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Simon Louvish is the acclaimed author of the biographies of the Marx Brothers, Monkey Business and W. C. Fields, The Man on the Flying Trapeze. He is also the author of nine novels. He teaches at the London International Film School.

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