Doubling the Fun With New Laurel and Hardy Movie

by Neil Bamforth

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly star in a movie released in Blighty today or tomorrow.

The movie about the remarkable and much loved Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Arguably the most loved ‘double act’ in the history of ‘double acts’.

Of course, everybody will have their favorites but, I strongly suspect, Laurel and Hardy will be high on most peoples list even if they aren’t at the top.

I am very much looking forward to going to see it.

As I write it dawns on me that we in Britain seem to have a particular liking for double acts. Mostly British ones though, it has to be said.

I have no idea whether ‘double acts’ are popular in America. The only ones I can name without any real thought are Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis along with Rowan and Martin. There must be more but, perhaps, they didn’t ‘travel well’ this side of the pond.

Still, it’s a two way street. I don’t think many British ‘double acts’ have ‘traveled well’ over in America either.

Eric Morcambe and Ernie Wise did quite well in the USA in the early 1960’s – Ernie wanted to relocate there and build on their success but, the story goes, Eric was more of a homebody and didn’t fancy it.

Actually, Morcambe and Wise are probably the most loved ‘double act’ in, specifically, Blighty. There have been others who have done very well, along with others who, well, didn’t.

The Two Ronnies (Barker and Corbett) were popular as were, to a lesser degree, (Tommy) Cannon and (Bobby) Ball.

One double act that never really worked in terms of longevity though was Mike and Bernie Winters. On one occasion the ‘straight man’, Mike, was warming up the audience with little success. His brother and partner Bernie then stuck his head through the stage curtain and pulled a funny face. Something that he pretty much built his career on. A member of the distinctly unimpressed audience then shouted “Oh God! There’s two of them!”

Mike eventually, more or less, vanished from ‘show business’, or at least from the public eye. Bernie went on to build a sometimes slightly odd, but very successful career, often with a large St Bernard dog called Schnorbitz.

It has to be said though, that the double act that literally conquered pretty much every English speaking nation along with quite a few non-English speaking nations were Laurel and Hardy.

Given that Stan was English and Ollie American, perhaps that helped? The best of both worlds so to speak.

Anyway, off to the movies soon to see how well Coogan and Reilly play Laurel and Hardy. I’m hearing they are bloody good so let’s hope so!

I lived in Stan Laurels birthplace, Ulverston in Britain’s Cumbrian Lake District, for a short while just before moving south to London. There is a small blue plaque on the cottage he was born in.

Remarkable really. A modest, if quaint birthplace for a man who grew to be one half of, perhaps, the most loved double acts in the history of double acts.

Are you whistling their theme tune yet? Or maybe you are bursting into song? “In the blue ridge mountains of Virginia, on the trail of the lonesome pine” – Published in 1913, sung by them in 1937 in their film ‘Way Out West’ and, incredibly, number two in the British music singles charts in 1975. Perhaps their performance was lip synced but who cares.

The magic of Laurel and Hardy will live on in perpetuity.

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Posted by on January 10, 2019. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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20 Responses to Doubling the Fun With New Laurel and Hardy Movie

  1. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    January 10, 2019 at 11:10 am

    They were a staple in the early days of TV and I grew up on them. if it plays around here I will see it, but there are still so many originals available

  2. Michael John Scott Reply

    January 10, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    I’m a big fan of L&H, and will definitely see the movie.

  3. jess Reply

    January 10, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Big fan here plan on seeing this movie.

  4. Neil Bamforth Reply

    January 11, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Just dug out an old VHS of ‘Way Out West’, spent an hour trying to remember how the bloody player works before realizing plugging it in helps a bit!

    Laughed til my sides ached.

  5. Bill Formby Reply

    January 11, 2019 at 10:28 am

    I have always been a big fan of theirs but my favorite has been Abbot and Costello.

    • jess Reply

      January 11, 2019 at 11:11 am

      My biggest favorite is Shirley Temple Bill. DO NOT JUDGE ME you fuckers, I’ll cut a bitch πŸ™‚

      • Michael John Scott Reply

        January 11, 2019 at 5:18 pm

        Shirley Temple? LO…LO…See, I didn’t do a complete laugh. She was a talented little thing for sure πŸ™‚

        • jess Reply

          January 11, 2019 at 6:28 pm

          I get it from friends all the time and I accept the ridicule gladly because I am okay with my Shirley love you uncultured people you.

      • Bill Formby Reply

        January 13, 2019 at 2:38 pm

        Not I Jess. She was cute as a button and hugely talented.

  6. Neil Bamforth Reply

    January 11, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚Shirley Temple????πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚…er…sorry…

  7. Neil Bamforth Reply

    January 11, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Abbott and Costello! Of course. Forgot them. Very good too!

  8. Neil Bamforth Reply

    January 11, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Shirley Temple quiz Jess…no cheating on Google…what movie did she star in with David Niven? (My fave actor)

    • jess Reply

      January 11, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      Cannot do it without cheating for the name but I do remember she went round telling everyone he was her boyfriend in it, so she could make her bf jelly.

  9. Neil Bamforth Reply

    January 11, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    A Kiss For Corliss…Goldwyn loaned Niven as a punishment…Wow! Shirley Temple??? Hell of a punishment πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚….sorry….😜

  10. Neil Bamforth Reply

    January 11, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    I admit to being a Niven anorak…or Nivenophile 😜

    Ask me absolutely anything about David Niven and I’ll know…and if I don’t I won’t Google cheat on principal…I’ll admit you’ve beaten me.

    I will also be amazed you have!!

    He claimed to have appeared in several western as an extra riding with his Sandhurst forward seat along with being an extra in a De Mille Egyptian epic…and yes…I’ve forgotten it’s name…Cleopatra? Anyway, his first credited appearance was in Without Regret – a vehicle for the long forgotten Elisa Landri(?).

    I’ll shut up now…

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      January 11, 2019 at 5:17 pm

      Huge Niven fan here. Was a brilliant actor.

    • jess Reply

      January 11, 2019 at 6:33 pm

      I liked him in the Pink Panther movies and a few others I cannot remember the names of off the top of my head but I can remember the plots of them. Mom was a fan of his, it’s how I came to love the Wuthering Heights with Olivier because mom would watch it all the time and would go on and on incessantly about all the actors in it and other movies they had all done.

      • Michael John Scott Reply

        January 12, 2019 at 11:47 am

        Oh man yes! I loved him in the Pink Panther movies, then again I loved the Pink Panther movies πŸ™‚ Is this your dog?

  11. Neil Bamforth Reply

    January 12, 2019 at 7:13 am

    Edgar in Wuthering Heights – or Withering Heights as Goldwyn called it – is a genuinely tough role. Niven was excellent in it.

    Ah! Just remembered! Elisa Landi not Landri!

    If you haven’t seen them I would recommend ‘Seperate Tables’ (his Oscar performance), Carrington VC (Court Martial in the States), The Moon Is Blue and, sentimentally, Menage a Trois (also called These Three) which was his last real performance before motor neurone made it impossible.

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