- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
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.