Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson on the 16th of June in Ulverston, Lancashire in England, 1890. His father was a vaudeville performer and this led Stan to being a stage performer too. He didn’t get much schooling and this resulted to the joining of Fred Karno’s Troupe where Stan understudied the future star, Charles Chaplin. In 1912 they went on a tour to America where Chaplin remained, but Stan went straight back to England. In 1916 he returned to the States and did an impersonation of Charlie Chaplin and the act was called “The Keystone Trio” and it was quite successful. What I find ironic is that although there is no doubt that Charlie Chaplin was a genius, his comedy dated badly. Whereas Stan Laurel’s comedy, and especially as part of the comedic duo Laurel and Hardy, it still is fresh today. It was actually quite progressive. The movie ‘Brats’ is about 2 dads staying at home, minding the children, while the wives are out for the night, this was in 1930.
He appeared with his comedy partner Oliver Hardy in 107 short films, feature films, and cameo roles. However what most people don’t realize is hat he appeared in 67 movies without Oliver Hardy, albeit it mostly short movies.
‘The Lucky Dog’ (1921) was the first film to include Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy together in a film: prior to them becoming the famous comedy duo of Laurel and Hardy. Although they appear in scenes together they play independently of each other. Stan is the star of the film and Ollie is only in a side role.
It was in 1925 that Hardy and Laurel had met again at the Hal Roach studios and at that point in time Laurel was directing movies at the studio with Hardy in the cast for a couple of years. Among these films were Yes, Yes, Nanette (1925) and Wandering Papas (1926) written & directed by Stan Laurel and starring Babe who now acted under his real name, Oliver Hardy. In 1926 they began appearing together but not yet as a team. One of the directors at the Hal Roach studio known around the world as director of such great movies The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) and Going My Way (1944), Leo McCarey joined these comic geniuses and an immediate partnership unfolded. Laurel & Hardy had appeared as funny as they could be in Putting Pants on Philip (1927) which led them to stardom. They made films for another 20 years. Laurel & Hardy are now known as one of the best comedy teams. They retired from films in 1950. In 1953 they went on tour to England and Ireland for a farewell tour. where they performed in variety halls.
In the 2018 film Stan & Ollie, Steve Coogan portrayed Laurel.
There are very few people who can make you laugh just by looking at their face, but such was the genius of Stan Laurel, his expressions were enough to get you in a burst of laughter.
Of course there was much more to his comic genius than just his face. One of my all time favourite quotes comes from the aforementioned Laurel & Hardy movie Brats. ” You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead”
A few moments before he died , on February 23,1965, he told his nurse ” I would like to go skiing” The nurse said “I didn’t know you were a skier” . he replied ” I am not, but I’d rather to that than this”.
He also had said ” If anyone cries at my funeral, I will never speak to them again” Until his last breath he remained a funny man.
At his funeral service at Church of the Hills, Buster Keaton said, “Chaplin wasn’t the funniest. I wasn’t the funniest; this man was the funniest.” He was interred in Forest Lawn–Hollywood Hills Cemetery.
Dear Sir. thank you so much for making me laugh and making me realize how important humour is, to get through life.
I wish you a very Happy Birthday
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