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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Laurel & Hardy & Japan

Without a doubt I am showing my age, as I doubt there are many under the age of 40 who have taken the time to watch a black and white comedy done by the fantastic duo of Laurel and Hardy, but what the heck... the image above shows a movie poster of the boys and something to do with Japan.

Released in 1944 - at the height of WWII, Stan Laurel (the skinny guy - 1890-1965) and Oliver Hardy (1892-1957) star in the movie The Big Noise.

Laurel, and English guy and Hardy the rough and tumble American were two of the biggest comedy stars of the late 1920s and 1930s...

The duo starred in 32 comedy short SILENT films; 40 short TALKIES films, and 23 full-length FEATURE films.

That's a lot of work!

Stan Laurel (June 16, 1890 – February 23, 1965)was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Ulverston, Lancashire, England.

Oliver Hardy (January 18, 1892 – August 7, 1957) was born Norvell Hardy in Harlem, Georgia, U.S. of A.

Here's the plot of The Big Noise (taken from Wikipedia):

While cleaning the office of a detective agency, janitors Laurel and Hardy answer a telephone call from an inventor who claims to have created a destructive bomb he calls "The Big Noise." Posing as detectives, the duo move into the inventor's home, where they must contend with his eccentric behavior, oddball widowed aunt (who takes a fancy to Hardy) and his misbehaving nephew. The inventor's neighbors are crooks who are eager to steal the new bomb.
Laurel and Hardy hide the bomb in a concertina and steal an airplane to bring it to Washington. However, the airplane is a remote control target used by the U.S. Army for gunnery training. Laurel and Hardy barely escape by parachuting to safety over the Pacific Ocean, and they dispose of the bomb by dropping it on a Japanese submarine.

I admit it isn't one of the boy's best, but I'm always looking for that Japanese hook.

Quoted in the 1978 book by the authors Harry Medved and Randy Dreyfuss called The Fifty Worst Films of All Time, Laurel told an interviewer during the movie's production that they tried to do their patriotic duty by conserving materials during the shoot: 

"We cut out automobile chases and food wasting-gags when the war first started, and with The Big Noise we decided to slash every gag that might conceivably have bearing on wartime wastages and destruction," explains Laurel.

They also tried to conserve materials by using some already tried and true routines, but whatever.

Some of the funniest shorts are: Block-Heads (1938), Sons of the Desert (1933 - a movie and their best), County Hospital (1932), Helpmates (1932) and The Music Box (1932).

Check'em out if you can!

And for some laughs:

Laurel and Hardy are also very well known for their them music called the Dance of the Cuckoos, which you can listen to here:

 Ahhh... good stuff.

Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into,
Andrew Joseph
PS: More Japanese... okay... that catchphrase I used to sign-off was usually uttered by an exasperated Hardy over something silly Laurel had done (who would then start crying and scratching his head).
The line was first used in the play The Mikado, back in 1885. The Mikado is one of the most oft-acted stage plays in the history of the world, and is, of course, a Gilbert and Sullivan created play about Japan.

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