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Trivia / Laurel and Hardy

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  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Ollie's catchphrase was "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!", which is generally remembered as "Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten me into, Stanley!"
  • The Cast Showoff: Ollie had quite a set of pipes. (For those who don't know what that means, it means that he sings really well.) Plus, both the boys frequently got to show off their dancing, especially in Way Out West.
  • Creator Backlash: Laurel and Hardy (particularly Laurel) later gave negative comments towards their 1940s films for 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This was largely due to the duo being given little creative freedom on those movies.
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    • Interestingly, more recent research reveals that Laurel partially directed at least one of the films. What's more, Hardy included one of the duo's Fox films, Jitterbugs (1943) on his 'Top 5 Favorite Films' list.
    • Stan Laurel later called the production of Atoll K, the team's final film, "an abortion." Production was so chaotic that an entire book was recently written on it.
    • Producer Hal Roach disliked Babes in Toyland (1934). Apparently, this stemmed from creative differences between Roach and Laurel.
  • The Danza: Laurel and Hardy occasionally played other characters, particularly early in their partnership, but are best remembered for their many shorts and feature-length entries as the characters "Mr. Stanley Laurel" and "Mr. Oliver Hardy" or "Stan" and "Ollie".
    • The early short Putting Pants on Phillip is maybe the best known "alternate" interpretation of the duo, featuring Stan as a young Scotsman determined to keep his kilt on despite his uncle's (Hardy) attempts at... well, see the title.
    • A number of the minor characters are also named after their actors — Officer Kennedy in Night Owls is played by Edgar Kennedy, Mr Finlayson in One Good Turn by James Finlayson, and so on.
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  • Dyeing for Your Art: There was a real piano inside the packing case during the filming of The Music Box, as Stan Laurel felt it was necessary to convey the correct weight-however, this was only when it was sliding down the stairs. The packing case was empty when the duo had to carry it up the stairs, but it was still quite heavy, so Stan and Ollie are actually struggling with the case as they carry it up.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Ollie's Aside Glances were often left for the last shot of the day. If he looks genuinely harried and frustrated, it's because he'd just been shooting for six straight hours and didn't want to miss his tee time at the golf course.
  • Executive Meddling: When their (separate) contracts with Hal Roach expired, the boys decided to work at Fox Studios as a contractual team instead. Big mistake. The studio made many big changes that according to most fans, sent the duo's career into the decline and ended with the disastrous Atoll K.
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  • Fan Nickname: "The Boys" is a collective nickname for the duo.
  • Fake American: In real life, Stan Laurel was born in Lancashire, England.
  • Franchise Zombie: Larry Harmon's attempts to make more Laurel and Hardy-related material after the duo's death. He succeeded somewhat with the 1960s Hanna-Barbera series, but flopped spectacularly with the 1999 film The All-New Adventures of Laurel and Hardy: For Love or Mummy.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Stan and Ollie were masters of improvised comedy. They rarely rehearsed a scene because they wanted to capture the "magic" on film. Once when a guest star asked if they were going to rehearse, Stan Laurel shot back, "Do you want to spoil it?"
  • Missing Episode: Several of their silent films are partially or completely lost. Also, some of their sound shorts only survive in reissue prints that were altered from the originals in some way or another. One example is Hats Off, which was their most successful silent short and reportedly cemented them as an awesome comedy duo, but has been missing for many years.
  • Newbie Boom: This still continues today as more and more people discover their films and enjoy them. The forum frequently has people arriving every day!
  • Orphaned Reference: The short Twice Two has one of the wives mention a "surprise" for Ollie. We never learn what this surprise was in the film. According to the notes on the Laurel & Hardy Essential Collection DVD set, the script states the surprise as being a 16mm home movies projector. Back in 1933, such a device would have cost a lot of money!
  • Recycled Script: Occasionally. The Music Box, for instance, was a remake of their most successful silent short, Hats Off.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The films being made and set in The Roaring '20s and The Great Depression some 90 to 80 years ago naturally come off as this.
    • From Sugar Daddies, amusement parks used to have rides where people were rolled around in spinning cylinders with no seatbelts or seats, which must have caused loads of injuries, leading to their discontinuation.
      • No, there were very few injuries. Centrifugal force kept the riders against the walls. The rides fell out of favor because newer/bigger/faster/more awesomely thrilling rides diminished their appeal.
    • From Putting Pants on Phillip, pants were not often mass-produced in assorted standard sizes, so men had to often go the nearest tailor for a custom fitting.
    • Laughing gas was commonly used by dentists.
    • Men slept in nightshirts a lot more frequently than today.
    • To start a Ford Model T, a crank needed to be turned, like a clockwork robot toy.
    • 78 RPM records were fragile and broke easily, as seen in Liberty.
    • It was necessary to strike a match in order to turn on a stove, as seen in Unaccustomed As We Are.
      • And the matches themselves tended to be the "strike anywhere" type that could be lit on, say, the back of one's pants.
    • Saps at Sea shows an early electric hearing aid in 1940.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Babes in Toyland was initially conceived as a Roach "all-star" comedy, featuring the likes of Charley Chase, Patsy Kelly, and Spanky McFarland. Stan would have played "Simple Simon," while Ollie would have played "the pie man."
    • In 1938, Stan and the L&H staff writers began working on a story which had the team in a swashbuckling adventure on Devil's Island. Stan's then wife Illiana would have played the feminine lead. The idea was nixed after the writers had too much difficulty in completing the story.
    • During the 1940s, Laurel and Hardy wanted to star in a film adaptation of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
    • In 1942, Boson Blackie writer Paul Yawitz was hired by 20th Century Fox to submit a story for a Laurel and Hardy film. Me and My Shadow would have found the duo running around an amusement park, trying to save a baby from a couple of Nazi spies.
    • Around the same time Me and My Shadow was written, Chuck Roberts and Eugene Ling proposed another story for a Laurel and Hardy Fox film. It too would have found the team against Nazis, this time in a sanitarium in Switzerland.
    • Yet another L&H story proposed to Fox was a film adaptation of stage play By Jupiter. The film would have taken place in ancient Greece, where the population is entirely dominated by Hippolyta (a role intended for Martha Raye) and her female warriors. Stan and Ollie would have played the easily bullied Theseus and Hercules, who unsuccessfully attempt to steal Hippolyta's power.
    • Congratulations, another proposed L&H-Martha Raye vehicle would have found Stan running for governor.
    • Two proposed radio series: The Laurel and Hardy Show (which did result in a pilot episode being recorded) and Laurel & Hardy Go to the Moon.
    • An autobiography on the team, partially written by Laurel and partially written by Hardy.
    • Following the death of comedian Edgar Kennedy, RKO Pictures considered starring Oliver Hardy in The Average Man series of short comedies.
    • While on a trip in England, there was talk of starring the duo in a film adaptation of Robin Hood.
    • RKO Pictures wanted the duo to appear as the comic relief in the 1951 Technicolor musical Two Tickets to Broadway. However, the team was stuck in Paris filming Atoll K, which ultimately continued production months over schedule. RKO hired vaudevillians Joe Smith and Charley Dale as replacements.
    • In 1956, the team was in negotiations with Hal Roach to star in a series of technicolor television specials collectively titled Laurel and Hardy's Fabulous Fables. Each episode would have featured the duo in a retelling of a popular fairy tale, the first of which was to be Babes in the Woods. Stan Laurel suffered a stroke shortly before production was to begin, putting the series on hold. Oliver Hardy's death a year later prevented the series from being made.
    • Billy Wilder planned on making a film with the duo that saw them sleeping in the two Os in the Hollywood sign. This was scrapped when Oliver Hardy died.
    • Stan Laurel turned down a cameo in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, having sworn to never work again without Hardy. The role was instead played by Jack Benny, who wears Laurel's iconic bowler hat due to a long shot of the character having already been filmed before he turned it down.

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