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BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW THIS... 

  • If it wasn't for an accident Oliver suffered cooking a leg of lamb, Stan Laurel would never have been coaxed into taking over his role in a forthcoming film. Stan Laurel might have continued contentedly as a writer and director and Leo McCarey would not have noticed the comedy chemistry which resulted from the chance pairings of Stan and Babe in those early Hal Roach comedies.

  • By the time they produced their first true Laurel & Hardy film, Ollie was already thirty-five and Stanley was thirty-seven.

  • According to Movie Mirror (1933), Oliver Hardy bought the rights to their famous signature tune, Cuckoo, from the composer Marvin Hatley for $25. "I thought it was funny" said Stan.

  • Hardy's most famous catchphrase is often misquoted, "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten us into." The incorrect "another fine mess" comes from the name of one of their short films, made in 1930.

  • Stan's daughter, Lois, was set to play the role of the orphan girl in Pack Up Your Troubles. By the time of filming, it was determined that Lois looked too old for the role. When Lois was younger she used to dislike Ollie as he always seemed to bully her Dad in their films, and persuaded Stan to incorporate a 'revenge' scene at the end of One Good Turn, where Stan finally beats the hell out of Ollie.

  • Jerry Lewis once offered Stan $100,000 to write for him on a part-time basis. Stan declined the offer.

  • Ollie's favorite pastime was golf. Among his frequent golfing partners were Bing Crosby, W.C. Fields, Babe Ruth and Chico Marx. Stan's favourite pastime was fishing, especially salmon fishing in northern California. As his daughter Lois put it, "He loved it when the fish would put up a bit of a fight with him."

  • In addition to fishing, Stan's other interests included raising ducks and hydroponic gardening (a process in which plants are grown in chemical solutions rather than soil). He once successfully cross-bred a potato and an onion, but couldn't get anyone to sample the results.

  • Stan was married four times. His marriage to actress Lois Neilson (1926-1934) produced a daughter, Lois Jr., in 1927. Stan's first wife was also his agent who handled all of his business dealings with Hal Roach. His stormiest marriage to Illiana Shuvalova, a Russian opera singer, lasted only a year.

  • Oliver was married three times. His final marriage was with Lucille Jones, a script girl that he had met during the filming of The Flying Deuces. It lasted from 1940 until Babe's death in 1957.

  • Most fans know that the team's 1932 short The Music Box was honoured with an Academy Award for Best Short Subject. What some don't know is that 1935's Tit for Tat also received a nomination in the same category. But it lost. Ah well...

  • The original preview prints of The Bohemian Girl featured an actress called Thelma Todd in the prominent role of the Gypsy Queen. After Thelma's mysterious death in December 1935, her scenes were scrapped and new footage was shot.

  • A monkey plays the role of Mickey Mouse in Babes in Toyland, one of the few times you're likely to see an appearance by a Disney character in a non-Disney film. Walt Disney himself was a Laurel and Hardy fan, as well as a close friend to Hal Roach.

  • Stan was instrumental in the career of the young Marcel Marceau. After seeing Marceau perform in Paris in 1950, Stan's praised him as an unsung genius and helped Marceau gain attention in the French press.

  • Hardy played the Tin Man in a 1925 silent version of The Wizard of Oz.

  • 'Name' actors who appeared in Laurel and Hardy films: Jean Harlow, Robert Mitchum, Alan Hale Sr., Sidney Toler, Peter Cushing, Elisha Cook, Jr., Vivian Blaine, Margaret Dumont and Jean Parker.

  • Blake Edwards, known for his PINK PANTHER films with Peter Sellers, dedicated his 1965 film The Great Race to "Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy", while Kurt Vonnegut dedicated his novel Slapstick to "Arthur Stanley Jefferson and Norvell Hardy, two angels of my time." That's nice.

Some of these facts were provided by Laurel and Hardy Central (Hard Boiled Eggs and Nuts). Many thanks to them.

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