"This Is Your Life: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy" was a touching tribute to two great movie comics' lives
Just rewatched "This Is Your Life: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy" on Daily Motion as linked from Google Video. As always, host Ralph Edwards surprises somebody when he introduces who the night's guest would be and this time it turned out to be the two funsters who were sitting in a hotel room with their wives and the two men who set them up: lawyer/manager Ben Shipman and their stage producer from England, Bernard Delfont. After commercial, Edwards has to do some ad-libbing because the boys are delayed (whether it was a stuck door or Laurel's reluctance is left in the air even today) but come they do. Among the guests: Stan's childhood friend Roland Park who tells of how Laurel's actor father found out about his ambitions, Althea Miller-Ollie's childhood girlfriend who tells of when Hardy saved someone from drowning, Frank Fouce-Stan's assistant director on Mud and Sand-a spoof of Valentino's Blood and Sand-who tells of how Stan almost got killed by a bull, Margaret Connor Arata-Hardy's friend at then film city Jacksonville, Fla. (where I once lived)-who tells of Babe (Ollie's nickname there) fooling his Mason friends by not revealing his drunkenness was just for a movie, Warren Doane-General Manager at Hal Roach studios-who tells about Hardy's accident on Liberty, Leo McCarey-their supervisor/director who recounts the lamb story known to any L & H fan and gives them their hats which the boys give to each other depriving us the "Wrong Hats" routine!, and Vivian Blaine-their co-star on Jitterbugs and filming Guys and Dolls at the time-recounting the church bells playing "The Cuckoo Song" (a.k.a. "Dance of the Cukoos") during one of their tours in England. During much of this, perhaps because of the delays, neither Laurel nor Hardy said much but they both seemed heartfelt when seeing their old friends. As the show wound down, Ollie's wife Lucille and Stan's wife Ida along with his daughter Lois came down and then Edwards announced that the pool at the Roach studio was going to be named Lake Laurel and Hardy and just like that, Hal Roach Jr. comes on to congratulate the boys! Before saying goodbye, the host tells Stan and Ollie their gifts are jewelry from sponsor Hazel Biship for their wives and a film of this episode with Bell & Howell projector. With that, the show ends...With this being a live show, Ralph Edwards seemed a bit uncomfortable when he realized his two guests of honor weren't going to show up on time so he seemed to have rushed some of the other guests. Still, this seemed like a nice way to show appreciation to two of the greatest movie comics ever and to meet them as they really were. So on that note, I'd recommend this episode of "This Is Your Life" to any L & H fan.
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