Edit
The Music Box (1932) Poster

(1932)

Trivia

The monumental staircase in the film still exists, in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles, between 923 and 935 Vendome Street. There are 131 steps.
26 of 26 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
This won the Oscar as "Best Short Subject" of 1932, the only such honor bestowed on a Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy film, and was also the first short to be so honored.
19 of 19 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The mansion at the top of the stairs was not really at the top of the stairs, but was a set on the Hal Roach Studios lot. The actual stairs led to a cul-de-sac.
11 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The idea for the film came to a Hal Roach comedy writer in 1927 when he passed a long flight of stairs in the Silverlake area of L.A. and thought it would be a good idea to have Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy trying to move something heavy up them.
11 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
A special police squad was on duty at the Vendome Street staircase over the course of the four-day location shoot to keep more than 3,500 onlookers and fans from interfering with the production. During their lunch breaks, Laurel & Hardy reportedly signed about 2,000 autographs.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Musician Marvin Hatley was just off camera playing the piano to simulate the automatic player piano sounds in the scene where the boys are cleaning up the house and dancing. When Billy Gilbert begins smashing the piano with an axe, Hatley played along off screen, matching the axe hits.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The crate that Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy wrestle with was empty, but the one shown sliding down the staircase really did have an upright piano in it. As it careens down the steps muffled, discordant tones can be heard.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The song on the player piano is "The King's Horses", a popular tune at the time attributed to Noel Gay and Harry Graham. It was published as a Fox-Trot. The Nazi Government in the mid to later 1930's liked this song because it portrayed weakness and toothlessness about Great Britain and their military whilst Germany was busy thinking about re-armament. "The King's Horses" was thought of as good propaganda.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Unlike the usual practice on most Laurel & Hardy pictures, this was not always shot in sequence, largely due to changing cloud conditions that made it necessary to wait for the right sun to match the lighting from one shot to the next.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
True to his practice of overseeing most aspects of all their productions, Stan Laurel worked in the cutting room around the clock as the film was being edited.
8 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Unlike now, when sound effects and background noise are usually created in post-production, recording engineers went on location to pick up authentic ambient noise.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The piano that Billy Gilbert destroys at the end of the short was made of balsa wood and spare parts from a real piano, in order to break up easily.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
According to a 1960s interview with Billy Gilbert for the Blackhawk Films catalog, the object Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy had to carry up the stairs was changed from a washing machine (in the earlier silent version, Hats Off (1927)) to a piano because a piano, whilst heavy and massive, is also delicate. Gilbert also said that several dummy pianos were made up for the film, and a number of them were completely destroyed. He used a German accent in the film to avoid confusion with James Finlayson and Edgar Kennedy, who also played comic villains in Laurel and Hardy movies.
7 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
This is reported to be a remake of one of their earlier silent films, Hats Off (1927), which is presumed lost.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Billy Gilbert claimed he was originally supposed to direct "The Music Box", but was so convincing demonstrating how The Professor should be played, he was reassigned to the role instead. Gilbert did, in fact, direct a couple of shorts for producer Hal Roach in 1933, in which he co-starred with Billy Bletcher.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
News stories at the time, possibly planted by the publicity department, said Stan Laurel nearly broke his leg when he had to fall through a second-story window carrying the piano crate and Oliver Hardy received a severe "burn" on his head in the shot where the piano rolls over him on the stairs.
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Based loosely on the Greek myth of Sisyphus.
7 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The working titles for the film were, at various times, "Top Heavy," "Words and Music," and "The Up and Up."
4 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Principal photography took place in less than two weeks during December 1931.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Although it won the award for Best Comedy Short it only got a certificate instead of an Oscar statuette as at the time these weren't given to shorts. The certificate was presented to Hal Roach, who later privately gave it to Stan Laurel.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Billy Gilbert developed an accent for his character in the movie so as to avoid confusion, he claimed, with other Laurel & Hardy foils, such as Edgar Kennedy. The accent was a mix of German, Dutch, Greek and Italian, he said, in order to avoid offending any one group.
4 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The $3.80 that Laurel and Hardy start their new business with would equate to almost $67.00 in 2016.
4 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The film was reportedly half-improvised and was made mostly as a contractual obligation between Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and Hal Roach.
3 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
More than 85 years after this short was made, the filming location remains a popular tourist attraction. The site is marked with a marble plaque and a street sign that reads "Music Box Steps."
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Much of episode 8 season 1 of Blunt Talk (2015) was filmed at the site and recreated many of the scenes in The Music Box
3 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Opening credits prologue: From 1927 to 1940, LAUREL & HARDY made marvelous short subjects and feature films at Hal Roach Studios, earning praise as the greatest comedy team ever produced by the movies or television. The world has never stopped laughing.

We are pleased to present newly restored and painstakingly preserved original versions of these comedy masterworks. Transfered to safety film from the finest surviving 35 mm elements, all are complete, most have reinstated original titles, and two even contain new footage never before released!

The KirchGroup takes pride in preserving these classics for future generations.
0 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page