Convention Update!

Candid Photos from “The Flying Deuces”

fly.jpgIn the Summer of 1939, a Nebraska college group took a field trip to Hollywood to visit the great motion picture empire of the West. One of the most memorable stops they made was at the General Studios in Hollywood, where Laurel and Hardy’s newest feature The Flying Deuces was being filmed. Student Bob Lichty had the foresight to have his camera at the ready, and snapped a few great shots of Stan and Babe – as well as one of the evil Commandant Charles Middleton. He took the opportunity to get a photo with an old friend of the boys who was visiting the set, too – former Roach employee Harold Lloyd. (more…)

Christmas Greetings

img054.jpgWe at the Wax Apple wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year. We thank you for your support of the website and hope you will be equally generous with the printed version of “The Premiere Research Journal Devoted to Laurel and Hardy and the Hal Roach All-Stars” coming your way in 2007. Your support will mean the success or failure of this endeavor.

To help spread the Christmas cheer this season, we offer up some rare photos and curios pertaining to the Christmas holiday from the ones we love best: the stars of the Hal Roach Studios. (more…)

The Studio Auction

auction-sign.jpgThe Hal Roach Studios closed its doors for good in February 1963, and soon afterward those very doors were auctioned off to the highest bidder. A four-day public auction was held on the studio lot in early August of that year. Following the auction the studios were to be demolished, so everything had to go.

While you might expect such an auction to appeal to curious fans and collectors hoping for rare movie props and file cabinets full of still photos, it’s clear from the auction catalog that professionals from the film industry were the ones being targeted. Items included all types of filmmaking equipment. Obvious items such as cameras, lights, and sound equipment were listed alongside office furniture, and equipment from the machine shop, the special effects department, and the studio cafeteria. Since all of the buildings were to be town down, even the doors, windows, and light fixtures were up for auction. The hand hewed wooden beams from Mr. Roach’s office were highlighted in one photo. (more…)

Submissions to “The Wheel” – May 1932

img768.jpgThere’s no question that producer Hal Roach knew how to make a buck. The comedians of his studios were extremely popular with the public and Roach knew that there was a great deal of advertising value in them. Of course, taking advantage of his performers’ popularity doesn’t begin to approach the use and over-use of celebrities of the current age when it comes to advertising and merchandising…but you knew that.

What you may not know is that Hal Roach would periodically take photos of his stars endorsing products of the day and then submit them to their various companies to see if there was any advertising value in them. (more…)

Will We Ever Find “Hats Off”?

hat.jpgLess than five years ago a very interesting blurb was posted on a Laurel and Hardy website’s message board. The posting made the startling declaration that the long-lost 1927 L&H film Hats Off had been discovered and was tied up in negotiations with various video companies for future release. This was not the first and I expect it will not be the last time that a rumor or claim is made that this film has been found.

Laurel and Hardy fans have had the rug pulled out from under them so many times when it comes to the discovery of this film that it seems impossible that it will ever turn up. But let me be the first to say that I will almost guarantee that Hats Off will be found in my lifetime (I can’t speak for yours). Just look at Laurel and Hardy history and see that the odds are stacked in our favor. (more…)

Music Cue Sheet: Me and My Pal

img678.jpgInvariably when one watches Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, or any other classic film made at the Hal Roach Studios, they are usually overcome with the uncontrollable urge to tap their feet along to the contagious rhythms playing in the background. Most of the songs can be attributed to Leroy Shield (although T. Marvin Hatley also contributed heavily, especially to the later pictures).

We at The Wax Apple have sought to uncover the names of (and, where relevant, the composers of) all of the Laurel and Hardy film scores. (more…)

Tiny Sandford: Bigger Than We Thought

doublewhoopee.jpgStanley “Tiny” Sandford provided Laurel and Hardy with one of their most menacing adversaries by sheer virtue of his incredible girth. Often we see him portraying an officer of the law – or least someone laying it down for Stan and Ollie. Filmographies generally agree that Tiny appeared in 23 films with the boys, so we can assume that this number is correct, right? In the immortal words of Stan Laurel, “uh-uh.” (more…)

Viola Richard: Where Did She Went?

viola-in-should.jpgViola Richard has been one of the most asked-about and frequently misinformed-about co-stars in the entire Laurel and Hardy repertoire. With a face and physique like Viola’s, it’s easy to see why. She understandably fluttered the hearts of fans everywhere with her appearances alongside the boys in six of their silent films: Why Girls Love Sailors, Sailors Beware, Do Detectives Think?, Flying Elephants, Leave ‘Em Laughing, and Should Married Men Go Home? She is also featured most notably in the 1928 Charley Chase silent Limousine Love.

But outside of her film appearances in 1927 and 1928 at the Hal Roach Studios, Viola seemed to have all-but-vanished into thin air. Why would this actress destined to break the hearts of many young men in film fandom drop completely out of sight after such an auspicious career beginning? It is my distinct privilege to bring you the up-until-now unknown facts about one of the fairest of them all. (more…)

Jean Meets Edith

jeanparker.jpgThe stunning Jean Parker, best known to Laurel & Hardy buffs as the lovely Georgette, the object of Oliver Hardy’s affection in The Flying Deuces, passed away on November 30, 2005. Jean had an illustrious Hollywood career starring in over seventy-five films. She also worked in Zenobia, Hal Roach’s 1939 attempt to team Oliver Hardy with Harry Langdon during a contract dispute with Stan Laurel.

Among Jean’s films, she co-starred in three with Our Gang star Edith Fellows, most notably in Life Begins with Love in 1937. Here is a photo of the two starlets together: (more…)

The Liberty Alley

Liberty AlleyThere once was an alley in Culver City made famous as the location where two guys were caught with their pants down. If you’re reading this because Google erroneously brought you to this site, you may be intrigued by that statement. But if you’re a Laurel & Hardy fan, you know that I am referring to a scene from the film Liberty in which the boys, as escaped convicts, attempt to exchange their plain clothes for their prison uniforms. In their haste, the boys mix up the pants and wind up wearing one another’s trousers. While searching for a secluded place to exchange pants, they duck down an unassuming alleyway. (more…)

“Out Please!”

Karl SloverTypical of all Sons of the Desert Conventions thus far is that they have all been held in hotels with elevators. This has left ample opportunity to bellow out yet another ridiculous line of dialogue from the films of our favorite funnymen. From the back of a crowded elevator, we will often hear in a baritone voice, “Out Please!” A worthy trivia question to follow might be: who played the midget who spoke this line in Block-Heads? Most likely, even from the most skilled contestant, the response will be: Harry Earles. But now we know – ’tisn’t so.

When the exhaustive filmography was compiled in the McCabe-Kilgore-Bann Laurel and Hardy bible, many faces were matched with names by using an illustrated casting directory. Harry Earles, as it turns out, was the spitting image of another midget performer named Karl “Karchy” Kosicsky. (more…)

Another What Mess?

pdvd_045.jpgLaurel and Hardy buffs often take great pride in correcting anyone who incorrectly quotes Oliver Hardy as saying “Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.” But is this line really incorrect? The actual line is, of course, “Here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.”

We all know that there is indeed a Laurel and Hardy film titled Another Fine Mess, and it most certainly paved the way for the oft quoted inaccuracy. But was there ever a time when Ollie actually said “another fine mess”? Was this line ever actually heard in one or more of their 106 films?

Well, yes…and yes. (more…)

The Music Box Landings

Music Box StepsEvery Laurel and Hardy fan that visits Los Angeles wants to climb to the top of the Music Box Steps. They aren’t the best-preserved filming location, but they’re probably the most memorable and instantly recognizable single location used in any of the boys’ films, mostly because they were so integral to the film’s plot. (more…)

L&H Loved “This Is Your Life” – Pt. 2

These letters were recently revealed on the DVD release of This Is Your Life. Although commonly accepted that the boys (especially Stan) did not enjoy the experience of the show, these letters indicate otherwise. If Laurel and Hardy were less than thrilled about appearing on the program, the notes penned to host Ralph Edwards afterward indicate their immaculate professionalism. (more…)