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Laurel & Hardy

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 22, 2004

    The archetype of the comic duo, thin, fussy featherbrained Englishman Stan Laurel (1890-1965) and chubby, dignified, and often exasperated Oliver Hardy (1892-1957) made a long string of highly successful films for Hal Roach and MGM over a number of years. The duo was famous for a number of classic routines, including a small insult that would usually escalate into a furious, all-out conflict.

    Of course, caricatures of the two comics would have been instantly recognizable, and thus were often used. See, for example The Organ Grinder (Harman/Ising, 1933), in which the monkey does imitations of both characters. In You Ought to be In Pictures (Freleng, 1940), Porky sneaks by a studio gate cop disguised as Hardy. Hollywood Canine Canteen (McKimson, 1946) shows the duo as dogs washing dishes -- more accurately, one dish. Holiday for Shoestrings (Freleng, 1945) utilizes the pair as elves, with Laurel painting the tongue of an exasperated Hardy. Porky does a Hardy finger twiddle to go with a semi-caricature in The Timid Toredor (Clampett/McCabe, 1940). Even Private Snafu does a Laurel turn in Fighting Tools (Clampett, 1943).

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• The Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion is © (copyright) 1996 E. O. Costello. All rights reserved.

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