Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society

A web log for the Resolven History Society which publishes articles and stories related to Resolven and the immediate surroundings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November meeting: Laurel and Hardy

Laurel and Hardy come to Resolfen

This month’s meeting was rather unusual in that it featured an archive cine show. Mr Mal Brake has visted the Society in the past with his collection of early cine films which mostly concentrated on aspects of industrial life in Wales. However, this year Mr Brake chose as his subject the films of Laurel and Hardy.

Before showing over an hour of “shorts” , Mr Brake gave a short talk on the career of Laurel and Hardy ( real name Norvelle)and noted that their most succesful period was in the thirties under the directorship of Hal Roach. Both had British heritage, with Stan Laurel ( real name Stanley Arthur Jefferson) being born in England.They started their partnership in an age of silence, however the “talkie” era also suited them because their voices were conducive to that medium. Mr Brake also noted that their gentle humour also largely revolved around water, usually culminating in one or the other disappearing into a disguised puddle. Oliver Hardy’s fine southern tenor voice was also an asset in such movies as “Way Out West” and the “Tale of the Lonesome Pine”, which was a British Number Two hit in the UK many years later.

Following a largely fallow period in the forties and fifties interest in the pair was revived by the advent of television in both the USA and UK where their films were for a time permanent fixtures on our screens. They were even featured on the first edition of “This Is Your Life” in the USA. Following a stroke in 1957,Oliver Hardy ( Oliver was his stage name after his father) died at the age of 65 . Stan Laurel refused to work with anyone else following the death of Hardy and died in 1965 at the age of 75.

The laughter from the large audience was reminiscent of a matinee performance of forty years ago.

Mr Gwyn Thomas thanked Mr Brake for a truly marvellous evening.