Letter from Stan Laurel to Victor Pemberton

Victor Pemberton Esq.

Dear Mr. Pemberton-
    It will be our pleasure to meet the children on Wednesday evening.
    Our regards & best wishes.
Stan Laurel Signature                 LAUREL & HARDY

Victor Pemberton Added

In the 1950’s Stan and Ollie came to Britain to tour the Music Halls. When I read in the newspapers that they were going to play for one week at my local Music Hall—the Finsbury Park Empire—I wrote to them c/o the theatre to ask them if I might bring two children of friends of mine to get their autographs after the show. To my astonishment, I got a handwritten letter back from Stan in which he said that it would be their pleasure to meet me and the kids.
    It was a foul, cold, foggy night when the kids and I took our seat for the first 6:15 performance of Stan and Ollie in a sketch taken from one of their famous comedy films, “General Hospital.” When it was over, we made our way to the stage door, where we were shown straight into Stan’s dressing room, where we were warmly greeted by not only the two comedians themselves, but also their wives. And guess what? On a small trestle table in the tiny, freezing cold dressing-room, the wives had set out sandwiches, cakes, and bottles of lemonade for me and the kids. After that, we sat and talked with Stan and Ollie until it was almost time for them to go on stage for the second house of their twice nightly show.
    My memories of that extraordinary meeting have always lingered in my mind. Stan, with his wisp of remaining grey hair dyed ginger, pale-faced from his recent illness, warming his hands in front of a two bar electric fire, and Ollie grinning incessantly at the kids like a proud granddad. Needless to say, when I left the theatre that night, I wasn’t even aware how cold or foggy it was outside. My association with Laurel & Hardy did not stop there. When Stan got back to his home in Malibu, California, we continued writing each other regularly.


My Dear Trixie [Wyatt],
    Just a line dear to let you know - we are going to play the Empire Sunderland - week of Feb.22nd. so looking forward to seeing you once more - we shall of course be staying at the Station Hotel in Newcastle.
    Weather here is very cold - can imagine how it is your way. All news when we see you Trixie - Eda joins in love & best - Trust you are well & happy.
                Kind thoughts always.
Stan Signature


My Dear Booth [Colman]-
    Thanks for your welcome letter 2nd.inst. Yes, having a real cold spell - the last couple of weeks in London was really bad & of course hit the Theatres all over none of the houses had shocking Bus. The coldest in many years, a bit warmer down here thank goodness - & reasonable bus. for winter in a summer resort. Just getting over another lousey cold & the ear dept. again. Nothing further on the Roach deal - frankly am not too interested one way or the other.
    Interesting to hear re you're rehearsing in he Shaw play - where in the hell did Shaw get that name for the Priest - "De Stogumber"? To get into character, you'll have to start smoking stogies - maybe to get the Godammed Part! Kidding aside - you are very wise to do these things Booth - you have nothing to lose & everything to gain by it - esepcially the greatest thing of all - Experience - That you can't buy! Let me know when you are opening at the Las Palmas.
    Had a letter from Lois - tells me Rand is directing a mystery comedy play at the Barn Theatre in Santa Monica - opens Feb. 18th. if you get a chance - try & see it - would like to know how it was etc. Frankly am wondering if Rand has any possibilities in the direction line, especially Theatre. It should be interesting to see - understand the cast is part Pros. & amateurs.
    All for now Booth - trust alls well & happy & you will soon be on the active list. Eda sends love & thanks for calling Helen.
    Bye & God Bless-
                As ever-
Stan Signature

Note from the Editor

Saint Joan is a play by George Bernard Shaw based on the life and trial of Joan of Arc. The character John de Stogumber is The Earl of Warwick's chaplain.


                22 FEB 54






                Empire - Sunderland

My Dear Booth [Colman]-
    Thanks your welcome letter of the 18th.inst. Needless to tell you how very delighted we were over your success in "Saint Joan" & the possibility of a run at the "Biltmore." That's wonderful Booth - my heartiest congratulations - enjoyed reading the Press & no doubt you have done a swell job - feel very proud of you, & hope it will prove a great help toward being in demand in either Hollywood - New York or London.
    Bus. here is not too good - seems to be a slump all over the Country - however, one of those things that we get once in while, we go to Glasgow next (March 1st) then to Hippo. Wolverhampton, Empire Sheffield, Empire York, Palace Grimsby, Empire Leeds & Empire Edinburgh. This may be the finish of our tour here & its possible we may return home after that, we can stay here till Sept. but Delfont wants us to reduce our centage & guarantee - which of course is not agreeable to us. He is not losing any money with us, but he is not making as much as he was before, so he wants us to cut so he can make more - (the old story - these guys are not satisfied to make a little profit - they want the lot!)
    We are expecting Shipman over - so things may get straightened out, but frankly - I wouldn't mind coming home for a rest - the trip has been a bit hard on me & I don't feel like knocking myself out for the sake of a few extra weeks work.
    Weather here is fairly milk for this section of the Country - usually very bad this time of year. Eda wants to add a few lines so will close.
    Bye Booth - good luck & continued success.
                Love & best always-
Stan Signature

Ida Laurel Added

My dear, dear Booth! Just a few lines to congratulate you with your success in “Saint Joan.” The Press notices are very good. We are very happy about it. Well, we are struggling along. Wish I could write you more, but with my English—impossible. So you have to wait when we will come home, so I will do all the talking. I am full of worries about Mark, God knows what will be with him. He is now under Dr. Stearn’s care—hope he will help him. Even Dr. Stearns can’t believe that Mark has heart trouble. For me was terrible shock. We have to hope for the best. I am wondering if you did have chance to see Mark, but seems to me he not approve to have any visitors. Can imagine how I feel—he is only one left from the big family. I adore Mark, he is a wonderful boy—why should happened to him such a terrible thing? Have to close now, hurry to get ready to leave for the Show. Did not miss one yet. Luck & love! Ida.

Stan Watermark