STAN LAUREL LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN EXCERPT
My Dear Ben [Shipman]:
Thanks yours, 4th.inst. with enclosure of cheque.
Note the roof of the house will be a pastel Green color - am not too particular what color, as the house badly needs a paint job, so we can choose an appropriate color to blend with the roof.
Note you talked with Neil Rau in regard to the L&H book - I had no intention of discussing this matter with him during his visit next Saturday, especially due to the present circumstances, & frankly I do'nt think its possible to write a Life Story, as we know so little of Babe's early life. Jack McCabe covered every source of information for several years but was unable to trace anything of interest.
All for now Ben.
Regards & Best,
OCEANA LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN
Interesting to note you are fond of music. I have no talent in this field whatsoever.
My Dear Pete [Preece]:
Many thanks for your nice letter,4th.inst. with enclosure of Club Button & Honorary membership Card.
Needless to tell you I deeply appreciate the kind gesture - my sincere thanks to you all.
Pleased to know you recd. the pictures OK & I feel very honoured to know that the swordfish picture now hangs in prominence in Head Quarters - only wish I could have sent you the photo of the 258 pounder - if I ever come across it, will do so, it really was a whopper.
Wish I were able to accept your kind invitation to visit you all & have the pleasure of enjoying a fishing trip with you, nothing would give me greater pleasure I assure you - unfortunately am afraid my traveling days are over & I doubt very much if I shall ever see England again. Anyway, please again convey my thanks to the members & officers of the organization for their kind thought & good wishes.
Hope sometime you'll have the opportunity to take a trip over here, I would certainly enjoy the pleasure of meeting you again, but I could'nt promise to take you out fishing, but its possible I could arrange some trips for you.
I think you are over rating my fishing skill Pete - I just happened to be lucky that season - you would have no difficulty competing with me, a handicap would be necessary.
Interesting to note you are fond of music - what instrument do you play? I have no talent in this field whatsoever, actually I never had much interest in this dept. never did appeal to me.
I got a big kick out of your term 'Chamber Music', thats very funny - I fully agree with you.!
Congratulations to the S.A.C. for winning the recent competition against Easthourne - wish you continued success. Lets hope we'll win back the "Friendship Cup", then you can all get bigger Hats.! I note this event takes place Nov. 6th. I shall mark this date on my desk calendar, so will remember to wish you luck.
All for now Pete. Take care of yourself.
My kindest regards to you all.
Cheerio & God Bless.
STAN LAUREL LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN
A young chap appeared on the Jerry Lewis Show who did an impersonation of my character and was really excellent. It was quite uncanny.
MAY 11th. '60.
Dear Charles Thompson:
Many thanks for your very nice letter.
It was indeed nice to hear from you & I appreciated very much your kind thought & sentiments. Am happy to know the the old L&H films have afforded you so much pleasure & enjoyment thru' the years, it is very gratifying to me.
I liked Tom Poston's impersonation of me, thought it was very good, incidently, I have a 16mm print of that Skit which Steve Allen kindly sent me, so seeing it on a larger screen than TV, it looks so much better. However, a young chap appeared on the Jerry Lewis [Show] about 3 weeks ago who also did an impersonation of my character & was really excellent, his resemblance & mannerisms were much closer than Tom Poston's, it was quite uncanny, you evidently missed that show, otherwise am sure you would have mentioned. The remarkable thing is, Jerry Lewis called me next day, told me this was the first time this chap had appeared in front of an audience as an actor - actually he he is the drummer in Jerry's Band. I too am getting a 16mm print of this skit, this chap does'nt have Hardy with him, so he works with Jerry instead.
Regarding my health situation. I suffered a slight stroke in '55, fortunately made a pretty good recovery & am able to get around quite well. Of course I shall never be in shape to work again, am not able to do anything strenuous. Anyway, I have no desire to return to Show Bus. so am happy & content in my enforced retirement. After all, I'm in the 70 dept. now, so its time to quit - have had my share of hard work after 50 odd years in the business - I have no regrets I assure you.
You mention we made a great deal in monetary gain, I must correct you on that, we received very little for our efforts in those days, startling in comparison to what the Top Comics are paid today - many get more than we ever got in one year for one appearance on TV. Had we come into prominence much later it would have been a different story, the salaries now are fantastic.
Interesting to note you are going to Tahiti & intend to settle down there. I hope you'll find it to your liking & your venture will prove happy & successful. During your stop-over in L.A. do'nt hesitate to give me a call (EXbrook 3-5656), l shall enjoy the pleasure of meeting you.
Regarding your impression that Hardy & I had quarrels is not true. I know this statement appeared in the Press but that information was given out by Hal Roach himself, actually the trouble was between Roach & myself & had nothing to do with Hardy & I splitting up for a few months. The fact was Hardy & I had seperate contracts. Mine had run out & Hardy had a year or so more to go. I did'nt agree with Roach on some of the conditions in the new contract he wanted me to sign, so he threatened to fire me & get Harry Langdon to work with Hardy - consequently I walked out.
Roach then made a film with Langdon & Hardy, called "Zenobia", but it turned very bad & the exhibitors refused to buy it & insisted on Roach to get me back, otherwise they would cancel his entire product. I was then sitting in the Driver's seat & I wrote my own ticket. Roach then had to save his face by explaining to the press that the trouble was between L&H. He was plenty embarrassed.
Hardy & I were very close friends & had a very happy association for over 30 years.
Thanks again for your kind expressions.
My regards & every good wish.
My father, Charles S. Thompson, was a well known musician, playing the saxophone during the Big Band Era. He lived in Dallas for a number of years, during which time he developed an interest in ancient artifacts, in Egyptian history and in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Most of all he was a big fan of Laurel and Hardy. He was the same height and build as Stan Laurel and looked quite a lot like him. He and a good friend who looked like Oliver Hardy enjoyed dressing as Stan and Oliver and entertaining friends at various parties.
One day my father sent a photo of himself dressed as Stan to Stan Laurel who later commented to Dad that perhaps they were “twins separated at birth!” For the last year and a half or so of Stan’s life my father and he were pen pals, a real joy for my father.
Dad died in 2005 but I will always be grateful knowing how much he talked about and valued his friendship with Stan Laurel.
CHARLES THOMPSON AND CHUCK McCANN - 1960
NO LETTERHEAD - 849 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA - TYPEWRITTEN
The only contribution Hal Roach made to the success of Laurel and Hardy was to provide a studio and equipment.
Dear Earl [Shank, Jr.]:
Sorry to hear you're still having difficulty in getting rid of the business - I am wondering Earl if it would pay you to bring in a partner & let him handle the store, giving you the opportunity to go to Phoenix & start in business there - I mean of course, his interest would only be in the Emmitsburg store & nothing else, but you would share in the profits made by him, it would be a nice little income for you & leave you free for your other activities, & if your partner finds that the store is profitable he may want to buy out your share - I think this might solve your problem & would avoid selling your lease at a loss. There's no doubt that Arizona is booming & you would have many opportunities right now, & you would be wise to get into them. Its just a thought Earl & I think is worth some consideration.
I had already seen the article you sent me regarding Hal Roach. The only contribution he made to the success of L&H was to provide a studio & equipment, the money was loaned by Banks, he had nothing to do with the making of the films, even tho' his name appeared on some of them as the Director, he was seldom on the set. Anyway, if it makes him feel good to take the credit, let him have fun, it does'nt bother me in the least.
No, I did'nt see the Roy Rogers show, I was never too interested in him, never thought he had any great acting ability, he's very negative. Have seen 'Marineland' only on TV.
I got through with the Eldec vitamins a couple of weeks ago, I did'nt notice any improvement, maybe due to not taking the full dosage, so am back on the Unicap's again - I guess 'Shots' are better for me, but I resent paying the high price the Dr's charge, especially to have them so often. Just can't afford it in my situation. Anyway, I'm getting along OK. The cyst on my eye has all cleared up - I look ten days young. That deal cost me $200.
Walter has just bought a Tape-recorder & sent me a letter on tape - have'nt listened to it yet, I tried it on my machine but discovered my sound was dead, so had to send it to be repaired & have'nt got it back yet. Am having quite a run on my bank A/C lately, had to have the house re-roofed ($500.) the house painted on the outside ($500.) a new water heater, also a new sprinklernsystem installednin back & front garden, do'nt know what that willn cost yet, am getting bids on it now - thats the trouble in owning property these days, labor is so costly, but it has to be kept in good order in case I ever want to sell or get a decent price for rental. I would mind if I were working, but in my situation its pretty rough & I do'nt like that time payment business, the interest runs so high.
Pleased to tell vou the L&H book has been accepted by Doubleday publishing Co. so am hoping to get some revenue from that when its released, which I imagine will be around Xmas time.
Note you are having your car fixed up, you would be foolish to get a new one, having so little mileage on this - after all you do'nt use it much & should last you a long time yet, the motor is the same in all new cars, only the Body is a new style, thats the only difference.
I've been to Brighton,Eng. a couple of times, its a lovely seaside resort, not far from London, many business people commute there, its very popular, the air is so refreshing, they name to town Dr Brighton, its greatly recommended for people in ill-health, the Air does so much for you, on arrival you already feel 'Pepped-Up',really wonderful. Hardy & I played two weeks at the Hippodrome there & never felt better - hated to leave.
I saw the Academy Awards show, this affair has certainly lost the glamor of the old days, these present Stars do'nt have the warm personality,so there is little interest. Bob Hope was the only shining light as far as I am concerned, the rest had no appeal to me.
Note our old films are not running much anymore. I understand they are going to re-issue all our old silents on TV, so probably we'll come back to life again for another year or so. Theres a new film out now, similar to "Golden Age of Comedy" called "When Comedy was King" & is very successful, probably this prompted the re-issue on TV.
No, I never met Bernard Shaw, so I only know what I have read about him personally, I believe he was quite a character.
The expression 'God Bless' has been used in England for many years, as far back as I can remember & is still frequently used over there, its quite common among those people, the Irish use it a great deal too. I guess Red Skelton picked it up from there - Hardy & I used it also in our 'sign off.'
All for now Earl, trust you & the Family are all well.
Kind thoughts from us both here.
Cheerio & God Bless.
Roy Rogers (1911-1998) was an American singer and actor who was one of the most popular Western stars of his era. He appeared in over 100 films and The Roy Rogers Show, which was broadcast on television from 1951 through 1957.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was an Irish playwright who became the leading dramatist of his generation. He received the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature and sharing the 1938 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film version of Pygmalion.
OCEANA LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN
Dear Mrs [Marie] Hatfield:
I've recd. several letters recently in regard to "When Comedy Was King" film, also several of the New York critics reviews, they all speak very highly of it & contend its much better than "The Golden Age of Comedy" - I have'nt seen either so I can't offer my opinion on them. This new film is now playing in Hollywood, unfortunately, its too far for me to venture - probably some time in the future it will be shown on TV. I understand Robt. Youngson is already preparing another one to follow, he's certainly making a fortune out of these antiquated films as he has a World-Wide release for them. Its very unfair that we get nothing out of these.
Note you saw the "New Moon", I remember it well, saw it when it was first released, it was an excellent picture.
I guess Donald could do with a bath - maybe thats what he's looking for, its a wonder his owners do'nt fix him a big tub of water in the back yard & give him a chance to clean up, he must look a sorry sight, I think its pretty cruel to leave him in this condition, too bad there is'nt a POND NEARBY. (do'nt ask me why I used Capital letters in the last two words - for no reason at all!).
Yes, we saw the Royal wedding, it was really a grand affair, incidently, May 6th. was our anniversary (our 14th.) I too was a bit disappointed that Maggie married a commoner, anyway, I wish them both a lot of happiness.
Think thats about all, so bye for now.
Regards & best to Bob, Mother & self, from us both here.
When Comedy Was King was Robert Youngson’s second feature-length compilation of silent comedy highlights (the first was The Golden Age of Comedy, and covered the years 1914 to 1929. The closing sequence consisted of the 1929 Laurel and Hardy tit-for-tat classic Big Business, virtually in its entirety.
New Moon (1940) was a Nelson Eddie/Jeanette MacDonald film.
Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, wed Anthony Armstrong Jones at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 1960. The wedding was the very first Royal wedding to be televised, and was watched by over 20 million people.
OCEANA LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN
Dear Fred Jeffery:
Thanks yours, 16th.inst.
Nice to hear from you again & to know alls well with you.
Glad you enjoyed the "When Comedy was King" film, it is playing currently in Hollywood, unfortunately, its a bit too far for me to go to see it. I have several of the New York critics reviews on it & all have praise for it, am hoping it will eventually be shown in this neighbourhood - would very much like to see it.
I remember the Xmas Tree sequence you mention, I think this was made in early '28. Sorry to say Jimmy Finlayson has since passed on, I believe in '53. We were very fond of Jimmy, he worked with us for many years.
Yes, I still receive the 'Record Show Mirror,' so I keep fully abreast with the current news of theatrical activities, am only sorry to hear of so many 'Variety' houses being destroyed, its a sad situation.
I see Mrs Hardy occasionally, she is now in the Real Estate business. She seems to be quite happy & fully adjusted.
Pleased to tell you, the L&H book has been accepted by Doubleday Publishing Co. of New York, & I understand it will be released around January '61. if it proves successful no doubt, it will be be published in England too.
Yes, our films are still being shown on TV here, they run several times a week, they are very popular with the kids.
I remember well the re-opening of the Dymchurch miniature Railway, we got soaking wet that day, but enjoyed every minute, we had a wonderful time.
Nothing much exciting to tell you Fred, so bye for now.
Cheerio & God Bless.
By Rick DuBrow
Noted filmland personalities were angered today by the absence of Charlie Chaplin’s name from Hollywood Blvd.’s new “Walk of Fame.”
Although they disagreed with his political sympathies, figures like Sam Goldwyn, Mary Pickford, Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton told United Press International the comedian should have his name engraved in the new stretch of pavement with the 1,500 others chosen.
But Harry Sugarman, president of the Hollywood Improvement Association, said some of the property owners who put up the money needed for the project threatened to withdraw it if forced to honor Chaplin, who has accepted communist honors, criticized this country and is living in Swiss exile.
“His name is still on the admission list,” said Sugarman, "“but it’s problematical if he’ll get in unless conditions change and people change their minds about his character as far as loyalty to this country is concerned.”
Replied Goldwyn: “If there’s anybody entitled to be in a motion picture hall of fame, Mr. Chaplin has probably done more than anybody I know. I don’t associate politics with anything like that.”
The aging comedian is a source of controversy again in Hollywood since the recent publication of the book My Father, Charlie Chaplin by his son, Charlie Chaplin Jr.
Said Miss Pickford, once “America’s Sweetheart”: “We may disagree heartily with Charlie’s political views, but we make ourselves ridiculous to the rest of the world by ignoring the world's greatest comedian. It’s absurd after what he pioneered for the movies and the mirth he spread.”
Said Laurel, the skinny half of the old Laurel and Hardy comedy team: “I think his name definitely should be included. It’s wrong. It has nothing to do with his private affairs.”
Added deadpan comedian Keaton: “He wasn’t a good American, but for the love of Mike, his professional career was so outstanding that it’s hard to take it away from him for his political beliefs. In Hollywood, he belongs. For all we know, Shakespeare might have had some screwy political notions.”
Even Adolphe Menjou, one of Hollywood’s most rabid anti-communists, came to Chaplin's defense.
“I think he’s too great to keep his name off despite the fact that he has a hole in his head politically,” said Menjou.
At the same time, a spokesman for Red Skelton, who has bought Chaplin’s old studio here, said the self-exiled comedian's footprints will be kept intact at the stage entrance “for old time’s sake. We have no plans to undo anything.”
May 26, 1960