FEBRUARY 3rd.1961.
Dear Tom & Betty [Jackson]:
    Thanks your nice letter of Jan.31st. with enclosed letter which had been returned to you.
    We too enjoyed very much the pleasure of meeting you both, hope it wo'nt be too long before you will have the opportunity to visit with us again. I thought the pictures turned out very good. I just recd. them a couple of days ago & Jack called me yesterday afternoon.
    Nothing much exciting to tell you, so Eda joins in kindest regards & every good wish.
    Take care & God Bless.
                As ever:
Stan Signature                 STAN LAUREL.

Snapshot Photo Enclosure

Letter from Stan Laurel to Bob and Marie Hatfield

                FEBRUARY 6th.1961.
Dear Bob & Marie [Hatfield]:
                Thanks yours,Jan. 25th.
The Dupont Show of the the Month has now been postponed till April - I understand there has been some difficulty in the Gleason-Carney situation - its very possible that somebody else will play our characters.
    We too had a few days of rain, Wind & fog etc. but now its like mid-summer again.
    Am wondering if you happen to have a tape recorder, or any friends or neighbours you could borrow one from - I have some disc records, songs music etc from the old time English Music Halls, I could make up a tape for you, think you'd enjoy hearing them. let me know.
    Kindest regards to you all from us both here,
    Trust alls well & happy with you.
                Sincerely as ever:
Stan Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


                FEBRUARY 6th.1961.
Dear Earl [Manbeck]:
    Glad you enjoyed the Tape & got so much pleasure out of it am making you a tape copy of a record that was sent me last week, a new comedy team called Mike Nichols & Elaine May, probably you have them, they are a product of the East (N.Y.), they are terrific.
    I didn't think your Tape letter was at all bad Earl, especially being your first attempt you should get a load of me!, I'm the Worlds Worst disk jockey.
    Too bad Jean was unable to record the full Kennedy speech the only thing to do is get an attachment fixed, to connect direct to the TV Radio & Phonograph so you'll not be affected with outside local noise or disturbance. You should check with your local dealer, its a simple matter & not expensive, its generally a plug in connection. Nice to have in case something of importance is to be broadcast & you'd like to make a recording of it (like the Kennedy speech etc.)
    Re the 'Quackless Ducks' frankly, I'm not an authority on this subject. This particular breed are commonly called Muscovie Ducks, they attain good weight, but when prepared they are not as greasy as other ducks. The reason I raised Chickens, Rabbits, ducks etc. was not as a Hobby, it was a source of self sustaining during the War period, I used to store this food in a locker at the local Ice House. I raised all the vegetables too, all the fruits were canned Jams, jellies etc. which were kept in a cellar. I of course had help to take care of all this, I was too busy at the studio, so actually I had little to do with this farming activity, (I just paid the bills!!)
Stan Signature

Note from the Editor

Mike Nichols & Elaine May are an American improvisation comedy duo act that had three comedy albums reach the Billboard Top 40 between 1959 and 1962.


                FEBRUARY 20th.1961.
Dear Earl [Manbeck]:
    Many thanks for the tape recording & nice letter - enjoyed your collection of records, some of the numbers are similar to the Banjo Band I sent you, in the selection of old time songs thought you did a very good job in the recording dept., the sound volume was perfect it was too nice to hear your voice no trace of 'mike fright' sounded like an old timer, very confident.
Stan Signature


                FEBRUARY 20th.1961.
Dear Arthur Westwood:
    Thanks your letter, 17th.inst. with enclosure of picture which I have autographed & am returning herewith.
    Thanks for the kind request - much appreciated.
    Interesting to hear about the audience re-action at the finish of "When Comedy Was King" film - have never heard before of such enthusiasm in a Cinema, thats remarkable.
    I understand the L&H book will be released soon now by the Museum Publishing Co. in London. Hope you will enjoy it.
    My regards & best wishes.
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


Thank you for ordering the Laurel and Hardy book—hope you will enjoy it. Next time you’re down this way, will autograph it for you (if you haven’t burned it up!)

Stan Laurel

                FEBRUARY 22nd.1961.
Dear Marie & Bob[Hatfield]:
                Thanks yours, 15th.inst.
Pleased to know you will be able to borrow a Tape Recorder, shall be happy to make up a tape for you of the old time Music Hall Stars also old time Vaudeville Artistes (American). I will also include the L&H theme music "Dance of the Cuckoos" made in London, End. in 1932 by the Columbia recording orchestra.
    Since writing you last, I had a hemorrhage in my left eye, so had to get new glasses fitted for the right eye, over the other I wear a black patch, till it heals up & am able to get a new glass fitted to that. Only have the use of one eye - its not too serious, no pain, its caused by strain. Dr advises me not to do much reading or writing for a while, so you will understand my letter being brief.
    Thank you for ordering the L&H book - hope you will enjoy it. Next time you're down this way, will autograph it for you (if you have'nt burned it up.!!)
    Bye now, Eda joins in kind thoughts to you both & Mother.
    Cheerio & God Bless.
                As ever:
Stan Signature


                Feb. 22nd. '61.
Dear Charles Shapiro:
    Thanks your nice letter. Nice to hear from you again & to know alls well with you. Regarding your questions concerning L&H. There is a book out now, called "MR LAUREL & MR HARDY", written by John McCabe & published by Doubleday Co. This will give you all the information that is of interest to you.
    My best wishes to self & Family.
Stan Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


                FEBRUARY 27th.'61.
Dear Richard Sloan:
                Thanks yours, 23rd.inst.
Nice to hear from you again. The book "MR LAUREL & MR HARDY" is published by Doubleday Co. of N.Y. - imagine it is available at most book stores, or could be ordered by any of them who do'nt happen to carry it.
    The Susskind production of the L&H story - I understand there has been some difficulty in the casting situation - frankly I do'nt know who is being considered for the two characters - there have been many rumors, but I doubt if any particular one has been decided upon, its possible the show will never materialize.
    Thanks again for your interesting letter.
    My regards & best wishes,
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


                FEBRUARY 27th.'61.
Dear Bob & Marie [Hatfield]:
    Just mailed you a full reel of tape recording (around 2 hours entertainment) Hope you'll get as much pleasure out of it as I did taping it.
    Regards & best from us both here to your Mother & Selves.
                As ever:
Stan Signature                 STAN LAUREL.

Special Oscar Sought for Stan Laurel

A dozen top stars have formed a committee to ask that a special Oscar be voted to the surviving half of one of the great movie comedy teams of all time, Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy. It would be a fine and warm gesture, symbolic of a salute to all the old-timers, both alive and dead, who entertain millions daily via their old and unrewarding films on TV.

—Sheilah Graham
    February 20, 1961

Marceau Calls Him ‘Ze Master of Pantomime’

Stan with Marcel Marceau

By James Bacon

Marcel Marceau, the great French pantomime, recently made a pilgrimage to a modest one-bedroom apartment on the oceanfront at at Santa Monica. Marceau generally is rated the world’s greatest in the art of mime, but he pooh poohs it.
    “I am now in the home of ze master,” said Marceau as he bowed in the direction of one of the great all time comics—Stan Laurel. It was a cheering visit for the surviving member of the famed Laurel and Hardy comedy team.
    “I learned my art from watching Laurel and Hardy movies,” said Marceau. Then he did a perfect mime of the Laurel walk and the crying face. Laurel roared with laughter.
    Stan, 70, was obviously thrilled by Marceau's visit. “I don't see many people anymore,” mused Laurel. “It’s a long way out here to Santa Monica. And I can’t go any place. I have diabetes and still haven’t completely recovered from the stroke I had in 1955, so all I can do is stay in the apartment here and watch the ocean and television.
    “About the only visitor I have except for my family is Jerry Lewis. He’s been after me to work as a comedy consultant on his movies. Once he came out here and stayed seven hours. We had a lot of laughs. But, as for working again, I can’t. I’m all washed up in this business.”
    Hollywood may have forgotten Stan but the world hasn’t. His living room was cluttered with fan letters from all over the world, some even from Ghana and other remote places. “Laurel and Hardy always were more important in Europe and Asia than they were in Hollywood,” said Stan. “We once had a fan club in Europe that numbered two million members.” At this, Marceau interrupted: “I know, because I belonged to it.”
    Laurel patiently answers all the fan mail and sends along a little photo of himself and Oliver Hardy, who died in 1957.
    The 30-year partnership of Laurel and Hardy was unique in that they never had a cross word. “We had different hobbies,” said Stan. “He liked horses and golf. You know my hobby—and I married them all.” Laurel married four women a total of eight times and had a fifth sue to be declared his wife. Virginia Ruth Rogers, Stan’s second, third and seventh bride, once observed in a classic of understatement: “Stan’s a good boy, really, but he has a marrying complex.”
    His last wife, Ida Kitaeva, married him in 1946 and shares the beachfront apartment with him.
    Laurel’s sense of humor is still sharp. Although he gave and is still giving the world a million laughs, he was always sad-faced in his own comedy. In person, he is a belly-laugher. He laughs at how everybody made millions from Laurel and Hardy but the two comics themselves.

Stan with Marcel Marceau

The 30-year partnership of Laurel and Hardy was unique in that they never had a cross word.
    “We made our pictures for a flat salary—never had an agent. They’ve played and played on television but we never got a cent out of it. Manufacturers made Laurel and Hardy dolls, Laurel and Hardy ashtrays, Laurel and Hardy flowerpots, even—but we never got a cent.” He reached for a Laurel and Hardy ceramic ashtray. “I bought this at Shannon airport. The manager said they were the best selling ashtrays he had—and then he charged me full price.” Stan laughed uproariously.
    “It’s been a great life and I’m happy that I have made people forget some of their sorrows—but it would have been nice to have made a little money along the way. I’m not complaining. I’ve got all I want in this little apartment. We had a big house but it was too big for the two of us anyway.”
    Laurel recalled how he came to the United States in 1910 in a cattle boat. “Charlie Chaplin was the star of our troupe. I had one pair of shoes for onstage and off. Our first night in New York we spent in a cheap theatrical boarding house. I think it cost $1 a day. When I went to bed the first night, I put my shoes outside the door, continental custom, expecting them to be shined by morning. Naturally, they were gone. I had to go to the theater in carpet slippers. They had a big candle on the toe. I made a comedy hit because the rest of my costume was white tie and tails.”
    Laurel and Chaplin roomed together for three years while the troupe toured the country. What does Laurel think of Chaplin’s omission from Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame project?
    “I think it’s shocking. I have known Chaplin longer than anyone else. He’s bitter but he’s no Communist. Those names on the Hollywood Boulevard sidewalk honor the people who made this town the movie capital. To omit the greatest artist of all is shocking. You can’t rewrite history.”
    Laurel, who had been on the stage since he was 7, toured in vaudeville while Chaplin became the movies’ greatest comedy star. Stan made a half-hearted attempt at the movies in 1917 and again in 1922. “By this time.” he recalls, “I had more or less given up performing and was concentrating on writing and directing. I was employed at Hal Roach studios. One day in 1926 or 1927, I can’t remember when, an actor hired to play a butler took sick and I replaced him in a scene.” One old-time Roach employee recalls the moment: “When Laurel and Hardy started working in the scene, you could hear the laughs all over the lot. This brought us all running to the set because some of those electricians and cameramen hadn’t laughed in years. Even Hal Roach himself visited the set—and laughed himself sick. Laurel and Hardy became a team—and there never will be a funnier one—from that day on.”
    The format of the Laurel and Hardy two-reelers was basically the same—Hardy, supposedly the intelligent member of the team, would suggest something—and during the execution, Laurel would louse it up—to Hardy’s anguish. There was no straight man in the act. “And no script,” recalls Stan. “Babe always let me handle everything. We only used a director for scenes for Laurel and Hardy and provided most of the gags. Whenever the front office would call a conference about a new picture, Babe had a standard line he used: ‘Whatever Stan decides is all right with me.’
    “In all our 30 years together, he never once questioned a decision I had made. Although we never went together socially, we were always good friends as well as partners. I miss him terribly.”
    Laurel & Hardy’s life will be made into a television spectacular sometime this year. Various castings have been speculated—Jackie Gleason for Hardy, Art Carney for Laurel. Another had Tony Perkins for Laurel and Jonathan Winters for Hardy. Laurel thinks Dick Van Dyke would be a good choice for him. He likes either Gleason or Winters for Babe.
    “But I can’t see where there’s any story in our lives. There was no friction, no drama—just a few laughs.”

—Pittsburgh Post Gazette
    Feb. 26, 1961

Stan Watermark