NO LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN

                MARCH 1st.'61.
Dear Mr. [J.J.] Johnson:
                Thank you for your very nice letter.
It was indeed nice to hear from you & I appreciated your kind sentiments so humorously expressed.
    With pleasure I enclose you a picture - thank you for the request.
    My kind regards & best wishes,
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


OCEANA LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN

                MARCH 4th.'61.
Dear Mayburn Reed:
    Thank you for your very nice letter. It was indeed nice to hear from you & I appreciate very much your kind sentiments & good wishes.
    With pleasure I am returning your card which I have autographed, also a little picture - thanks for the kind request.
    Regarding my biography: a book has just been published by Doubleday Co, titled "MR LAUREL & MR HARDY" WRITTEN BY Professor John McCabe of the N.Y.University. I imagine your local book dealer can obtain this for you.
    My kindest regards & best wishes,
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


NO LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN

I can manage for a while with one good eye. After all, I’VE SEEN EVERYTHING!

Stan Laurel

                MARCH 6th.'61.
Dear Lincoln Racey:
                Thank you for your very nice letter.
Want you to know, it has been my pleasure corresponding with your Parents & I've enjoyed having had the opportunity to try & cheer them up & bring a little happiness - I myself being a victim of ill health, realise the importance of a few good laughs - am happy to know my letters help keep them in good spirit.
    Many thanks for your suggestion (Hesper CVP Capsules) I mentioned this to my Dr., he said they were very good, but not necessary as I was already using (Viterra). However if my eye does'nt improve soon I shall try the Hesper capsules, maybe the 'C' dosage is'nt enough in the tablets I'm taking. Anyway, I can manage for a while with one good eye, after all, I'VE SEEN EVERYTHING.!!
    I'll take this opportunity to congratulate you on your recent marriage - wish you both lots of good health & happiness, good luck & SUCCESS.
    My kindest regards & best wishes always,
                Sincerely:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.

P.S. Give my best to your Mom & Dad - will write them soon.


“MR. LAUREL AND MR. HARDY” - BY JOHN McCABE
Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy
Note from the Editor

See sidebar at right for a review of the book from The New York Times.



OCEANA LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN

                MARCH 20th.1961.
Dear Dick Sloan:
    Thanks yours, 14th.inst. with enclosure of snapshots taken during your visit with 'Chuck' McCann at the TV Station WPIX - very interesting indeed, the pictures turned out very good.
    Again thanks Dick for sending them on to me. much appreciated.
    Regards & best to you all.
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


OCEANA LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN

                MARCH 20th.1961.
Dear Ed French:
                Thanks your nice letter.
Nice to hear from you - pleased to know the old L&H films have afforded you so much pleasure - appreciate your kind sentiments.
    Regarding our career story being shown on TV, I understand, due to casting difficulty, the show may be postponed indefinitely.
    You may be interested to know that Doubleday CO, have just published a book concerning our career, its titled "MR LAUREL & MR HARDY", written by Professor John McCabe of the N.Y. University.
    Thanks again for your letter.
    My regards & best wishes.
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


OCEANA LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN

I’ve always felt that ‘Babes In Toyland’ should have been made in color, the sets...were really beautiful.

Stan Laurel

                MARCH 21st.1961.
Dear Rob Dahl:
                Thank you for your very nice letter.
It was indeed nice to hear from you & I appreciate very much your kind sentiments.
    Yes, the flight of steps you mention was located somewhere near the Hollywood Blvd & Sunset area & we used the same location for both films (Washing machine & later the Piano routine) "Hats Off" & "The Music Box"
    Pleased to note you enjoyed the L&H book, thank you for the nice comment - the script when submitted to Doubleday was much longer, but for some reason they eliminated a great deal of the material, so it was not the authors fault.
    Yes, I've always felt that "Babes In Toyland" should have been made in Color, the sets to actually see were really beautiful. The matter was discussed at the time, but due to expensive cost of color photography then, it was decided Black & White. I understand Walt Disney is now producing a version of the musical, which of course will be done in color.
    Thanks again Bob for your interesting letter.
    My kindest regards & best wishes,
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


OCEANA LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN

                MARCH 25th.1961.
Dear Betty Bennett,
    Thank you for your very nice letter.
Pleased to know the old L&H films are still affording you so much pleasure - appreciate very much your kind sentiments.
    Am enclosing you a little picture, thought you might like to have one as a souvenir.
    My kindest regards & every good wish.
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


POSTCARD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN

                MARCH 30th.'61.
Dear Bob & Marie [Hatfield]:
    Thanks [for your] nice card - we too wish you all a very Happy Easter - lots of new BONNETS.!!
    Trust alls well.
    Regards & best,
                As ever:
Stan Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


“Days of Thrills and Laughter” Relived

Days of Thrills and Laughter

As a film anthologist, Robert Youngson, who previously titillated audiences with “The Golden Age of Comedy” and “When Comedy Was King,” has struck a modest bonanza and appears to have made the most of it.
    His third collection of movie memorabilia, “Days of Thrills and Laughter,” which was unveiled at the Sixty-eighth Street Playhouse yesterday, is the sight gags and chase mixture as of yore. By its very nature this makes an uneven compilation but it is, nevertheless, an urbane, yet uncondescending, peep into the past that is a reminder of the invention and artistry of the inhibited movie makers of the silent era.
    A viewer whose experience dates back to Sennett-Chaplin chapters of film history of more than forty years ago may not find this package entirely revelatory. But time does dim memory, and another look at. Chaplin skittering around corners fleeing from prison guards in “The Adventurer” or blithely exposing his comic genius as the drunk in “The Cure"” will make for a greater appreciation of his authentically stupendous talent as well as despair for the absence of such these days. The younger set, exposed to cliché-ridden and generally dubious comedy of the present, undoubtedly will savor it, too, judging by the reaction of junior citizens in attendance yesterday.
    Perhaps there is an absence of true variety in the segments shown, but the contributions of Harry Langdon, Al St. John, Snub Pollard, the frenetic scamperings of the Keystone Kops and Mack Sennett himself, as well as Laurel and Hardy (before they became a team) and Ben Turpin are muscular but truly funny. This goes also for a creation of France’s top man, Georges Méliès, whose 1904 romp is naive but a chase to end all chases.
    Since he is conceited not only with comedy but also with thrills, Mr. Youngson has included bits by Douglas Fairbanks (“Wild and Woolly”) and some mad material from the likes of such serial experts as Pearl White (“The Perils of Pauline,” etc) Ruth Roland, Warner Oland, Boris Karloff and, believe it or not, Harry Houdini, rescuing a somewhat foggy damsel from taking the distressing drop over Niagara Falls.
    There is an appropriately humorous but affectionate background score by Jack Shaindilin and a commentary by Jay Jackson.
    If Mr. Youngson’s meticulous compilation leaves an observer with a feeling that this is merely a surface view and yearning for the originals, entire and whole, it has accomplished its purpose. “Days of Thrills and Laughter” does provide enough of each of these ingredients to prove that pioneer pictures, illogical and inane though they might have been, did move without the benefit of palaver and gave the customers more than a modicum of action, adventure and laughs.

—The New York Times
    March 22, 1961

No Slouches As Buffoons: “Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy”

Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy

MR. LAUREL AND MR. HARDY
John McCabe. 240 pp. Illustrated
New York, Doubleday & Co. $4.S0.

By A. H. Weiller

In an age of conformity illustrated by the unending stereotypes of television and, in lesser degree, films and the theatre, one is constantly reminded of the rarity of comic invention and of comedians of lasting stature. A partial answer to this unfunny situation may be found in the ancient wheeze about the confused traveler who asks a cab driver, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” and is wearily told, “Practice, practice.” In his biography of Stan Laurel and the late Oliver Hardy, John McCabe stresses that while these masters of amiable fat headedness were not always everyone’s clowns, they were, nevertheless, top-flight buffoons who came by their rewards through genuine talent nurtured by years of patient toil and invention.
    As a study of two of the noted alumni of a cinema school that produced, among others, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Langdon, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, “Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy” should satisfy most of the cognoscenti, evoke smiles and memories for the middle-aged, and inform those innocents who have been “discovering” Laurel and Hardy via revivals of their old short subjects and features on the small screens of the living room.
    The author, Associate Professor of Dramatic Art at N.Y.U., is guilty only now and then of the pedantic approach. He has gone, apparently as far as passable, to original sources—Mrs. Hardy and Stan Laurel himself—and also to such authorities on the delicate art of making people laugh as Marcel Marceau, Groucho Marx and Steve Allen. A reader is carefully, if somewhat soberly, given a detailed blueprint of the disparate journeys of Laurel, the skinny Lancashire lad, who began treading English vaudeville boards at 16, and Oliver Norvell Hardy, the fat Georgia boy, a gentlemanly soul with dream of singing stardom, who, at an equally lender age wandered into primitive film-making in Florida just before World War I.
    That their paths crossed is history, and their biographer points up that their gifts of miming and gag-invention made them natural foils for each other. The popularity of the images or the confused and frustrated Laurel screwing up his face in tears followed by his rotund sidekick's twiddling of his tie in embarrassment are clichés universally understood and appreciated. Since Laurel, who hit these shores in 1910 with the Karno “Night in an English Music Hall” troupe (it included Chaplin too), also could be listed a movie veteran with nine years of experience before he teamed with Hardy in 1926, their success, as documented here, was not mere happenstance.
    For a quarter of a century thereafter, silent or speaking, they helped make American film comedy the cheap but popular diversion of the world's masses. Why they went into decline may be argued by the critics, but it is logical to agree with the author’s review of the vagaries of fate, illness, bad scripts and changing film production methods as being the causes rather than any particular faults of his clown-heroes.
    Although the volume’s illustrations are excellent adjuncts to its serious prose, a fuller explanation of the principals'’ private lives seems to be needed, as is a complete dossier on all of their many films before and during their partnership. “Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy” is not a surface record. It is an affectionate and perceptive dual profile which should bring a dimming view of these artists into sharp and effective focus.
    Mr. Weliler, as motion picture editor of The Times, has followed the careers of many film stars, past and present.

—The New York Times
    March 26, 1961

Stan Watermark