POSTCARD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN
Thanks Howie & Jean [Mann], your letter recd. this AM.
So sorry to hear the sad news - my deepest sympathy to you both in your hour of sorrow - - please pardon my being brief - at present taking Xray treatments (infection situation) Dr. advises complete rest - know you will fully understand.
Trust you & Family are all in good health -
Take care - God Bless you -
as always -
POSTCARD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN
Thanks Rene [Rondeau] - yours 9th.inst. due to my ill health am unable to answer & describe the many questions you request - suggest you contact your local Public Library regarding a book titled "MR LAUREL & MR HARDY" this will provide all the information you are seeking - it covers our careers - should be very helpful. The book is written by John McCabe & published by Doubleday Inc. 575,Madison Ave. NEW YORK. 22.N.Y. Thanks again for your kindly interest -
Sincerely always -
I exchanged a few letters with Stan in the 1960s. I also corresponded very extensively with Mike Polacek (after getting his name and address from Stan) but I regret to say that I no longer have any of those letters. It’s a shame since he went into a lot of detail, particularly after Stan died and he felt more free to tell me things that Stan had not wanted people to know about his failing health. The postcard dated 2/16/65 reached me on the very day that Stan died. I always found it rather poignant that he took the time to acknowledge my letter while he was so close to the end. I can vividly remember coming home from high school and finding his card in the mail, only to get the afternoon newspaper two hours later with a report on his death. That hit hard.
OCEANA LETTERHEAD - 849 OCEAN AVE., SANTA MONICA, CA - TYPEWRITTEN EXCERPT
I haven’t been too well, Tom. An infection developed in the roof of my mouth. Took about fifteen X-ray treatments—should be back in shape again soon. Still quite painful.
Dear Tom [Sefton]:
Enclosed Tape. Some background music for your silent films - thought you might like to have in your collection - these of course will have to be re-recorded to cover running time of the film. The last number on the 2nd side of the tape, I think would be very suitable for the L&H silent "THE FINISHING TOUCH". - appropriate pantomime theme.
I have'nt been too well Tom, an infection developed in the roof of my mouth - pleased to tell you it has improved - took about 15 Xray treatments should be back in shape again soon - still quite painful - throat a bit swollen (a la Tonsilitis business) difficult to eat at times. Anyway - trust you will find some use for the Tape.
Eda joins in kindest & bestest to Donna self & family - take care - God Bless.
as always -
PROGRAM FOR STAN LAUREL’S MEMORIAL SERVICE - FEBRUARY 26, 1965
STAN JEFFERSON: “HE OF THE FUNNY WAYS”
Stan Laurel died on February 23, 1965 at 1:45 p.m. of a heart attack. “The day that Stan Laurel died,” recalls Dick Van Dyke, “the press came by my house to interview me about him. As I’m talking, a sprinkler spout that I was standing over burst. Water shot up and just drenched me. I looked up to the sky. It was obviously his last bit of comedy. If that won't give you religion, what will?”
PAUL CONRAD FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES - FEBRUARY 26, 1965
By Bonnie L. Anderson
At the foot of green, gently sloping Hollywood Hills in back of Warner Bros. Studios runs scenic Forest Lawn Drive. Yesterday, my mother and I drove along that road in the customary, bright California sunshine on a solemn occasion.
No sound of the furious freeway, from which we had just come, could be heard as we neared a stately, white colonial building behind high iron gates. In its beautiful dignity it accentuates the classic graciousness of Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
We entered the groomed grounds and slowly drove beyond the impressive main building. There, completely hidden from the entrance, we found the Church of the Hills, a lovely, old white edifice with its tall clock spire designed from the Early American First Parish Church of Portland, Maine, which the poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, attended as a boy.
Here we had come to pay our last respects to a man who had brought us, and millions of others, so many moments of film screen hilarity...our beloved Stan Laurel.
Parking was easy, as we had arrived well before the 3 o‘clock services. In fact, we were the first to arrive. Others came, and later we stood across from the church, awaiting the conclusion of a private service. The crowd was a mixture of people from lone young men to elderly men and women, with friends and families. There were few, if any, irreverent sightseers. Those who talked, talked of Stan, friend to all of them, it seemed.
The members of the private funeral departed, and the crowd crossed the drive and gathered at the church doorway. People conversed in restrained tones. They may have been speculating, as was I, as to who of Stan‘s personal friends might be present. Each was silently concerned about getting inside, as the church could accommodate only 300 persons. My mother and I, fortunately, were among the first twelve to enter and file to the front pews.
After being seated, I looked to the altar section; and under a bright, stained glass window I saw the light blue casket surrounded by hundreds of multi-colored flowers. I was able to read a few of the many messages among the floral wreaths: “From your Swiss Miss—love, Della Land.”...“For Grandpa.”...and others. Familiar hymns from an unseen organ mingled with the resonant singing of a canary. An arrangement of living vines and flowers reached up to the wall toward the low ceiling. It came as a gentle surprise when the organist soberly played that delightful little theme, “The Cuckoo Song,” as I had never heard it rendered before.
I saw Babe London come down the side aisle where extra chairs had been placed. Over 300 people were now assembled in the church. Some moments later the Reverend Kermit Castellanos and Dick Van Dyke entered from a door near the front alcove from which Mrs. Laurel and personal friends viewed the service in privacy. Following the Reverend's inspirational deliverance. Dick Van Dyke stepped to the altar and proceeded to state earnestly what each fan and friend felt in their heart for Stan Laurel.
He first spoke of his boyhood when he used to go to see Laurel and Hardy movies. “Like from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.” And, how he used to imitate Stan Laurel, as his father did; and now how his own son carries on the tradition. He revealed that Stan was his inspiration to enter show business. The first year Dick was in Hollywood, he said he tried to get Stan's address or phone number, to no avail. And—where did he find it? Right in the West Los Angeles phone book.
At last, he met his idol.
Dick told of the time when he impersonated Stan on his TV show, and later phoned Stan to get his opinion. Stan informed Dick that it was just great...BUT...and he went on to point out his mistakes. “He was a perfectionist,” Dick confirmed.
When Stan was asked, “What makes people laugh?” Dick said that he usually replied, “How should I know?” Stan hid his genius, people saw only the humor.
We lingered a while to see the prominent mourners walk to their waiting cars: Buster Keaton, Clyde Cook, Andy Clyde, George Chandler, Alan Mowbray, Pat Buttram, Patsy Kelly, Joe Flynn, Tim Conway, Leo McCarey, Hal Roach Sr., and his sons, had all come to pay homage to one of the brightest stars in all of film comedy.
The procession of cars then winded their way up the hillside to the Court of Liberty: an open air court with terraced lawns leading to it, and a massive bronze and marble historical monument on the first level. People gathered on either side of the spacious walk, then quietly followed Ida Laurel and her stepdaughter, Lois, up the wide steps to the uppermost level. The colorful flowers had now been placed around the section of lawn which would preserve Stan Laurel’s interred ashes. Rev. Castellanos informed us that a memorial plaque would be placed over them.
After that last official act, many expressed condolences to the bereaved family.
As we drove back down that peaceful hillside, I was gratified to think that, although I had witnessed the final curtain on a man’s life, his remarkable image would live on in the hearts of all who have ever seen, or will see, that sweet, befuddled face, or hear that delightful, high pitched giggle which identified Stan Laurel.
Stan and Ollie—“one together is two, and two is never alone.”