Letter from Stan Laurel to Glenn Laxton

Dear Glenn Laxton:
                Thanks yours of Jan.27th.
Interesting to know you are now rehearsing a show - two months seems to be a long time for that, but maybe you do'nt rehearse everyday or evening - I imagine most of the players have other interests & can only be there at certain times.
    Re the L&H films, we never had regular rehearsals as is the custom of stage shows, for the reason we never had complete scripts, so we'd talk over each scene as we came to it, then run through it with action on the set, & if it felt good we'd shoot it, & if it was'nt just right, it was made again with necessary changes.
    I do'nt recall the title of the first short we made, that was over 30 years ago - we made over 200 films, so its difficult to remember.
    No, my family were never in films, either here or in England, they were strictly theatrical. All but my Sister & I have since passed on - she & her husband have a little hotel near Nottingham, Eng. She retired from the business in 1932.
    I have a few of the L&H scripts but they are packed away & in Storage - I doubt if they would be of use to anyone, as they were only rough outlines of story ideas & without dialogue - gags or routines, so they would be of no value for stage presentation.
    The pictures of my family are too stored away.
    What type of part are you playing in "TIME LIMIT"? wish you lots of success & good luck.
    My regards,
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.


My Dear Trixie [Wyatt]:
                Thanks yours, Jan.29th.
It was nice to hear from you again & to know alls well & happy with.
    Pleased you recd. the lipstick OK. only sorry it arrived so late - we intended that the Store would send it Air Mail, but evidently they did'nt.
    I too had a nice letter from Jack Graham, but no word from Jackie Harrison.
    I was surprised to know the empire was open again & playing Panto - are they going to continue with 'Variety' again? I do'nt know that picture house you mention thats going to be torn down.
    May Gibson wrote me at Xmas, she's living at St.Annes-On-Sea (Nr.Blackpool) her Sister Addie & her brother Percy are with her too - do you ever hear from her? Nothing much exciting to tell you dear, so all for now. Love & kind thoughts from us both here.
    Take care of yourself Trixie.
    Good luck & God Bless.
                As ever:
Stan Signature                 xxxxxx


I expected him to have the courtesy to acknowledge my letter. If I don’t hear soon, I’ll get a piece of cardboard and write him a STIFF note.

Stan Laurel

Dear Ernie [Murphy]:
                Thanks yours,4th.inst.
Happy to hear the good news re the tests & Xrays - there's no doubt now your trouble is arthritis. Unfortunately there is no cure for that ailment as yet, so I guess you'll just have to learn to live with it & resort to any relief you can get. Your case does'nt sound too bad Ernie, you seem to get instant relief with the pad etc. I know many cases where heat treatments have no effect at all - they constantly suffer with it no matter what they try (luck o'the Irish again.!!)
    Glad Senor Langer recd. the picture OK & was so enthused with it - if his friend calls from New York, I'll swear I never heard of Langer.!! you will probably get some frantic calls. Incidently, I expected him to have the courtesy to acknowledge my letter - if I do'nt hear soon, I'll get a piece of cardboard & write him a STIFF note. As Babe would say; 'T'was ever thus.'
    That was certainly nice of Neill to keep you on the payroll (there goes the Shamrock again.!!)
    I never realised that Florida was damp, was always under the impression it was very dry Country - I guess it used to be in the days of prohibition.
    Yes you told me about Madam Queen taking a 'Flying gruesome' down the steps - that'll learn 'er.!
    Did you hear this story?
    A wild Zebra was captured on the Plains of Africa & was shipped to a Zoo, it was unattended on arrival & strayed away - wandered into a nearby farmyard & for the first time saw a Hen, a cow & a Bull who were standing in a group, it said to the hen, 'What are you?
    HEN: I'm a hen.
    ZEB: what do you do?
    HEN: I lay eggs.
    ZEB: (to Cow) what are you?
    COW: I'm a Cow & I give milk.
    ZEB: (to Bull) & what are you?
    BULL: I'm a Bull.
    ZEB: oh, & what do you do?
    Fortunately, the trainer from the Zoo arrived in time & saved the Zebra from being severely Raped.
    We are having stormy weather here, lots of rain & heavy winds - MY lovely California, MY beautiful climate, MY ASS!!"
    Lucille Hardy dropped in to see us the other night - High as a Kite. She lives alone now in an Apt. in North Hollywood (moved from her Mother's place). Her marriage plans did'nt materialize for some reason - maybe her fondness for the Bottle dept. That you remember was Babe's [Hardy's] and her's favourite indoor sports - too bad.
    All for now Ernie. Take good care of yourself.
    Kind thoughts from us both here.
    God bless.
                As ever:
Stan Signature

Letter from Stan Laurel to Marie Hatfield

Dear Marie Hatfield:
                Thanks yours,8th.inst.
Glad you enjoyed "Chump At Oxford" film, unfortunately so much of it is missing on TV - wish you could have seen it in its original length & without that Commercial interference.
    I sure got a kick out of your Duck episode - its sure cute - good thing you have'nt got a swimming pool, am afraid you'd have a permanent boarder to take care of.
    I used to raise ducks on my little Ranch in the valley, so am very familiar with their characteristics, so interesting to watch.
    The weather here is stormy too, lots of rain & heavy winds - pretty dismal. Anyway, we needed the rain badly, it will do a lot of good.
    We both here are feeling pretty good & so far fortunately we escaped the Flu business, of course I seldom go outdoors, so am not exposed to it.
    Again, best wishes from us both here to Your Mother, Bob & self.
    Cheerio & God Bless.
                As ever:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.

Autographed Photo
Note from the Editor

This 3" x 5" late-1930s publicity pose of Stan and Ollie features printed signatures. Stan personally wrote in fountain pen: “Happy memories Gary & Lucy! Love —Stan,” and added “Stan Laurel” below his image. The picture is in a thick 6" x 8" frame, and Lucy and Gary proudly displayed it in their home. From The Lucille Ball/Gary Morton Collection.


Dear Mr. [Frank] Buxton:
    Thanks yours, 9th.inst. with enclosure of snapshots taken from the film "The Pest". They are indeed very interesting - this picture was made by the once famous 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, who was I believe the first Cow-Boy Star in Movies, long before Tom Mix & W.S. Hart.
    Note you will be out here in March, so I shall look forward to the pleasure of meeting you - my phone is EXbrook 3-5656, please give me a call so we can arrange a convenient date. I appreciate your kind suggestion regarding lunch, but due to my health condition, am sorry this is not possible. Otherwise, I would be delighted to join you.
    My kindest regards,
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.

Frank Buxton Adds

The photos I sent Stan from The Pest were taken at a screening of the film at MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art) in New York.


My Dear Fred [Karno Jr.]:
                Thanks yours,4th.inst.
Sorry to note your Summer Season was'nt too profitable for you - anyway as long as you managed to clear expenses & a week's trip to Town, 'Wot could be fairer or Squarer than that'.
    Yes,I heard about the Duke of Edinburgh being made a 'Water Rat' - 'I 'opes 'e pays 'is bloody dues'!! 'we carnt 'ave any of that nonsense yer know' saucey little nipper.!! 'oo does he thinks 'e is.
    I too was sorry to hear the sad news of 'Nip' Lane - it was quite a shock. Too bad this had to happen - he made great contribution to the Theatre throughout his career.
    Interesting to know that Michael got married. Please convey my congratulations to them both - wish them lots of happiness & success.
    Thats incredible, only two 'Halls' running Variety in London. Whoever thought that this would happen - frankly, I do'nt blame Television entirely for this, its partly the fault of lousey managements & those 'Flesh Peddlers' (Agents), there are no real showmen today - the business just deteriorated in every respect.
    No, am not doing anything Freddie - after my stroke in '55. I was forced into permanent retirement. Anyway I have no regrets - I had a pretty good 'Innings' & after all I'm in my 70's now, so have no desire to return to the Bus. Let the young'uns take the Nap & fall on their 'Jacksy'.
    Note the possibility re the sketches on TV. sincerely hope a deal will materialize for you - if they are brought up to date think they would be very successful - wish you lots of luck in this venture. Incidently, did you know that Con West died last year?.
    Amy Reeves dropped in to see me recently, we had a wonderful time remeniscing. She wished to be remembered to you - Amy is 79 now, & looks very good for her age.
    Well, nothing much new to tell you Freddie, so all for now.
    Mrs L. joins in kind thoughts to yourself, Olive & family.
    Take care of yourself.
    Good luck & God Bless.
                Yer old China.
Stan Signature

Notes from the Editor

The Grand Order of Water Rats is an entertainment industry charity group based in London, England founded by comedian Joe Elvin in 1889. The charity raises money by organizing shows, lunches, dinners and other events. There have been many household names who have been members of The Grand Order of Water Rats, but none come bigger than Stan and Ollie themselves, Water Rats 465 and 466.

“Take the nap” is an old Music Hall term for being slapped on stage and “jacksie” is cockney slang for the bottom or backside.


My Dear Peter Preece:
    Thank you for your very nice letter of the 12th.inst. I deeply appreciated your kind thoughts & sentiments which prompted your gracious gesture to make me an honorary member of the Shoreham Angling Club. I indeed would be very delighted to have this association. However, first I must tell you, that the article you read in the 'Daily Mail' (I presume that is what you are referring to) is greatly exaggerated & far from being true - I too was shocked when I read it & will never understand why this reporter, Jeffrey Blyth gave such a false impression, utterly ridiculous & unfounded - in the first place, his visit with me was not intended as an interview, just a friendly social call, so you can imagine my great surprise when I started to receive so many sympathetic letters, unfortunately this article was syndicated around the World, so the letters have been coming in from several Foreign Countries - needless to tell you, its quite embarrassing and humiliating even if it were so. Anyway, please rest assured I am very happy & content in my retirement, comfortably secure Life Annuity, plus property income etc. - 'wot could be fairer or squarer than that'.
    My only regret is, I am not able to continue my favourite sport, Sword Fishing. Due to the after effects of my slight stroke I suffered in '55. am not to active anymore, its too strenuous for me. I was a Gold Button member of the Avalon Tuna Club at Catalina Island for several years - had a nice 45ft. boat fully equipped for fishing, twin Hall-Scott motors (275 H.P. each) with a speed of 22 knots. During World War II, the Navy took over Island (Catalina) for a training station, so no private craft was allowed in those waters, so I decided to get rid of it - no sense in letting it rot in Dry Dock.
    Again my sincere thanks Mr Preece - I greatly value your friendly concern.
    My kindest regards & every good wish,
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.

Stan Laurel's Yacht
Note from the Editor

Stan Laurel owned his yacht from 1935-1938 and loved it so much that when he sold it he kept the ship’s clock and displayed it on his desk right next to his trusty typewriter where it remained until the day he died in 1965.


Mr Hardy and I never mixed socially—occasionally only at some affairs that were necessary to attend together.

Stan Laurel

Dear Glenn Laxton:
                Thanks yours,24th.inst.
Pleased to know you finally acquired a Tape recording of "Lazy Moon" - congratulations. Interesting to read your description of the reaction of your friends at the party, & being so impressed - I guess they were surprised to hear Mr Hardy singing for a change. He also sang in "Beau Hunks", "Way out West" & "Flying Deuces", maybe sometime they will be shown on TV again & you could make a Tape of those - you will probably remember those films.
    No, have heard nothing further in regard to the book - the temperory title is "Mr Laurel & Mr Hardy", its subject to change by the publisher if he so desires.
    There was some negotiation & discussion to make a film of L&H by Mickey Rooney & Jackie Gleason but it did'nt materialize, however it was'nt to be a Life Story, just a comedy using the characters of L&H. It was rumoured that Jack Webb had the same idea in mind, but he never approached us, so do'nt know much about it.
    No, Mr Hardy & I never mixed socially, occasionally only at some Affairs that were necessary to attend together. We each had our own circle of friends, he liked to play golf, horse racing, cards etc. & my pleasure was Sword Fishing, I had a nice boat & was a gold button member of the Avalon Tuna Club on Catalina Island for many years, so of course we seldom saw each other between films.
    I only knew Humphrey Bogart by reputation - never met him - frankly there were very few of them that I knew personally, just a nodding acquaintance you might say.
    Note you are playing the Lead in "A Woman's Privilege" next month - wish you lots of good luck Glenn & big success, am sure you're looking forward to it.
    Re the idea of corresponding on Tape: This is a bit difficult for me Glenn, you see, due to the effect of my stroke, I have a slight impediment in my speech, its not too bad, but I am a bit concious of it, its hard for me to pronounce some words which makes me nervous, especially speaking into a 'mike,' very disturbing to me indeed - during normal conversation with anyone, it does'nt bother me much as I do'nt have to talk continuously. Several of my friends correspond to me on tape, but I always acknowledge in writing. Hope you will understand my situation - otherwise I would have been delighted to use this method.
    I have no particular favorite among our films - I was never fully satisfied with any - those you mentioned had some funny spots in them, but on the whole I was'nt too enthusiastic.
    Think thats all for now - Mrs L. joins in regards to Self & family.
    Again, lots of success in the show.
                Sincerely always:
Stan Laurel Signature                 STAN LAUREL.

Note from the Editor

A Woman's Privilege was a one-act comedy written by Marrijane and Joseph Hayes in 1947.

Laurel & HardyToby Mugs


Dear Jennie & Jack [Racey]:
                Thanks yours,17th.inst.
Note you took a trip to Toledo - hope you had a nice time & was'nt too strenuous for you Jack.
    Interesting to hear about the 'Toby Mugs', I did'nt know anything about them. No we gave no permission to use our picture on these mugs - I would very much like to get a couple of them, also Lhc name of the manufacturers & the cost etc. so I can have my attorney check on it, they have no right to take such a liberty. I would appreciate if Rose would contact the Store where she bought them in Canada & have them send me four of the mugs C.O.D. or I can send her a cheque for them, as I would need them for evidence - one set I would like to keep for myself.
    I have a couple of bottle stoppers (pourers) with the heads of L&H which were sent to me from England - am trying to find out where they are made - no permission was given them either. I guess since Hardy passed away they think they have every right to use our characters.
    A few weeks in that new rehabilitation center might do you a lot of good Jack, no doubt they will have lots of modern equipment & therapy ideas that will be very helpful to you - would'nt be surprised if they had a machine like a rotator to teach you to turn in bed. You'd look like a Turkey cooking in an oven.!!', but do'nt let them Stuff you Jack.!! after all 'ENOUGH'S ENOUGH'.
    Everything here is as usual, so not much exciting to tell you. Weather quite dull, rain & fog - so foggy you can't see your hand behind your back.!!
    Bye now. Kind thoughts from us both here.
                As ever:
Stan Signature                 STAN LAUREL.

Stan Watermark