Laurel & Hardy – The Collection (21-disc Box Set) [DVD]

This collection has been around for a good few years now, it started of at £200 and even at this high price it was considered a good buy. Over the years the price dropped to as low as £40, but recently it has started creeping up again, this could be because availability is limited so if you just want to cover all your bases and get your collection started then now might be the time. It’s currently available on Amazon for around £99.

Of the 21 disks, all are available separately apart from disk 21  which features:

All the bonus material is interesting to see, but if you’re planning to build your collection over time the don’t worry about missing this stuff.

Here is the full DVD listing for Laurel and Hardy – Collection

As the disks are reviewed individually, the titles will be underlined so you can jump straight to the page.

  • 1. A Chump At Oxford/Related Shorts
  • 2. Classic Shorts/Someone’s Ailing
  • 3. Way Out West/Shorts
  • 4. Classic Shorts/Ollie And Matrimony
  • 5. Our Relations/Dual Roles Shorts
  • 6. Classic Shorts/Murder In The Air
  • 7. Blockheads/Themed Shorts
  • 8. Classic Shorts/Blackmail
  • 9. The Bohemian Girl/Related Shorts
  • 10. Classic Shorts/Be Big/Laughing Gravy
  • 11. Saps At Sea/Themed Shorts
  • 12. Classic Shorts/Laurel And Hardy And The Law
  • 13. Sons Of The Desert/Related Shorts
  • 14. Classic Shorts/A Job To Do
  • 15. Pack Up Your Troubles/Related Shorts
  • 16. Classic Shorts/Maritime Adventures
  • 17. Swiss Miss/Animal Shorts
  • 18. Classic Shorts/Married Life
  • 19. Pardon Us/One Prison Short
  • 20. Classic Shorts/More Brushes With The Law
  • 21. Bonus disc: Original version of Brats (1930), extracts from German version of Pardon Us (1931), Thundering Fleas (1926),Fluttering Hearts (1927), Prudence (1927) and the documentary Laurel & Hardy – A Tribute To The Boys (1991)

Is it worth buying?

Absolutely, if you find it for less than £100 it’s a steal. Anything more than that and you may consider building up your collection over time, however the box looks great and is extremely useful for keeping that many DVDs in the right place. The bonus disk also contains some interesting oddities.

Posted in DVD reviews, Laurel and Hardy Museum Blog, The Movies | 7 Comments

Laurel and Hardy DVDs

At the museum, we usually have a large selection of Laurel and Hardy DVDs for sale. We like to try and help our customers choose the right films and steer them away from the slightly less popular ones. However, not everyone has the same idea. There are many different DVDs available on the internet and not all of them are ideal for the more casual fan.

They’re often called things like The Laurel and Hardy Collection, the title is technically correct, they are films featuring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy; however it is misleading people in that the majority of the films star either Stan or Ollie. Of course, these solo projects have a place, and they’re a fascinating insight into their early careers (many people don’t realise that Oliver Hardy appeared in over 200 films before teaming up with Stan),but it’s easy to imagine buying it only to be disappointed.

This especially confusing if you’re looking for Laurel and Hardy – The Collection, which is a fantastic 21 disk box set of all their best films, or Laurel and Hardy – The Feature Film Collection which is an attractive, value for money set of the feature films with a few shorts thrown in. Don’t worry, reviews of these will follow.

We don’t sell DVDs online, as places like Amazon have the market cornered, but we’d like to help you choose the right film when buying, and avoid disappointment so this section will feature a review of what’s on some of the DVDs available on Amazon. The good and the bad.

Please note, it won’t always be possible to watch the DVD in question, however, the intention is not to analyse the visual quality of each print, more to point out which films are misleading, and which are worth purchasing.

Posted in DVD reviews, The Movies | Tagged , , , | 29 Comments

The Poster From Friends.

For ten years, starting in 1994, one of the most popular shows on TV was Friends. The final episode was watched by over 52 million people in america alone, with a huge following around the world. Many of you will remember the show, and most should remember The Poster From Friends, I certainly do, as I was asked about it on an almost daily basis while in the museum. If I had been able to find that poster for sale at the time, I would have been, well not quite a millionaire, but possibly less worried about my credit status than I am at present. The poster popped into my mind again recently and so I thought I’d see if it was available. Apparently it is, here on Amazon (please note, this is a UK link). There are a few little curiosities I stumble across on the likes of Amazon and eBay so I’ll be sharing anything interesting in this new blog category. If you’ve seen anything unusual, or you’re selling something, let us know at laurelandhardymuseum@gmail.com and put Spotted on the web as the subject line.

Posted in Spotted on the Web | 2 Comments

Open Mic comedy at the Laurel and Hardy Museum

Hopefully by now you’ve heard about our plans to celebrate Stan’s birthday and you’ve decided there’s nowhere you’d rather be that day. If you haven’t, then here is the post about that, and here’s a fun video on how you can help. We’re releasing more details all the time so check back often and don’t forget our Facebook and Twitter accounts. There’s not much more to say about the event at this time, we’re firming up everything in the background and hoping we manage to raise all the money we need!

However, in the run up to the event we’re holding an open mic comedy night at the museum. If you’ve ever fancied doing some stand up this will be a fun night to try your hand. We’ve got a top local compère and a panel of judges who will decide the winner of the event. First prize will be to open for Paul Merton’s impro chum’s at the main event of the festival! If you’d like to give it a go, or you know someone who would, then drop us a line at anotherfinefest@gmail.com and we’ll be in touch.

The open mic night is on Friday 30th of May, tickets will be on sale soon.

Posted in Another Fine Fest | 10 Comments

Another Fine Fest to celebrate Stan’s birthday.

Every year in Harlem, Georgia tens of thousands of people descend on the town to celebrate the birth of Oliver Hardy. It’s the event of the year for that small town in the southern states of America and a fine celebration on their half of our favourite comedy duo.

But what about Ulverston? Well, we’ve had events in the past, most notably in 1990 when thousands visited for the centenary of Stan’s birth, but we’ve really let the side down in recent years. This year we plan to rectify the situation. The Laurel and Hardy museum has teamed up with the Beggar’s Theatre and Cumbria Culture to organise Another Fine Fest, to celebrate the birth of Ulverston’s most famous son.

We have a full day of events planned, there will be live comedy, theatre and performers in the streets all day. Workshops, plays and performances in the museum all free for kids and adults. Free entry to the museum too. The pubs will have music, poetry, comedy; the shops are choosing their favourite joke (L&H or otherwise) to display in the window and will be joining in by wearing bowler hats and bow ties. We’re installing a stage outside the museum with more free entertainment for everyone to enjoy. My co conspirators and I are currently thrashing out the details but we’re really excited and we hope you are too.

Of course, all these free events need to be paid for by someone. That’s why we’ve set up a campaign in Indiegogo to raise a few quid towards getting the best acts we can. Please have a look at the link there’s a video I’m sure you’ll like, kindly shot by the boys at Lucky Dog Theatre Productions, (you can see them at the festival and read my review of their Laurel & Hardy show here)and have a look at the perks available. If you can’t donate then sharing our funding page would be much appreciated.

Finally, a festival needs a headline act, and we’re proud to announce that our will be the fantastic Paul Merton and Chums. Paul needs no introduction, he’s been on our screens for many years. He’s a silent comedy fan too, a knowledgeable one at that, touring and presenting shows about Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and of course Laurel & Hardy. Paul will be bringing his Impro Chums to the Roxy cinema in a show that harks back to Whose Line is it Anyway, taking ideas from the audience to build a truly unique show.

That’s all the news from the festival at the moment, be sure to like the Facebook page, follow the Fest on Twitter and save the date, Saturday 14th of June.

Posted in Another Fine Fest, Laurel and Hardy Museum Blog, Upcoming Ulverston Events | 16 Comments

Ulverston Dickensian Festival

This is the fifteenth year for our Dickensian Christmas Festival, one of the most popular Dickensian Festival event in the country. It attracts thousands of people but its not too packed for visitors and local people to wander around and have a fabulous time and savour the wonderful atmosphere of a traditional market town in the Dickensian era.

As a community event, we rely heavily on local people and as a result we often cannot firm up our exact programme until just before the event itself as we are subject to many last minute changes.

As well as Ulverston’s fantastic specialist shops, great pubs and cafes, cobbled streets and great atmosphere, there is a huge variety of free entertainment, free events for children , costume competitions, balloon modelling, horse drawn carriages, music, dancing. And its all FREE!  Plus a wonderful traditional fairground, complete with Helter Skelter, and lots of music from Folk to Brass Bands.

There is also a fabulous Christmas market, with lots of unusual gifts and festive food.  Plenty of opportunity for Christmas Shopping in a great atmosphere.  Plus lots of places for food and drink and a sit down

Why not come in costume and enter into the spirit of the event and take part in our period dress competition and the grand parade around the town which takes place on both days?

If you would like more information about Ulverston and the area, including accommodation, places to eat, visitor attractions click on this link to take you to one of the main town information sites

http://www.ulverstonfestivaltown.co.uk

Don’t forget, the Laurel and Hardy Museum is hosting a great evening of entertainment on the 22nd & 23rd. For more info and tickets, see here.

Posted in Upcoming Ulverston Events | 2 Comments

Jeffrey Holland makes a triumphant return.

I’ve finally found the time to review our first live show at the museum, …and this is my friend Mr Laurel. As you may have read recently Jeffrey Holland very kindly consented to come to Ulverston to perform his one man show. What a fantastic night we had, with faces old and new joining us to see the show and have a few drinks afterwards.

Jeffrey arrived early and we began setting up the stage lighting, doing sound checks, arranging props. He was lovely to work with, and very understanding of this new stage hand who was learning the ropes. Once the lighting was done and the sound levels checked, we began to run through the audio cues. If you don’t know how this works (I didn’t), I was to follow along with the script as Jeff performed it, starting and stopping the music at the right time as indicated. It’s the sort of thing which nobody notices when it goes right, but when it goes wrong it can ruin the play. Normally an experienced hand would be doing it, but as we didn’t have one of those it was down to me! After we gradually got to the point where I felt confident with my duties, Jeff quickly ran through my cues and we were ready.

The doors opened at 7 and we welcomed fans from all over the country, from South End to Edinburgh, along with plenty from Ulverston to join the fun. A quick drink and a catch up was enjoyed before the audience took their seats for the performance.

Of course, I wasn’t able to watch the show as I was secreted by the stage nervously following along waiting for my cues but the overwhelming response was that it was great show. Certainly from my point of view I could see that a great deal of care and attention had been put into finding the right mix of fun, fact and touching moments from the boys lives. Jeff pulled off a full hour of his monologue without missing a beat, a real professional who knew exactly how to captivate the audience. The applause at the end was well deserved.

After the show, Jeff stayed around to chat with the throng and graciously posed for pictures with fans and answered questions about all manner of subjects, from his career to his love of Laurel and Hardy.

All in all, a fantastic night and I’d like to extend my thanks to Jeff and his charming wife Judy for coming to visit. If you’d like to see Jeff in future shows, his website can be found here. If you’d like to come to the museum for our next event, more details are here.

Posted in Laurel and Hardy Museum Blog | 117 Comments

Hats Off To Laurel and Hardy

Hats off to Laurel and Hardy was written by Philip Hutchinson after he encountered problems touring the well known Tom McGrath play Laurel and Hardy. As a fan of the boys, and an actor, he had wanted to tour the play around small theatres and share their lives. Alas, it was not to be, but after researching the play and recognising that some of the information contained in it is out of date, he decided to write a new show, taking care to present the most accurate accounts he could find.

Philip had contacted the museum some time ago about his show and I was interested to see his results. When he told me that he was bringing it to a Milnthorp, wild horses couldn’t keep me away.

The theatre was the Heron Theatre a very small, community run place in a small village, with an enthusiastic group of volunteers who attract a decent audience for their fortnightly show. I had reserved my ticket on the phone and was extremely embarrassed to find out that they don’t take credit cards on the door, but that’s another story.

The play begins with Stan in the audience waiting for the show to start, Ollie admonishes him and comments on how long it had been since they had last seen each other, Stan agrees and replies “do you remember how dumb I was? Well I’m better now..” So begins a short skit, inspired by Blockheads in which Ollie mistakenly believes Stan to have lost a leg in the war. Ollie carries Stan onto the stage and they begin to recount important events from their lives, in character, to the audience. Their may be a danger that this form of monologue could become slightly flat and boring, however Phillip and Tony intersperse the tales with more live skits, jokes and songs inspired by the films; along with fantastic pre recorded films which are a loving and accurate recreation of some of the best remembered scenes. A  notable one being “Put ‘em up insect, before I comb your hair with lead”, a phrase which will bring a smile to many Laurel and Hardy fans as the boys first time on screen together. It’s a scene which works well, and the films which follow all show a high respect and admiration for their work.

Philip and Tony also pull of the characters nicely. Philip’s ‘Ollie’ successfully managing to stop short of making him seem like a bully, and Tony as Stan perfecting his blank look and trusting demeanour. The accents are good too, Stan’s Americanised Lancashire twang, and Oliver’s southern gentility both come across well.

The information they present is well pitched, there’s plenty of good stuff for the most fervent fan, while not being too in depth so as to put others off. I even learned a few things, and remembered others I’d either forgotten or not thought about for a while. I find it interesting to see how others interpret the information, things such as Laurel and Hardy’s marital histories could be shown in many ways but here it is presented nicely. Not shying away from the facts or sugar coating their problems, but neither did it seek to ‘dig the dirt’ and present our boys as monsters. The characters on stage had made mistakes along the way, had come to terms with them, and moved on.

All things considered, it is a worthy addition to the increasing depictions of our favourite comedians, I had a great night out and I’m very excited that we will be having the show at the museum in the near future. Hats off to Laurel and Hardy will be at the Laurel and Hardy Museum at the end of November.

If that has got you interested in seeing the show, click here to buy tickets.

Posted in Laurel and Hardy Museum Blog | 35 Comments

Dickinson’s Real Deal

Last October I received an email from the producers of Dickinson’s Real Deal (for those of you outside the U.K. you can watch a short clip here) asking if we’d like to be involved in a show they were filming down the road in Barrow-in-Furness. As a part of the show they introduce a local museum or collector to show some of their items to David. It was agreed that we would bring some of Stan’s personal belongings which are on display in the museum. Our most unique and interesting items are three small things which tie together quite well; a hip flask, cigarette case and ashtray.

The first two were given to Stan by his father. Stan’s dad was a theatre manager, and a big name in the North East of England. Although the family moved from the North East to Glasgow, A.J. returned to take over the Eden Theatre, which he had previously managed. On his departure the staff presented him with a small cigarette case and hip flask. Dad gave the items to Stan in 1932, the inscription on the cigarette case reads “from the staff at the Eden Theatre 1925″. It was given to the museum by Stan Laurel’s biographer John McCabe who says in a note to Bill Cubin, founder of the museum, Incidentally, for your museum, would you like to have a cigarette case (silver plated) which belonged to Stan’s dad? Stan gave it to me. It’s a bit battered. “A.J.” is on the outside; on the inside is “from the staff at the Eden Theatre, 1925″. I’ve no idea where the Eden Theatre is (or was) you’d have to track that down. In any case it’s yours for the museum if you’d like it.

The hip flask was bought at auction by lifelong Laurel and Hardy fan, and friend of the museum, Wes Butters. Wes is a former Radio 1 DJ, now working for Radio 4 Extra who has been visiting the museum since childhood. He has very kindly loaned this fantastic item to us and allowed me to take it to the filming. It is inscribed Uncle Jeff, from a few pals at the Eden April 29th 1925 Bp Auckland and underneath To my dear son Stan, from Dad. Aug 1932

The ashtray was bought by Stan after he had suffered from a stroke, he used it around the house to stop him getting ash on the carpet, one of the feet fell off and Stan repaired it with a small screw.

The day was interesting, these things always look so busy on the TV but in reality there weren’t that many people there. It was a full day filming so I’m sure that plenty of people went through the doors but at the time it was pretty quiet. It’s always a case of ‘hurry up and wait’ at these things and so I hung around for a couple of hours until it was my turn to meet David. We set out the items and went through them a couple of times with David asking me questions, each time using slightly more of what I’d said to him in his question, until he had all the information he needed to look like he knew what he was talking about. I’m not suggesting that he’s anything but a fine antiques expert, but it seemed our practice runs were designed to get information from me so that he could use it when the cameras were rolling. In the end I was left slightly at a loss for what to say other than “that’s right” and “correct”, whilst trying to expand slightly in the time allowed, and trying to avoid saying “erm” too much (something nobody notices on TV until they see themselves urm-ing and errr-ing between every word, like the village idiot in a Two Ronnies sketch). I had even showed him how the ashtray would have been used and you can see he picked it up pretty quickly.

It’s always fun to see how these things work behind the scenes and I just thought I’d share a little bit of it with you.

I had almost given up on my small contribution ever being shown until this morning when I opened a letter which informed me that the I will be on this Monday, 23rd September, ITV1 at 2pm.

If you do tune in, please get in touch on Facebook or Twitter and let me know how I did. Just don’t count how many times I said “erm”.

Posted in Laurel and Hardy Museum Blog | 5 Comments

Jeffrey Holland returns to the Laurel and Hardy Museum

Exciting news! We have our first evening performance at the new museum. Following on from our successful event on Ulverston’s Carnival Day earlier in the year (always the first Saturday in July if you’d like to join us next time), I am pleased to announce that Jeffrey Holland (yes, him from Hi-De-Hi) is returning to the museum to perform his new one man play …and this is my friend Mr Laurel. Those of you who know a little about the museum may remember that Jeff first came to the museum in 1983 to cut the ribbon for our first official opening. Since then he has appeared in a string of iconic sitcoms, including It Aint Half Hot Mum, You Rang M’Lord?, Oh Doctor Beeching and of course Hi-De-Hi.

The play features Stan Laurel visiting the sick bed of Oliver Hardy and recounting their past success as the worlds best loved comedy duo. Gail Louw, and Mr Holland himself, spent two years writing and producing this touching and humorous look at the finest comedy double act of their generation.

The play is on the 19th of October, doors open at 7:00pm, prices £12/£10 and tickets can be bought here.

Posted in Laurel and Hardy Museum Blog | 18 Comments