Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Raising Our Tankards To Oliver Norvell Hardy On His 120th!
On the topic of celebrating the birthdays of those who have not been physically present here with us for quite a few decades, I am hard pressed to think of another person who brought more joy and laughter to the world than Mr. Oliver Norvell Hardy, A.K.A. "Babe" and "Ollie", born on January 18, 1892.
This scene from The Boys' 1937 feature Way Out West gets me every time.
Unfortunately, the classic comedy films of Laurel & Hardy, once the toast of every capital and a box office hit in the farthest corners of the globe, have receded somewhat in the age of 2500 cable TV channels - and that's too bad.
That is due to the spotty availability of their films, as well as a culture with a very short attention span; the last time Laurel and Hardy comedies were shown regularly on television was nearly 20 years ago (on Sunday mornings, by the American Movie Classics channel).
Until the recent Laurel And Hardy - The Essential Collection DVD release, their films remained largely out of circulation.
Laurel & Hardy silent comedies, including the hilarious You're Darn' Tootin' and Liberty have been posted on Hulu.
Film & Television Archive has launched an ambitious restoration project devoted to Laurel & Hardy. I have posted the piece on the restoration effort by film historian Leonard Maltin before - and it bears repeating.