The Lost Films of
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
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Their first on-screen encounter: Oliver Hardy robs Stan Laurel in "The Lucky Dog."

Pre-Union Solo Efforts (1919-1926)

The first time Laurel and Hardy appeared in the same film it was 1919 and the short was "The Lucky Dog." Their appearance together in this short was wholly accidental. They were not yet a team and they wouldn't be a team for eight more years. "The Lucky Dog" (1919: vol. 3) is the happy result of chance. Laurel is the star of the film. He appears in virtually all the scenes, while Hardy only has a supporting role. They first meet in an alley when Laurel stumbles across a hold-up in progress. Hardy is busy emptying the pockets of a gentlemen when Laurel happens by, chasing "the lucky dog" of the title. In a fortuitous turn, Hardy stuffs the loot into his pocket--only it's not his pocket. Laurel stands so close that Hardy accidentally slips the wad of bills into Laurel's pocket by mistake. This not-so-subtle blending of Hardy into Laurel would become a frequent characteristic of their comedies. In "Angora Love" (1929: vol. 2), for example, Hardy's feet hurt so he closes his eyes and begins to massage a foot--only to discover he's actually massaging Laurel's foot by mistake.

Between "The Lucky Dog" and Laurel and Hardy's official union in (1927), eight years passed. During those years, Laurel and Hardy appeared separately in a variety of shorts. A good sampling of these early shorts (including "The Lucky Dog") is represented on The Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy. Laurel's starring roles frequently bore little resemblance to the character he would play once teamed with Hardy. In "Roughest Africa" (1923: vol. 2), a parody of travelogues, he plays an intrepid explorer who takes on an entire pride of lions. In "Oranges and Lemons" (1923: vol. 2), he plays a mischievous sprite who wreaks havoc at a fruit packaging plant. In "On the Front Page" (1926: vol. 1), he plays a straight-laced butler who eventually loosens up a little bit thanks to a husband-consuming vamp (Lillian Roth). And in "Hustling for Health" (1918: vol. 1), he plays a character in the Charlie Chaplin mold. He even gets the girl in the end. Meanwhile, Hardy took supporting roles in the comedies of several other comedians, including several Charley Chase shorts, such as "Fluttering Hearts" (1927: vol. 5), "Crazy Like a Fox" (1926: vol. 6), and "Bromo and Juliet" (1926: vol. 3).

Hardy also had supporting roles in several Glenn Tryon shorts at Hal Roach Studios. Roach hoped Tryon could fill the shoes vacated by the recent departure of Harold Lloyd. In Tryon's "Along Came Auntie" (1926: vol. 3), Hardy played the third-billed lead. But Tryon never captured a big audience and his shorts are primarily known today for the presence of Hardy.

The Clyde Cook short "Wandering Papas" (1927: vol. 9) is notable as the first Hal Roach Studios comedy upon which both Laurel and Hardy worked. However, in this case, Laurel doesn't appear in front of the camera. He wrote and directed this comedy, with Hardy appearing in a supporting role. Disappointingly, though, this short is not particularly funny. Clyde Cook may have been a hit in his homeland of Australia, but once coming to America, Cook never found much success.

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Page 1 Introduction

Page 2 Pre-Union Solo Efforts (1919-1926)

Page 3 Together … But Not Yet a Team (1926-1927)

Page 4 The Team Solidifies (1927)

Page 5 Classic Comedies (1928-1929)

Page 6 The Transition to Sound (1929)

Page 7 About the DVDs