The Lost Films of
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
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Laurel paints the derriere of an unsuspecting passerby in "The Second Hundred Years."

The Team Solidifies (1927)

It's difficult to pin down the single comedy short where Laurel and Hardy become an official team. Some critics and fans opt for "Do Detectives Think?", while others name "Putting on Philip," and yet others name "Duck Soup." The truth is all these shorts were important in one way of another in solidifying the Laurel and Hardy team. But during this early period, Hal Roach also placed them in shorts that were throwbacks to their pre-union status. "Sugar Daddies," for example, was filmed and released after "Do Detectives Think?", but in it Laurel and Hardy don't pal around. They each have their own separate lives. But gradually Hal Roach came to realize that Laurel and Hardy worked best when working together.

"Do Detectives Think?" (1927: vol. 1) introduced Laurel and Hardy in their standard costumes, suits topped by bowler hats. It also featured James Finlayson in the second banana role, a role he would repeat often, much to his chagrin (for he was frequently on the receiving end of their wrath). "Do Detectives Think?" features a wonderful bit of comedy in which the wind blows off both Laurel's hat and Hardy's hat. In the confusion, they pick up the wrong ones. Several minutes later, they're still struggling to get the hats exchanged properly. With a little unintentional sleight of hand, Laurel somehow manages to keep returning his own hat into Hardy's hands. Hardy's big bowler slides down over Laurel's ears, while Laurel's narrow bowler sits high on Hardy's crown.

Immediately after the success of "Do Detectives Think?", Laurel and Hardy starred in "Flying Elephants" (1927: vol. 6)--a short which doesn't allow Laurel and Hardy to interact until near the end. It's a stone age tale (the only non-contemporary comedy short that they both starred in) where Stan and Oliver must follow an edict handed down by King Ferdinand (i.e., the head caveman). The edict says all men from 13 to 95 must get married within 24 hours "under penalty of banishment and death--or both!" But Stan's character bears little resemblance to the one he would play when teamed with Hardy. Here, he prances like a little sprite: "Spring is here. The buttercups are calling me," he says. Eventually, Laurel and Hardy battle for the affections of the same woman.

"Sugar Daddies" (1927: vol. 2) is built around one of the gags from "Love 'Em and Weep"--except this time Laurel (dressed in drag) is placed upon Finlayson's back. And instead of a simple party exit, Finlayson must carry his burden through an amusement park while an escaped murderer pursues him. Unlike their classic comedies to come, Stan and Ollie aren't friends in "Sugar Daddies," and they have little time to work together.

By late 1927, Laurel and Hardy had already appeared together in ten Hal Roach comedies, but starting with "The Second Hundred Years" (1927: vol. 8) Laurel and Hardy were billed as a team (although for this outing, movie posters billed them as "Hardy and Laurel"). Playing convicts known as Big Goofy and Little Goofy, Stan and Oliver slip out of jail, disguised as painters. A suspicious policeman soon begins following them. To look busy, they continue slapping paint on everything as they go -- walls, windows, pavement, automobiles, lampposts, even a woman's bottom!

While waiting for the hair on their shaved heads to grow back after the prison comedy "The Second Hundred Years", Laurel and Hardy made cameo appearances in a Max Davidson comedy called "Call of the Cuckoo" (1927: vol. 1). Along with Charley Chase and James Finlayson, they play loonies at a "training school for radio announcers: The quicker they go daffy, the sooner they get a diploma." They cavort on the lawn next door to Davidson's house and drive him into moving.

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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