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Laurel and Hardy were a British-American comedy team during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema, consisting of Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957). Starting their career as a duo in the silent film era, they later successfully transitioned to "talkies". From the late 1920s to the mid-1950s, they were internationally famous for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy, childlike friend to Hardy's pompous bully. Their signature theme song, known as "The Cuckoo Song", "Ku-Ku", or "The Dance of the Cuckoos" (by Hollywood composer T. Marvin Hatley) was heard over their films' opening credits, and became as emblematic of them as their bowler hats.
|Laurel and Hardy
|Notable works and roles
|The Music Box, Babes in Toyland, Way Out West, Helpmates, Another Fine Mess, Sons of the Desert, Block-Heads, Busy Bodies, Towed in a Hole
|Ulverston, Cumbria, England
Prior to emerging as a team, both had well-established film careers. Laurel had acted in over 50 films, and worked as a writer and director, while Hardy was in more than 250 productions. Both had appeared in The Lucky Dog (1921), but were not teamed at the time. They first appeared together in a short film in 1926, when they signed separate contracts with the Hal Roach film studio. They officially became a team in 1927 when they appeared in the silent short Putting Pants on Philip. They remained with Roach until 1940, and then appeared in eight B movie comedies for 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1941 to 1945. After finishing their film commitments at the end of 1944, they concentrated on performing stage shows, and embarked on a music hall tour of England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. They made their last film in 1950, a French–Italian co-production called Atoll K.
They appeared as a team in 107 films, starring in 32 short silent films, 40 short sound films, and 23 full-length feature films. They also made 12 guest or cameo appearances, including in the Galaxy of Stars promotional film of 1936. On December 1, 1954, they made their sole American television appearance, when they were surprised and interviewed by Ralph Edwards on his live NBC-TV program This Is Your Life. Since the 1930s, their works have been released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 8-mm and 16-mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home videos. In 2005, they were voted the seventh-greatest comedy act of all time by a UK poll of professional comedians. The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is The Sons of the Desert, after a fictional fraternal society in the film of the same name.
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