- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
The New YorkerPut 'em both up, insect, before I comb your hair with lead" is not a promising start to a friendship. But with the first line ever exchanged on film between Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, in "The Lucky Dog" (1921), the two were already "in perfect physical synch," Simon Louvish writes in the forthcoming Stan and Ollie. The pair's humor involved a lot of smashing -- falling crockery, specially built collapsible Model Ts, and the inexplicable flying pie. ("You know, you never saw where it came from," Laurel commented.) The backgrounds of the two men were as distinct as their physiognomies; Arthur Stanley Jefferson, the thin one with the worried face, was from northwest England, and the rotund Oliver Norvell Hardy came from Harlem, Georgia. But over the course of hundreds of shorts and features, "the boys" (often thinly disguised as detectives, sailors, or jailbirds) and their antics brought Depression-era audiences the relief of slapstick misadventure instead of real-life pain. "Ordinary life is fraught with peril," Louvish writes, and it "can be survived only moment by moment."
This was the philosophy, certainly, of the comedic filmmaker and actor Harold Lloyd, most famous as the bespectacled young man clinging to the face of a giant clock in his silent film "Safety Last!" (1923). With almost two hundred films in all, Lloyd was once so popular that he was known to French audiences merely as "lui" (him). Jeffrey Vance and Suzanne Lloyd, in Harold Lloyd: MasterComedian, note that he did not make the transition to talkies easily; the films downplayed the visual gags that were Lloyd's brilliance. "Practically all the gags that I did -- with one or two exceptions -- were all something that could happen," Lloyd said. "It wasn't very probable, but it could happen."(Lauren Porcaro)