Laurel and Hardy fan club revived in Carlisle
by Pam McClounie
Slapstick comedy kings Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy reeled out their funny double act in more than 100 films.
Now the genius of the pair can be celebrated in Carlisle.
Ollie played the overweight rhetorical brains of the lovable pair, and Stanley the bumbling soul whose ideas often got them into “another fine mess”.
Fans of the films are now in for a treat with the revival of a club called Them Thar Hills Carlisle.
The club used to run in the 80s but folded. Now a young painter and decorator from the city is reviving it.
George Cullen, 20, said: “My mum’s partner got me into the films when I was a boy.
“He didn’t think I’d like them as they are in black and white but I loved them. My interest stemmed from there really.”
The new club will meet for the first time on March 7 at the Ex-Servicemen’s Club on Albert Street at 8pm.
“We’ve got a Facebook page but I’m not sure how many people to expect. I just don’t know.
“The idea is generally to watch some films and do some quizzes and just chat about Laurel and Hardy,” said George, of Harraby, Carlisle.
He added: “It’s free and the idea is to get future generations to learn about Laurel and Hardy. If they don’t they’re missing out.
“I heard the other day that it’s 20 years since the films were shown on TV. They stopped showing them when videos came out.
“For me I’ve never had a personal favourite film. I like the first one, Scram, but a true fan likes them all.”
Laurel and Hardy first appeared at Her Majesty’s Theatre on Lowther Street in Carlisle in 1954. They stayed at the County Hotel.
After an interview with Dick Allen of The Cumberland News, reports say that Ollie went over to the Howard Arms, for a glass of State Management mountain water with the reporter.
Laurel, who was from Ulverston, met Hardy and officially teamed up in 1927 with the release of Duck Soup.
Today, there is a small museum in the south Cumbrian town dedicated to Stan Laurel.
The famous comedian’s film career spanned 35 years and an incredible 182 films.
George said: “I went to Ulverston in 2009 and was standing a few metres away from Ken Dodd when he unveiled a statue of Stan Laurel.”
Laurel and Hardy were one of the most critically-acclaimed comedy teams of early American cinema. Their films during the 1920s and 1930s included classics such as The Music Box, Sons Of The Desert and Way Out West.
Laurel died in 1965 aged 74 in hospital at Santa Monica, California, after a heart attack.
Hardy had died eight years before aged 65.
Each year Ulverston hosts a festival to mark Laurel’s birthday.
Another Fine Fest features live bands, acoustic acts, circus performers and artists.
For more information contact George on 07581 393022 or email Themtharhillscarlisle@yahoo.com