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Restored Laurel and Hardy Classics to Be Screened in Santa Monica


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March 28, 2018 -- Comedy legend Stan Laurel, who lived his final years in a Santa Monica apartment, is returning to town on the big screen this weekend in newly restored versions of some of his classic films.

The Laurel and Hardy film series -- which includes shorts, as well as "Sons of the Desert" and "Way Out West," considered by many to be the comedy duo's best features -- takes place Friday through Sunday at the Aero Theater, 1328 Montana Avenue.

Larel and Hardy
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

"Laurel and Hardy were among the most successful and beloved comedy teams in cinema history," event organizers said. "At first glance, the pair could not have been more mismatched -- one thin and childlike onscreen, the other heavyset and haughty.

"Perhaps it was these complementary styles that made the partnership so enduring, lasting nearly 30 years with appearances in more than 100 films together."

The series kicks off Friday at 7:30 p.m. with a screening of "Way Out West" restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. In the 1937 film, Stan and Ollie are entrusted to deliver the deed to a gold mine to an old prospector's daughter, who is victimized by her cruel guardians at a saloon.

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"After being tricked out of it by nefarious saloon keeper Jimmie Finlayson (the man who taught Homer Simpson to say 'D'oh!'), the two tenderheels must retrieve the deed and rescue the rightful heiress," event organizers wrote.

Friday's program includes the 1927 legendary short “The Battle of the Century," which was long lost and includes what is considered the "greatest pie fight ever filmed," organizers said. A newly restored version of the 1929 short “Berth Marks” also will be screened.

Saturday's showcase includes the 1939 feature "The Flying Deuces" fully restored from 35mm elements. In the film, the boys get into another fine mess when they join the French Foreign Legion to mend Ollie's broken heart after he falls for a Paris innkeeper’s daughter.

The program includes a screening of the newly restored 1932 short “The Chimp” and 1932's "The Music Box,” which won an Oscar for Best Comedy Short, in a photochemically preserved and restored version.

The series concludes Sunday with "Sons of the Desert," widely considered Laurel and Hardy's best feature. In the 1933 film,, Stan and Ollie lie to their wives in order to attend a fraternal convention in Chicago, only to find their cover story backfire.

The legendary comedy duo first met in 1921 at the Hal Roach Studios in Hollywood. Hardy, who has born in Georgia, had woked in the booming pre-WWI Florida movie industry, while English-born Laurel had traveled to America as a part of Fred Karno’s troupe, where he was understudy to Charlie Chaplin.

Laurel would spend his final years in Santa Monica, living with his wife Ida at what is today the Oceana Beach Club Hotel from 1958 to his death in 1965 ("Postcards From Ocean Avenue: Stan Laurel's Final Years," April 1, 2011).

Laurel and Hardy likely shot only one film in Santa Monica, the 1928 silent film “Two Tars,” which is thought to have been filmed near what is now the Santa Monica Airport.

In the film, Laurel and Hardy rent a car to take girls around town, only to be caught in a massive traffic jam that triggers the slow demolition of vehicles by outraged drivers.

For more in formation on the series this weekend click here.

The UCLA Film and Television Archive is currently conducting an online fundraising campaign to restore the great Laurel and Hardy short "The Perfect Day." To date, about $32,000 of the $45,000 goal has been raised. For more information click here.


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