Friday, January 9, 2015

Laurel and Hardy and The Cuckoo Dance!


Over 50 years after the deaths of both actors Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel, their favorite  National Cuckoo Dancing Week is a silly celebration from January 11th through the 17th, celebrating the famous comedic duo and their theme song "The Cuckoo Dance." Their theme song played during the credits at the opening and during the closing of the film. It was so well established as their signature tune, that the moment the audience heard it, they began to laugh before either of the funny men appeared on the screen.They knew they were in for another hilarious romp with these two zany funsters. Marvin Hatley, the musical director at Hal Roach Studios, where most of Laurel and Hardy films were made, created "The Dance of the Cuckoos" theme, copyrighted as  "KuKu." 

Fun At The Movies

My mom and dad always took me to see Laurel and Hardy movies, because they knew I loved them so much. They were hilarious and had the entire audience roaring with laughter. Oliver Hardy was the round one, and Stan Laurel was the skinny one. Each of them had their own little "pieces of business" that they did onscreen, including Hardy's flipping his tie and saying, "Well that's another fine mess you've got me into," to Laurel's taking off his bowler hat, scratching the top of his head, and seeming to be crying. Together they delighted audiences, old and young, worldwide. A Laurel and Hardy film was always a sellout at any movie theater.
Englishman and American Worked So Well Together

Stan Laurel was an Englishman, and Oliver Hardy was an American. They officially became a team in 1927 and kept at it until the 1950s, when they retired. They were a "triple threat" in that they first appeared in over 30 short silent films, then 40 short sound films, and progressed to 23 feature films. Audiences always knew they were in for some laughs and a good time. The duo "played off" of each other so well, that they almost seemed spontaneous, rather than scripted.

 "That's another fine mess you've got me into." ~ Oliver Hardy

"I was dreaming I was awake - then I woke up and found meself asleep!" ~ Stan Laurel

 The famous pair doing the Cuckoo Dance.

The End - of Oliver and Hardy

Oliver Hardy

Movies at the time of Laurel and Hardy always closed with "The End" on the screen. The end came for Oliver Hardy on August 7, 1957, when he died of a stroke. Although he was the rotund one of the team, he had lost over 100 pounds under doctor's orders, trying to improve his health. It's been said that he weighed less than 140 pounds at the time of his death. He is buried at Valhalla North Park, Hollywood, California.

Stan Laurel

Laurel became somewhat of a recluse after Hardy's death. He refused to appear onscreen, even though he was offered several film roles. He died on February 23, 1965 of a heart attack and was buried in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California.

Celebrate and remember these two comedic icons between January 11 through the 17. Watch their films, do their dance, whatever zany thing you can imitate that they did. Though they are gone, we will never forget them and the laughter they brought to us.

More Cuckoo Dancing and Laurel and Hardy Information.

    Laurel and Hardy Museum UK
    Laurel and Hardy Places to Visit