I don’t normally recommend a book I haven’t yet read, but I
can’t wait to get the word out about Laurel
& Hardy On Stage!: Rare and Unreleased Live Performances 1942-1957 (Tefteller
Publishing). Its co-author, Randy Skretvedt, handed me a copy yesterday. When I
glanced at the pictures on the front and back cover of this handsome, oversized
volume a big smile came over my face. I’d never seen either photo before, and
frankly, they’re worth the price of the book all by themselves.
But wait, as they say on those infomercials, there’s more!
This book discusses Stan and Ollie’s personal appearances during World War Two (with
the Hollywood Victory Caravan) and their later overseas tours, with scores of
never-before-published photos and the original script of their tried-and-true skit
“The Driver’s License.” Peter Mikkelsen contributes essays and photos covering the
duo’s travels to Denmark, augmented by Stan Laurel’s personal souvenir album.
This book would not exist without John Tefteller’s lifelong
love of Laurel and Hardy. He not only published the book, but contributes an
affectionate and informative foreword, in which he explains how he came upon
the rare recordings that appear on CD, enclosed on the inside cover. I never
thought I would get a chance to hear the wonderfully silly “Driver’s License”
sketch, but now I have—recorded twice, once in Dayton, Ohio and once, as part
of a longer performance in Copenhagen, Denmark—along with the pilot for their
1944 radio show and a lengthy interview with Stan Laurel conducted one week
after Oliver Hardy’s death in 1957.
All of this warms my heart. If you love L&H, I’m sure
you’ll feel the same way. You can order your copy and learn more about the book
If you’re a Laurel and Hardy buff, you already know Randy
Skretvedt as the author of Laurel and
Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies. First published in 1987, and revised
twice since then (in 1994 and 1996), it is about to be reissued yet again in a
major expansion that will more than double the size of the original book. Randy
is a prodigious researcher, and I look forward to his magnum opus, set to be
published by Bonaventure Press.