description, 'Everywhere they went they were mobbed by thousands of
adoring fans' might make one think that the subjects of this book are
mop-haired singers from Liverpool, but one would be wrong: for the
predate by some thirty years the mob hysteria which came to be known as
Beatlemania, and were caused by the appearances of a
English comedian and a rather large American actor who, together,
the funniest comedy duo of all time.
& HARDY - The British
Tours is the first documentary of their three post-war
It covers their shows in detail, including the critical reviews at the
Every theatre engagement and every act they worked with during the two
in total spent in Britain is recorded. Readers are also given a full
of their travel arrangements, the hotels they stayed in, the people
met, and of Stan's visits to his former homes and the theatres he
as a juvenile.
and radio appearances; previously undocumented charity shows;
public appearances; the contents of rare film footage are fascinatingly
disclosed. Show business celebrities Norman Wisdom, Ray Alan and
Goodwright, along with support acts from the Laurel and Hardy
give anecdotes about these two most respected of comedians; and large
contributions were made by the two men responsible for introducing
and Hardy to the British Variety Theatre - Lord Delfont and Billy
But the book is more than just an extended
it is an account of the love which the
British retained for the two Hollywood comedians after Hollywood had
turned its back on them.
It is a story of two brilliant performers who had to learn to adapt
from film- to stage-work, and
survive through the changing modes of comedy and the changing moods
of theatre audiences.
It is also a story of two men, handicapped by age and illness,
overcoming the exhaustion of
touring and performing up to thirteen shows per week. All is brought to
light in this engaging book.
The early chapters reveal many
of the first twenty-two years of Laurel's life spent
in his home country of England, especially his years
touring the British music halls, when he was the
unknown comedian Arthur Stanley Jefferson.
Many previously unrecorded dates and theatrical
reviews of his appearances including those with The Fred Karno Company of Comedians,
as understudy to Charlie Chaplin are listed.
The short publicity tour of
which Laurel and Hardy made in 1932
is also featured. This whirlwind tour of public appearances between
London and Glasgow is recounted so well that the reader will feel he is
travelling with them. The crowds of thousands who mobbed Laurel and
Hardy, and left them reeling from the onslaught, are graphically
and the resultant feelings of the two recipients, on discovering for
first time that they were famous outside of America, is admirably
To compile LAUREL and HARDY - The
Tours the author spent hundreds of hours poring over old
and an equal amount of time in interviewing waitresses, taxi drivers,
receptionists, hoteliers, theatre managers, stage staff, and Laurel's
Journalists who, in turn, interviewed Laurel and Hardy, and members of
public who met them, all help to complete the picture of this missing
in the careers of the world's greatest comedy duo.
Tours is extensively illustrated with
previously unpublished photographs, and is the book that every true fan
been waiting for.
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