Ask Lois Laurel-Hawes  

December 2011

Hi Lois how are you ? I hope your feeling better. About that very funny movie your dad had the idea about you know the one about the long steps delivering a piano? Lol'"  I use to live off that street silverlake blvd in the late 70's . Are those steps still there today and did your dad and Oliver really go up all of those steps to the very top carrying that heavy piano up to that house so many times ? Lol'  And did the piano really slide down all of those steps ? Lol" Such a funny movie , Also do you like the color version ? Take care Lois and a very Happy 2012!

Robert Snyder (Usa White Plains Md)

"Of course I was not there when they made the film, but obviously it was a lot of hard physical labor. What you see is what they did. Yes, those steps are still there, and fans visit them whenever they come to Los Angeles. I prefer to see the films in black and white."
For more details on how the film was made, see the MUSIC BOX essay here on the website.

Hello Lois. I hope you are well! Did you ever visit the sets of Laurel and Hardy and did your dad ever show you around? What was it like? Thank you very much,

Thomas Smit (13)

"That's my great-grandson's name. Yes, I visited sets all over Hal Roach Studio all the time. I had friends there and it was a wonderful playground for me."

are you the only child your father had and how about oliver hardy did he have any children and if so are they alive?

india smith (irvington nj)

"Mr. Hardy had no children, and I had a younger brother who lived only a short time."

Where was Laurel & Hardy born and did they ever appear at Southend-on-Sea, UK, as my Grandad seems to think he saw them there!  Personally I think he's going senile but we would like to ask.

Thank you and a Happy New Year
Lois O'Flaherty (aged 8) UK

"Yes, they did appear there. I visited there myself with my late husband, Tony Hawes, and my cousin, Nancy Wardell."

Since it is almost Christmas, I thought I'd ask if you could recall any of your father or Uncle Babe's favorite Christmas songs or movies(if any)?
In closing, I would like to wish you and your family a merry Christmas!

Tony Bensley (Canada/North Bay)

"Not sure about Babe's favorites, but my father liked his own BABES IN TOYLAND as a Christmas movie. He was, however, a little moody around this time of year, as I have explained in the past. Babe always visited our house at Christmas, as he did not have kids. I particularly remember he would come over to Fort Laurel on Christmas day without fail."

hi. i am from the other part of the earth. from old times even our iliterate grandma and grandpa knew laurel & hardy and still at 2011 at festive times the national tv broadcast their old movies and even though they are re-run broadcasts that people have seen them 1000 times, they are still popular and people get in fornt of tv with massive enthusism and watch it for 1001 time. this describes their popularity at this part of the world in 2011.

my question is this?

were stan laurel and oliver hardy aware of their influence on people? i mean did they knew people loved them and they actually were the most popular comedians at the time and even after decades they still are? did they knew that for generation world will not have comedians like them? did they knew people will miss them so much?
thank you very much


They knew how popular they were because in touring after the war the public showed their affection."

hello im alexandra and im only 14 im a big fan of stan laurel and oliver question is when you spent time with your farther was funny as in the films or was he serious.and what did activities did you do dont have to tell me if its personal

maria alexandra (england wellingborough)

"My father was funny sometimes, of course, but he was just my father, like any father, I suppose. He was a wonderful father, and we did all the kinds of things any family would do."

hello again just one more questions (at least we're not face to face otherwise you would never get rid of me)in the film "a chump at oxford" did they really film there,because if they did i want to go in that place were they got lost ohh i forgot the name well as when i was watching sons of the deserts betty says that stanley could'nt swim is that true or not. my last question is in sons of the deserts (just an example) when lottie kept throwing plates at him what equipment did they use because i dont think that was a real was a pleasure and honor to talk to you. hope you read my letter.Have a merry chrstmas and a happy newyear.

maria alexandra (england wellingborough)

"It is true that my father was not a swimmer, but he loved fishing and boating. The scenes in A CHUMP AT OXFORD were done inside a stage at Hal Roach Studios. And they often used breakaway props so that the actors would not get hurt."

Hello, Lois and a happy birthday to you.  I wish you all the very best.  As a writer, using my pen name of Christopher Carr, I have been developing some short stories titled, "Who's Got Talent?", for my 12 year old daughter, Kimberley, and, for some inexplicable reason, I included your father in the story.  He appears as a magician and illusionist to help Kimberley overcome her lack of confidence and my question is : was he interested in magic?  I understand that, when you were about my daughter's age, you appeared in "Swiss Miss".  Did you suffer from stage fright, at that time?

John Raynor (Manchester, U.K.)

Dear John,
Lois is not feeling well today. But I spoke with her over the weekend and we talked about the beautiful new movie from Martin Scorcese called HUGO. Johnny Depp is a producer.
The film is set in Paris in 1931. I told Lois they excerpt footage from the Hal Roach feature starring Harold Lloyd, SAFETY LAST, and that also on prominent display in key scenes is a 1924 Hal Roach 1-sheet poster for a Charley Chase short subject titled WHY MEN WORK (see attached). Several reviews of HUGO mention Hal Roach, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton, as artists whose work fostered wonderful dreams for characters in the film and constituted "singular instances of brilliance now turned into grand collective memories."
Ben Kingsley, who won the Oscar for GANDHI, stars as Georges Melies, the pioneering French filmmaker who invested his fantastic movies, such as A TRIP TO THE MOON (1902), with magic and ingenious tricks more than a century ago. But then the movie industry quickly passed him by, leaving Melies a tragic figure, which is part of the story told in HUGO. The movie in fact features a subtext proselytizing for film history awareness and also film preservation (Scorcese is a strong advocate of film preservation). This is a welcome but unlikely basis for a contemporary, mass market motion picture costing the staggering amount of $170 million!
Anyway, in discussing all this, Lois Laurel surprised me by recalling something I had never heard before. At some point in his career, Stan Laurel met Melies. "My father mentioned this several times," Lois remembered. "He was a fan, and wanted to find and meet Melies (who died in 1938), evidently in Paris. He would say, 'What a genius this man was,' and that he should have taken Melies's advice. I don't remember, just now, what the advice was, however."
I will ask again, in hopes the answer may surface on a day when Lois feels better. Or perhaps Laurel himself offered the answer in one of his thousands of letters written to fans and friends over the years.   
Obviously Stan Laurel did have some interest in magic. Dante the Magician is prominently featured in A-HAUNTING WE WILL GO (1942), in which the boys portray comic magicians. Of course there are many examples of magic offered in Laurel & Hardy films. Their authorized biographer John McCabe always called attention to Laurel's use of "white magic" when he ignites his thumb in WAY OUT WEST. And Randy Skretvedt has titled his excellent book LAUREL & HARDY -- THE MAGIC BEHIND THE MOVIES.
HUGO, by the way, comes highly recommended, even if you cannot see it in 3-D. I got a kick out of recognizing the young girl, portrayed by Chloe Grace Moretz, who starred with Nicolas Cage in the hilarious but savage tribute to comic book heroes, KICK-ASS (2010). And there is also the station master played by Sacha Baron Cohen, who starred in the notorious BORAT (2006), which itself has a Laurel & Hardy connection. But as Mr. Hardy himself once put it, "Well, we won't go into that."

Richard W. Bann

Hi Lois,
Is the short The Finishing Touch available on DVD? What is your favourite Laurel and Hardy film/short.

Kind Regards,
Gavin Tannenbaum (England)

Lois had to think for a while, but finally settled on TOWED IN A HOLE as her choice. Yes, FINISHING TOUCH is on DVD.
Regards, Richard

Hello Lois, how are you?

I'm 27 years old and I come from Germany. I'm a big fan of Laurel & Hardy. I love the Laurel & Hardy movies since my childhood.
I have a few questions about your father.

1) What was the favorite candy and drink from your father? and what food he didn't like?

2) could your father ride horses? I know he rode horses in the movies, but could he also ride horses in real life?

3) had your father and Babe a favorite animal?

Sorry for my english. I'm learning english now. My school english is a long long time ago. I hope you understand everything.

I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Thanks for your time and good health and good wishes to you always.

Christine (Germany)

"He did ride horses, and liked to, but was not a horseman. He disliked asparagus. He did like brussel sprouts, because that was something he always ate back home in England. On beverages, he enjoyed ginger beer. He was also partial to scotch, and I cannot remember the brand, but it had little scotties on it that he saved."

I think it is wonderful that you are willing to give your time freely to answer questions from the public (just as I understand your father did). I hope and trust it gives you pleasure as well as your correspondents.

I was wondering whether you were relatively happy with the published biographies of your father or whether you feel that there could be a significantly 'better' one. Whether or not you answer I wish you well.

Paul Curtis (London/UK)

"No, not really, I am not happy with the biographies I have seen. Unfortunately, my health does not allow me to do one myself. I would look forward to reading a good one, but at this point, with so many colleagues gone, I doubt it could be done right."

Did the boys ever venture to Harlem Georgia to visit Babe's home town ? I am aware they traveled to Europe , but was curious if they ever went south , sort a speak ..

Warmest Regards  Bruce (USA / Woodbury , NY)

"I would be surprised if they would have done so as a team, just for recreation. But there are books on their American and European personal appearance tours and that would provide a better answer than my memory!"

Hi Lois, im 25 and absolutley love the Laurel and Hardy films, im glad that ive looked into the private lives of them, because i never would of realised it was you in Last of the summer wine- that part always tickles me, just wanted to know where abouts you father was born and if you ever visted that place often, lots of love, xx

Faye Machin- Smith (Nottingham/ England)

"My father was born in Ulverston, which I have visited."

Dar Lois;
I'm a great fan of laurel & Hardy and it i s a great pleasure for me to speak to you, I'd like also to meet you! I'd like to ask you if there are some Memorabilia about Laurel & Hardy in somewhere, Hats, Dresses and so on they used in their Films... Thank you and have a good day!

Maurizio (Italy)

"If you mean costumes, I imagine they do surface for sale in auctions, because I hear from and about members of SONS OF THE DESERT who do manage to find such things. But I have no way of knowing where those things are. Good luck."

dear lois what was life like at christmas time with stan what sort of stuff did you get up to

ive grow up with laurel and hardy. introduced to them by my father there warmth and kindness will always find new fans. my two sons love them as much as i do. you must be so proud of his legacy

william semple (london england)

"Christmas was always wonderful, although my father was sometimes a little morose at that special time of year. I don't like to say this, but after my parents separated, I would spend Christmas Eve with my dad, and then Christmas Day with my mom. I could see it upset my dad a little that all of us were not together. It shows, I think, what a wonderful, caring father he was. It's not a big thing, we were all very happy most of the time, but I could see this in my dad."


November 2011

Hey Lois what's up? I am 15 years old and I have a few questions about your father Stan Laurel. My favorite comedy of your father's is 'Me and My Pal'. Was he ever good with puzzles? Did he attend Oliver Hardy's funeral? Did he like girls when he was in high school?  I also loved 'Sons of the Desert'.  Was the wax fruit that Stan ate really made of wax?

Sincerely, James Romero (USA/Valencia, California)

"What is up? I am up, following a nap I took earlier! I cannot say if the wax fruit was actually real, or what it might have been. My father loved puzzles. Both jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles. He played with me for hours sometimes doing jigsaw puzzles. He had such fun. Crossword puzzles should have been a problem for him, because of the language or spelling and cultural differences, but surprisingly it made no difference. Girls in high school? He never got to high school. He was working at age nine. Something he never learned in school -- or anywhere else -- was how to swim. Of course deep sea fishing was a major interest he had, and he was always careful to wear a life jacket. I was thinking of that earlier when I saw the latest news about the Natalie Wood drowning investigation."

hiya again i had an idea what was stan and ollies favorite food and actress and that time xx thanks (again please reply if possible)

melissa mcmunn (scotland)

"I know Babe loved prime rib, also spaghetti. My father's favorite was also prime rib. Second, it would be liver, bacon, and onions. Third, fish and chips. His favorite actress was Ingrid Bergman. Not sure I can think of Babe's favorite actress. He did not have a crush on June Lang, but I would say he adored her."

I'm a 21 year old aspiring comedian and a big fan of Laurel and Hardy. I know Dick Van Dyke and Jerry Lewis were both big fans and got to meet and talk with Stan. Do you know any advice he gave them?
Also what were Stan and Ollie's favorite songs?
Thanks and God bless.

Andy (U.S.A.)

I don't know about the songs, but his advice to comedians was not to copy anyone else. And he hated it when Jerry Lewis would make fun of people with disabilities. Other than that, I have no idea about specific advice. I do know that when all these comedians would visit him, that's all they talked about -- theories of comedy and what worked and why. Good luck."

I cannot tell you how many hours of enjoyment they brought me as i was growing up. i have heard when mr. hardy was ill in bed, they were able to speak with signs they had developed thru years of working together. could you explain? i still enjoy them. thank you.

Don Hiltbrunner (Kent.Wa.)

"Yes, they used nonverbal communication, with their hands, but this was only on good days. There was sadly very little communication as Babe was simply not up to it. I think my father would have lived longer if Babe had not succumbed the way he did. I always say they were closer than brothers."


October 2011

i wish you the best in the world,i still admire your father and mr Hardy and i wanna tell you that they should never died,they should live forever.Nobody ever is gonna be the same again,im so sad becouse they dont live anymore,i will always love them!!!Tell me please did you ever act with them in a movie??? And is true that Oliver never had any children??I expect news from you.With all my love for you,Monica. Hi Lois..I read that Jean Harlow and Paul Bern were good friends with both your father and Charlie Chaplin in which they would interact together in various settings...

monica ardelean (Romania,Zalau)

"Yes, we miss them both. Fortunately the films survive. I did 'atmosphere' scenes in THE CHIMP and SWISS MISS but have yet to find myself in the released versions -- maybe you can! Babe never had any children, that is true. He was always sweet to me."

Did you get any information from your father related to Jean Harlow and her personality I think it was more shy and childlike...and Paul Bern was a good man..though a MGM scandal due to money made his name not great to know your father's views on how Hollywood would change truth and stories in real life to make them be more like the movies if it would effect the bottom line of money during that time.

Thanks for your time and good health and good wishes to you always..

Valerie Franich :)

"Of course my father knew Jean Harlow, but I was only ten when she died, so I have no memory of what kind of person she was. From what I was told, everyone liked her because she was so regular and outgoing. I have an 11x14 portrait still photo she signed to my father."

It is a honour and a pleasure to have the oppurtunity to write to you!
Im 14 years old and was wandering...
1) did Stan ever visit the Isle of Wight?
2) and what is your and stans favourite laurel and hardy film?

Sam (United Kingdom )

"I believe he did visit there, but I am not sure if he ever performed there. Check A.J. Marriot's book on the Laurel & Hardy tours to get the correct answer. And my favorites among the films are BABES IN TOYLAND and WAY OUT WEST. My Dad had a lot a fun making that, and he was partial to westerns to begin with, so that would have been one of his big favorites. But he said different things to different people. He liked parts of many films, and he enjoyed BUSY BODIES and TOWED IN A HOLE, too."


September 2011

Hi Lois, it's amazing to be (hopefully) speaking to you. I have meant to write direct to you for some time, but after noticing the comments on here about how much you receive at home, hope this avenue might be more successful and a little more polite.
Isn’t it great how the boys’ comedy seems to show no sign of ever tiring? Having watched and loved the boys' work for as long as I can remember, I eventually showed some examples to my own children. I would have understood if they were not interested, it was after all so different from what they were used to at the time, but they loved it. So much that my little girl actually wet her pants watching The Music Box! (she was only 5...). It gave me so much pleasure to see them talking and laughing about Laurel and Hardy to my own grandmother (their great grandma, by then in her 90s) who had watched the films when they were new. It was like a link down the ages, you must be very proud of that legacy.
As for a question there are many, but I have often wondered why Stan had no more children? He obviously loved them, in all the photographs published that include you his love and pride in his daughter is obvious, and what child would not want to have the world’s greatest clown as a father? And with Babe as the perfect “uncle”?
Can I cheekily ask another question? One old film that I always loved was “It’s a Mad Mad Mad mad World” from 1963. Not only would it have starred many of your dad’s old friends, as it included just about every major US comedy star, but parts were filmed right around the corner from Stans home in Santa Monica, on the California Incline. Was he invited to watch the filming? From his apartment he would have had a birds eye view of it anyway.
I also have something which may be of interest to you; amongst a large collection of official papers being thrown away some years ago I found some architect’s drawings. It took me a while to realise that one was for one of the theatres that Stan’s father used to run, the Eden in Bishop Auckland. It shows a minor extension (a scene dock for the stagehands) and was dated at exactly the time A.J. was in residence, thus giving the wonderful possibility that Stan’s father himself initiated and approved the plans. It is amazing to think holding it in my hands that Stan’s dad may have done the same thing whilst supervising the building works. You are welcome to it if you want it, or I can send a copy (it is rather old and dirty). Eventually it will probably pass on to a local historical society.

With warmest best wishes

Mark Britten (Durham UK)

"I did have a younger brother, who was born prematurely, and died. Then my parents divorced, and my father did not care to have any more children. I don't know what I would do with those architectural plans, but I appreciate your kind offer. And I have no recollection of any conversation with my father concerning MAD WORLD."



Lois answers, "Yes, he knew Jerry Lewis. Someone else asked the same question recently about TV shows, and his favorites included mostly variety shows like Ed Sullivan's. He liked Dick Cavett's show. One of his big favorite movies was JOAN OF ARC with Ingrid Bergman." Which was made at Hal Roach Studios, but after he left.
Regards, Richard

Dear Lois
I know that your first husband Rand had a great love for horses and german shepherds,did he get any of that from you or your father?

Tom (USA Chicago)

"No, Rand was raised on a farm, and always loved western ranch life."

Hi Lois,
Did your father been best friends with Dick Van Dyke ever since he did impression of him on the L & H shorts?

Hana (UK)

"Dick Van Dyke was a friend of my father, yes, and also delivered a touching eulogy at his funeral."


August 2011

Dear Lois,
Who created the look at camera, Oliver Hardy's routine?


Lois answers: "He did, for himself." If anyone else did it first, on an isolated basis, no one ever did it as effectively or as often.
Regards, Richard

Dear Lois,
I'm writing to my favourite actor's daughter and I don't believe it, yet! I'm 31 years old and I grew up with Laurel and Hardy films. For me they are the best! Your father is my myth. More I find about his life, his job and more I guess that he was a wonderful man, beautiful person and amazing artist! Ollie, too. They are immortal, for me!
I'm so excited to talk with you, that I don't know what ask you! At the first, I'm sorry if my English isn't perfect, but I'm out of exercise. However, I've wanted to write you! Maybe, the first question is:was Stan Laurel a loving father how I suppose? I saw photoes where you are with him and I had this impression. At the moment that other questions come in my mind, I'll write you again. Now, I'm too moved.
I'd like to go in England, to Ulverston, because I love that places and I hope to succeed in it, a day.
Thank you, Lois.

Elena (Italy, Milan)

Lois answers, "That is a lovely letter, and warms my heart. She sounds genuine, Yes, my father was a loving parent, very much so."

I asked Lois if he had ever been to Italy, and she said, "Perhaps on one of the tours in in the 1940s or 1950s, but I have no memory of it."
From that we got into a conversation in which I was surprised to learn that Stan Laurel "was nervous in cars," Lois declared. "He didn't care to drive. If he was in the passenger seat and I was driving, he would shuffle his feet when we came to a stop sign! He was always nervous in a car."
Regards, Richard

Dear Lois,

I hope that you are doing well. I feel very honored to be able to write to you. Your father and your Uncle Babe are, by far, my favorite comedy team of all time. I often wonder what your father would think of some of the things that pass for comedy these days. What kind of comedies did your father enjoy watching(TV or film)?  Did he have a favorite comedian?  I have always wondered what made your father laugh the way that his comedy made me(and millions of others) roll on the floor laughing.  Thank you very much for your time!

Jason Thomas

"When my dad was married to Ruth, they went out to movies a lot. Also at both the homes in Cheviot Hills and at Fort Laurel the projectionist from the studio would come to the house and run pictures for us. After Babe died and the stroke, he didn't get out to go to the movies. But on TV he liked watching Ed Sullivan's show, Dick Van Dyke, Dick Cavett, and some of the TV shows made at Hal Roach Studios just to see what they were doing, because they were friends of his."

Hi Lois,
Your dad was a true comedic genius. He did not have to utter a word to bring a laugh to those who saw him. His expression, the double take look that he would give when he encountered something unusual, he would be about to speak, held back, and put that confused look on his face a second time. He was so funny, I start to laugh just thinking about this "gimmick" of his. I do have a question, when he and Oliver were making movies, did they always follow the script completely, or when doing a routine did something funnier pop into their heads and spontaneously decide to go for it? One final note, funniest line your dad ever said in a movie. I forgot the title, but he and Oliver were playing WW I veterans. In the movie, Oliver brought your dad home for dinner and Oliver's wife was not too happy. At one point, Stan yells out.."If you want me to go, I'll stay as long as I want." Again, I am laughing at just the thought of how he delivered that line, just a tr! ue master of the craft. Take care

Gary Feilich (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

"Sometimes they did follow the script carefully. Other times they would get on the set and find what was written would not play. Or in rehearsing, they would think of something better. They generally did not ad lib lines in front of the camera, however, if that's what you mean."

Dear Lois:

I am a film historian and writer, and over a month ago, a fellow writer friend of mine sent me a copy of a ship's log of passengers who took a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii from Los Angeles, Cal. in 1931. Most of the passengers were making a film - on location, a rarity back then - in Hawaii called THE BLACK CAMEL, one of the first sound CHARLIE CHAN films starring Warner Oland, Bela Lugosi and others. Also listed on the passenger list was your father (as Arthur Stanley Jefferson), your mom and you.

I think you were only a few years old and may not remember much about the trip, but I'm hoping that your fahter or mother might have said something about it and the celebrities they met. I find it fascinating to think of Stan Laurel, Bela "Dracula" Lugosi and Warner Oland (as "Charlie Chan") on the same cruise ship. I wonder if something that happened there made your dad think of an idea for SONS OF THE DESERT?

Also, is there a chance that some of your family's home movies might make it into the upcoming LAUREL AND HARDY DVD collection? Thank you so much for your time! One more thing: You had a short film that was given to your dad as a gift when he left Hal Roach Studios called THAT'S THAT! I saw it at the SONS OF THE DESERT convention in Chicago in 1979. I'd like to see that again too!

Lenny Kohl (CHICAGO, USA)

I learned about this episode in her life some time ago, but we just did go over the story again. If you review that ship's log, you will see the name of Ella Nelson, who was Lois's grandmother. She always wanted to visit Hawaii, and Stan Laurel gifted her with this family trip. She was an extra in BLACK CAMEL, too. They filmed inside the lobby of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, as you know, early in the film. She had to give her permission when they shot. Lois never saw the film, so I cannot say which lady is her grandmother. I have a 16mm printdown which Alex Gordon made up when he was at Fox, and I have offered to run this for Lois, but she has never been that much interested in seeing the film.
Lois adds, "The last night on the ship going over, there was a masquerade party before we docked in Hawaii. At the party I had my picture taken a couple times sitting on Bela Lugosi's lap."
But she did not remember anything specific about him, nor did she recall meeting Warner Oland, although she said she must have met everyone connected with the movie. Lois has trouble at her age going through things packed away in storage, so I have yet to see the photos with Lugosi.
Concerning the forthcoming DVD, I refer you to the press release here on the website. And to answer your specific question, no, unfortunately, there will be none of Lois's home movies or THAT'S THAT in this collection.
Richard W. Bann

Dear Lois,
It is a real honor and exciting at the same time to write to you the daughter of one of the greatest geniuses of comedy!  My son and us love to watch over and over the Music Box routine, it was a well mastered piece of creativity!  Mr. Hardy appears to have taken some pretty good falls on those concrete steps.  Was it all him or a stunt person and if it was him, was he bruised or cut doing his own stunts?  Are you the last of the Laurels?  We really miss your father, he was certainly our favorite of the duo, made us sad when he cried.  We wish we knew him, perhaps in heaven one day!  When was the last time you were in Hollywood where they filmed Laurel and Hardy? Did your father ever want to film any of the films where you live in England?  God Bless  :)

Randy, Lisa and Nathaniel (Green Bay, USA)

"Thier work was physical labor, but they did use stunt men when called for. They sustained injuries, but would not needlessly jeopardize their safety. They seldom filmed in Hollywood, more often in Culver Cty where Hal Roach Studios was located. I have chidren, grandchildren and great grandchildren."

Dear Lois, Hope you are well, can you please tell me if there is any of your fathers relatives still living in the UK?

Tony Moore

"Yes, my cousin Nancy Wardell lives in England, as does the family of my father's sister, Olga."

what was the hat made out of that was eaten by laurel  in way out west?

Steve (New Zealand, Auckland)

"I think it was licorice."

Hello Lois
it is a real honour to be speaking to you. it is nice to speak to you here.
i would just like to ask you, what would your father have done if he wasent an actor, like did he ever have anything else that he wanted to do or was it always just being an actor/writer??

Paul Gilmour (Glasgow, Scotland, UK)

"People from Scotland are especially well-mannered, I always thought that. And the question: well, my father always wanted to run a stationary store. He loved to visit them."

Hello Lois
thank you so much for your reply.
but i realy often wonder how did, your father set his thumb on fire in "way out west"??
i tried but nothing happend haha

thanks again

"You've probably got that answer in one your essays for the website. I never talked with my father about that, but I read a letter someone showed me where he explained the procedure in detail. I think he credited Roy Seawright for the optical work."

I am a big fan of your father's work... many hours of my childhood were spent in laughter because of him!
I know that Oliver Hardy was a friend of Chico Marx, did your father know any of the Marx brothers? I see great similarities in comedy style between him and Harpo Marx.

Thank you and take care,
James (USA/Easton)

"He knew them, but they were not close. He had met them, that's all I can say."


July 2011

Was Hall Roach fair with Laurel and Hardy? (sorry my poor english).


"Hal Roach was not only a great boss, but a true friend to both my father and Uncle Babe. And my mother and I were friends with him until he died."

was your father and mr. hardy real good friends with charlie hall and james finlayson?

james turner (united states/ kansas)

"Yes, of course!"

Dear Lois,

I hope this note finds you well and doing fine. I love to see your father and Oliver in their films to this day. It never fails to make me laugh no matter how often I view them.

My question is this. I have heard that when Hardy died in his hospital room your father was there holding his hand, out of true love and friendship. Is this true?

Take care and much love.

Kent (USA/Houston, TX)

"No, not true. Babe was at home when he died. My father had not seen him in several weeks. After Babe lapsed into a coma, Lucille told my father, 'Don't come over to see him; it'll tear your heart apart.'"

were laurel & hardy and the three stooges friends?


"Not particularly, no. They knew each other. I don't think my father was particularly fond of their stye of comedy, or the fact that they used some of the Laurel & Hardy story material."


June 2011

Dear Lois,

I am so grateful for the nice memories your Father and Mr. Hardy gave to us growing up.  It is my pleasure now to own the DVD's of Laurel and Hardy and share them with my children.  It is sad we do not see them too much on TV these days but we have the DVD's. Innocent and clean comedy and it was FUNNY!  We do not see this in todays comedy.  Sad!  Do you stay in contact with any of Mr. Hardy's relation?  What is your fondest memory of working with your Father that is captured on film?  

Gods Blessings,
Randy, Lisa and Nathaniel (USA/Green Bay, WI)

Lois replies, "Babe Hardy had no children, but I remained close fiends with his wife Lucille until she passed away."
Lois did not work with her father, so she cannot respond to your other question.
Regards, Richard

Some of just got a chance to see (online) the home movie of your father and Ollie at a picnic in Reseda, CA.  Was this your home at the time?  It appears to be during the '50's and taken lakeside.  We were admiring how their friendship and sense of humor was still quite evident even in a home movie.  Take care,  

Paulet Sharen (Los Angeles, CA)

"Yes that was taken by a fan friend of my father's at my home in Tarzana in the mid-1950s."


May 2011

Big fan of your Dad. Is there any props from your Dad's movies that you were able to keep and if so is there one more special than the others?

A. J.  Colpitts (Fredericton NB  Canada)

"We never set out to retain anything, but we do have the golf bag from SHOULD MARRIED MEN GO HOME?"

Dear Lois,

Dear Lois hope you are well I am a big fan of your father and mr hardy .so much that me and a friend are getting together to start a laurel & hardy tribute act me as ollie is there any tips you can give.

Alan Chapman (England Essex)

"Watch the films! That's the best advice. Don't try to be funny. Don't break character. Be sincere. And remember how much love you see in those two. Good luck."

Hi Lois
I have been watching stan and ollies films since the 1970s me and my dad used to crack up with my mum saying listen two you two laughing your head of.Any way what happened to the props from the films and the cars they used to drive i used to say i would love some of there props.I have also a vinyl Lp of stan and ollies this is your life and video which i brought years ago the LP in a small record shop in london and the video at a collectors fair.Would love to hear from you soon.
Best wishes

David Sheppard (England)

"Those props were either lost when the military took over 'Fort Roach' during World War II or were destroyed or sold during the bankruptcy at the studio in the 1960s."


April 2011

Dear Lois,
I am another one of the millions who treasured your dad's and Mr. Hardy's films.  I only wish that I could have been one of the lucky ones to meet him - but my mom would have had to do the driving to Santa Monica.  On a recent trip to Catalina, I discovered that your dad and Mr. Hardy enjoyed fishing off of Catalina Island.  Did they go fishing over there often or have a vacation house on Catalina?  Take Care - Nick

Nick Pulone (Fullerton, Ca. USA)

"My father enjoyed boating and fishing and went back and forth to Catalina for recreation whenever he could. Babe (Hardy) didn't often go to Catalina as he preferred to spend time playing cards and golf at the Lakeside Country Club."


March 2011

Dear Lois,

I hope i find you well!? I just wanted to say that i love and admire your dad and Ollie.To me they were the greatest and will never be replaced.I have two questions which i hope you can answer - Did you ever meet Thelma Todd and what was she like if you did? Secondly i would very much like your autograph.How do i go about obtaining one from you should it be ok of course.

Stay well and much love.

Draven Lee (England)

"I did meet Thelma Todd, but just to be introduced to her. I did not really know her."

You were kind enough to answer two of my questions previously.  I would like to ask two more, please.

First, did you know a Little Rascal by the name of Sid Kibrick?  He played "Worm," the friend of "Butch."  Sid is my friend's uncle.  When my friend and I met your father in 1963, we didn't make the connection to the Rascals or we would have asked your father if he also knew Sid.  I know you played with the Rascals and was just wondering if you remember him.  He had a lot of freckles.  My friend's mother was Sid's sister, Lillian.  Sid is still alive.

Second, I adored not only your father and Ollie, but other comedians, such as Danny Kaye and Lucille Ball.  I could watch Lucy for hours.  My question is:  What did your father think of Danny Kaye and Lucille Ball?  And did he ever comment on the evolution of comedy from action (slapstick) to words (stand-up comedy)?

Thank you in advance.

Myrna Davis (Granada Hills, CA/USA)

"I met Sid Kibrick when he put on an Our Gang reunion in Palm Springs about 20-25 years ago. And my father did not much care for women comedy stars, but he did think Lucy was stunning and a special talent. By the way her brother married a girl friend of mine."

Nearly 100 years old and they still make my wife and I laugh. We have just introduced my 6 year old son Max and 4 year old Luca and 2 year old Ollie to the wonders of great comedy, they are absolutely hooked and doubled over with laughter, this is just really to say a great thank you to the happiness Stan and Ollie have brought the world and the influence they have had on comedy.....boiled eggs and nuts!

The Marsh Family

"Good for you!"


February 2011

Hello Lois,
You know I cannot tell you how much I love your dad and Oliver. How could I not? They have given me (and the world) countless laughs and enjoyment and will continue to do so till the end of time. What greater accomplishment can anybody hope to have? I recently purchased some DVD's of there 'shorts'. I only wish that the quality of there feature films was given more attention in DVD format. My question is, did your dad and or Oliver ever become injured during some of their 'slap-stick' routines? and lastly,what was his favorite hobby or pastime? Thanks for your time. Your dad's and Oliver's greatest fan,

howard (USA, Las Vegas)

"No, Hardy was never seriously injured. My father's hobbies included fishing, organic gardening, and he liked playing poker with his pals."

Dear Lois,
I just found out about you by accident. I saw a pic of you and your beautiful family. I am 53 and a life long fan of MR. Hardy & MR. Laurel. They inspired me all my life & still today. I collect their memorabilia. My goal is to afford a Stan cancelled check on eBay. I got into the business a few years back & appreciated how your dad would actually oversee the production. I wonder how much, if any Hal Roach appreciated what Stan did for the productions. It is my honor to have this chance to write you. God bless you, Joe Mancini.

Joe Mancini (USA, Secaucus,NJ)

"I may put up a few more checks in the future. So watch for those on eBay, although I cannot promise when I will get around to doing this! But where did you get the idea Hal Roach did not appreciate what my father did? Mr. Roach certainly knew how hard my father worked on all aspects of making the films."

please can you tell me the significance of oliver hardy's tattoo on his arm
thanks so much

Roz Tyner-Gentry (england, great britain)

"I think Babe got that tattoo as a boy, and naturally his family disapproved! It's a leaf and you can see it in the film ONE GOOD TURN. Someone else asked me about that recently, and also whether or not my father ever went to Babe's grave site. I doubt he did."

Dear Lois,
I feel so touched writing this letter to you. I am 56 now and i must say i grew up watching most of those unforgetable films your father and Ollie did..Amazing! Even now some nights i go to bed watching them on my pc !! As my hobby is singing i would like to ask you if you remember which song was one of your fathers favorites..i d love to add it in my repertoire and somehow feel closer to him!! Thank you and god bless you! This world is nicer with YOU in it !!!!!!
with respect
Nikos Georgas


"I cannot recall specific song titles, but what he'd do around the house was sing the old English ditties, the music hall songs he performed, or that he watched others perform. I can remember some of the lyrics, like 'My old man, said follow the van....' You know, they were silly songs aimed at the working class for comedy. He loved them."


January 2011

Dear Lois,
I always wondered if Stan and Ollie had any living descendants. Do you know if Ollie has any children or grandchildren living? Also, I was wondering if you had children of your own that will carry on the legacy of your father?

Alicia Harrs (Stanardsville, VA)

Dear Alicia,
Lois responds, "Oliver Hardy had no children. I have two."
I can add that great-great grandchildren twins of Stan Laurel have appeared several times on THE BONNIE HUNT TV show, but I don't know if they have a future in show business. Too early to tell.
Regards, Richard

Stan Laurel's daughter, Lois Laurel-Hawes, with her granddaughter and twin great-grandchildren (left to right) Lucy, Cassidy and Tommy Cook. They are fraternal, not identical twins.

Aside from the wonderful laughter Stan and Ollie brought to us, there was historical significance to their films.  I grew up in West L.A. and now live in the San Fernando Valley.  Watching those old films gives me a glimpse into how things looked back then.  So many vacant lots with scattered homes.  L.A. is so crowded these days and the transformation so obvious, even in Culver City.  Two questions:  Did your father and Ollie even realize that their films would one day be looked at as historical archives of Los Angeles? Did your father ever mention that in the later years?

I was lucky to have met your father twice in his Santa Monica apartment in 1963.  I was 20 and a huge fan.  Those were two events in my life that I will never forget.  He was so kind and smiled the whole time.  I can't believe how many young people aren't even aware of Laurel & Hardy now.  So sad.  They were a big part of America's history and culture.  I always said I raised Laurel & Hardy as my two sons are built so differently - one was in huskies and one in slims.  My question is: Have you written a book about your father and Babe, or are you planning to do so?  The fans would love to read more about "the boys."  Thank you.

Myrna Davis (Granada Hills, CA / USA)

"I have long planned a book, yes, but writing is hard work, and I have trouble with my hands these days. This makes the task difficult."
"On your other question, my father would be amazed to see what Los Angeles looks like today. But I do not think he either imagined the films would remain so popular for so long -- forever! -- or realized the importance of what they were doing insofar as documenting the history of the city and the the way people looked and lived and acted at the time. Making comedy was hard work, and it was enough for him to think about the blood, sweat and tears it took to make people laugh! I was raised in the Westwood and Beverly Hills areas and live now in Valencia."

Dear Lois, Back in the day did you get to make friends with many of the children of the stars of the day? And whom might some of them be? Also was there any of the old stars of your dads era that you remember meeting that relly made an impression that you were meeting someone of importance? Whom might they be? My first L & H film viewing was in 1971. I was 10. They where moving a piano to the second floor. Was that FUNNY! You are a living legend. Thank you,

Jerry (USA, Cheney,Washington)

"Most of my close friends growing up were the children of people in the industry, but I never paid attention to the celebrity status of parents because they were so predominately celebrities. These were the children of Harry Warren, Mark Sandrich, Walter Wolf King, Ted Kohler, and King Vidor. When I got older, in high school and later, friends included people who were then celebrities themselves, like Shirley Temple and June Haver."

I just wanted to say thank you if I can to your Dad and Mr Hardy for all the wonderful films and the entertainment.I have the complete box set and have been a fan for as long as I can remember.I live near Morecambe in Lancashire (home to another half of a great double act Eric Morecambe) and across the Bay from the town where your Dad was born which I have visited on occasions.Both places have wonderful statues to honour these great entertainers.I do believe your Dad may have visited Morecambe at some stage to go to the the theatre in the town which still stands (even though empty).


"My Dad went fishing in Morecambe Bay as a boy and always said some of the happiest memories of his life were the days he spent there. It was there that he got so interested in what became his lifelong hobby of fishing."

Dear Lois,
I have loved Laurel and Hardy all my life, and am proud to be in possession of a lot of their films as well as some merchandise. What i cannot understand though is why nobody has as yet made a movie about them. What a fascinating tale that would be and if done right, could be an Oscar winner. Do you know if there are any plans regarding a movie being made about these 2 legends?

Best wishes to you
(Leeds, West Yorkshire. United Kingdom)

Dear Richard,
I can answer for Lois on this. There are no plans for any such film. Down through the years, various reports circulated about such a movie, but things like that seldom work. Try and find a faithful screen biography of any important public figure. Maybe PRIDE OF THE YANKEES. And Laurel & Hardy themselves would have laughed at such a prospect; they barely understood why a book (Jack MCabe's) was being written about them.
Richard W. Bann

Dear Lois,
I have been a fan of Laurel and Hardy the entire 26 years of my life. My father raised me on the duo. They have brought me so much joy and laughter over the years and now I am passing the tradition on to my three children. You must be so proud to call this amazing man who has been making people laugh for almost a century your father. I have so many questions I would like to ask. I have always heard that your father would invite fans over for tea if they found his telephone number in the book and called him. Do you know if this is true?

Alicia Harris (Stanardsville, VA)

"He was very accessible to fans, but I don't recall he invited strangers over for tea. His phone number was in the book, and anyone could call him, and lots of people did stop by to see him if he invited them."

My father, Harry G. Bogison, introduced Lois to my wife, Lorraine and I in Reno, Nevada in 1978.  We had the priviledge of talking with her for quite some time and enjoyed her company very much.  She related a story about her father when she was a young girl, reminding her "that money doesn't grow on trees."  Lorraine and I wish her a Happy and of course healthy New Year.

Robert Bogison (Bozeman, Montana)

Dear Robert,
Lois replies, "Tell Robert I was thrilled to hear from him. I went out with his father after I divorced Rand (Brooks)."
She asked for your e-mail address, which I gave her. But Lois has bad arthritis and also is not computer literate. Nevertheless she will try to write you directly.
Regards, Richard

My wife is a huge fan all her life. For Christmas, my daughter painted a beautiful black oil on white canvas picture of "Laurel and Hardy"...its beautiful. I would love to get you a copy it. I know you live nearby in Northridge. Where can I send it? OR if possible, I would love to have my wife and daughter come by and personally present it to you. Looking forward to hearing from you....Thanks!

Barry Lubin (USA - Agoura Hills)

"I have no idea who gave him that bible. He also had a Book of Mormon. No, he did not read it to me. Yes, he was a Christian and member of the Church of England."

what was the first reaction of laurel after hearing the news about hardy's death?

bhuwnesh joshi (india/nagpur)

"The news was not unexpected, but nevertheless my father was devastated. They were closer than brothers, so it was difficult. His doctor forbid him from attending the funeral, not knowing that my father didn't do funerals anyway. They closed down the studio when Thelma Todd died, but I don't think my father attended that funeral either."

Dear Lois,

A many happy wishes to you and your family over this holiday season. I have always been amazed at how your father could laugh for minutes at a time and then stop quickly on a dime. For example at the end of the short "Blotto." I have never seen any other actor do this, and I was wondering if he ever mentioned how he came up with that, or could continue to cackle and laugh the way he did? It is just such an original and amazing talent (one of many) to be able to laugh convincingly for a long period of time, and I wanted to ask if you knew where or when he found he could do that.
Thank you so much for your time. I wish you and yours a very happy healthy New Year.

Taylor (Los Angeles originally but now Liverpool UK)

"What I always say on this subject, my father laughed from his toes to the top of his head, and the laugh just got bigger and bigger. I cannot tell you where this came from, only how I describe it."

The boys have always had a special place in my heart.  I am a comedic actor and a stand up comic.  Your father and Oliver Hardy gave me so much joy and laughter over the years. They still live in my heart.  

I saw a great DVD collection available in the UK and I was wondering if it will soon be available in the USA.  All the DVD sets in the US are sub par and contain the same 4 or 5 movies.  I would like to have a complete and restored collection. It seems that as these film age they will be lost to future generations.  I hope you can contact someone in Hollywood who loves the boys and wants to save their films.

Marc Turner (Los Angeles , California. USA)

Dear Marc ~
Lois wants me to answer this for her. There will be a DVD boxed set for the Western Hemisphere, like the one we licensed for the Eastern Hemisphere which you mention, sometime in 2011. But it will not contain the L&H silents.
Richard W. Bann


Ask Lois by Richard W. Bann