Ask Lois Laurel-Hawes

Pose inquiries to Lois Laurel-Hawes, daughter of Stan Laurel. Is there something you have always wanted to know about the lives and careers of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy? Please submit your question and we will take the best ones to Lois and reprint her answers here on the website.

As you can imagine, Lois receives so many letters from Laurel & Hardy fans all over the world. She wishes she could fulfill all the requests for information, memorabilia and appearances, but that objective would require a full time staff to manage effectively! But Lois will be happy to field the most interesting questions you send in about her dad, Stan, and her “Uncle Babe.” We will share her comments with everyone.


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December 2013

Dear Mrs Laurel,
As we know, there are many classic slapstick moments in Laurel and Hardy and it is a big part of their comedy and I was wondering, did the 'stunts' ever hurt Mr Laurel or Mr Hardy? I imagine that banging their heads together might! Thank you very much,

Thomas Smit (15, Hampshire, United Kingdom)


"No, not really, except maybe one time for BABES IN TOYLAND. They'd often come home or wake up sore because it was such physical work, but they were used to it."

Dear Lois,
When your father was doing the crying routine in most of the films.
1. How did you feel when he started crying in most films when Babe had to yell and hit him in some scenes?
2. Why didn't your father like doing the crying routine in the L & H films?

Kind Regards
Hana (United Kingdom, Bradford)


"How did I feel? I never thought about the crying. My father was asked to do it all the time, and I think it was something he got tired of doing. When I was small, I would see the dailies at the studio. They'd run the dailies after lunch, or I'd attend the sneak previews and before I understood that they were acting, I thought Babe was taking advantage of my father, you know, bullying him sometimes. I didn't like that. So that's why they made ONE GOOD TURN, to show me that once in a while my father could even! I was just a child. Later as I got older I'd see their movies at regular movie theaters, and I would take my friends to see Laurel & hardy movies."

Dear lois,I hope your good and well.My question is stan and Oliver worked quite often on set with the likes of Charlie hall,Walter long and James finlayson, not forgetting Mae Busch and Anita garvin,did they socialise of screen together at all and what were they like in real life.

Gavin (United Kingdom, Hull)


"We didn't really socialize. There weren't official parties, except for the few times people at the studio would visit the beach together. We'd go to the Santa Monica Pier. Wee Mary Callahan was always there with us. Of the names you mention, I knew them, and especially Fin and Anita, who were such outgoing and friendly people. They paid a lot of attention to me and were especially nice, I remember that. During filming, when I'd visit the studio, my father being English would often stop and have tea in the afternoon and then you could socialize with people like Fin and Anita."

Dear Lois, dear Mr Bann,
I am writing from Germnay so please excuse my bad English. I have been an admirer of Laurel & Hardy since my youth and keep on watching their films, reading boks about them and collecting photos and program sheets.
Because I try to know as much as possible about the Boys, I am also interested in any informations concerning their private and marriage live. So I kindly ask you for your answer to the followig questions:

1) Can you tell me the dates and places of birth and death of "Ileana" Shuvalova? Do you know anything about her biography after the divorce from Stan?
2) Can you, Mr Bann, tell me the dates and places of birth and death of Babe's frist weife, Madelyn Saloshin?

I tried to find the ladies both in several news archives and in the Social Security Death Index. As I did not know if they changed their marital names, I could not find any data. It would be great if you could give me any help. In case you cannot, maybe you can tell me where I ought to continue my research. By the way, I have got photos of all ladies who are known for their professional or private relationship to Laurel & Hardy.
Thanks a lot in advance - and greetings from Germany.
Sincerely yours –rik


Dear Dick,
Those facts concerning the dates will be available in the revision of Randy Skretvedt's Laurel & Hardy book, which he is working hard on now. He should have it ready for the SONS OF THE DESERT convention this coming July. I may have the details in my files at home but I cannot access them from where I am right now, talking with Lois. She says that "I really don't know what happened to Illeana after the divorce and the trouble she caused. She got on a train and left forever after she was ordered by the judge to get out of the city! She was a whacko. I was always curious about her son, Bobby, who for a short while was my step-brother. But I never knew what happened to him."

Regards, Richard


 
 

September 2013

Did the dog in laughing gravy belong to the Laurel or Hardy family?
 
Your's, Richard Duffy (16) (Birmingham, United Kingdom)


"No, we had dogs at home, but they did not appear in the movies, except our home movies. The dog named Laughing Gravy was owned by the studio and cared for by Tony and Irma Campanaro at the Hal Roach location ranch where they lived."

Dear Lois, I'm writing to you from Italy, where your father and Babe Hardy are still very popular; Mr. Laurel remembered their visit in Italy in June 1950? did you or your father ever talk about Laurel & Hardy Italian dubbing, or watch a dubbed movie? Thanks in advance!

Andrea (Rome)


"They did some few Laurel & Hardy movies in phonetic Italian before dubbing came in, but I think those are lost. The ones dubbed in Italian by people like Alberto Sordi --was it? -- I never saw or heard those. I know my father loved the people of Italy because they were so warm and friendly and made him feel welcome there. He was having some health troubles at the time, but he loved it there."

did your father and Ollie ever come to Australia and what cities and when thanks alan
 
alan newman (sydney australia)


"They wanted to visit Australia, but I cannot recall now if they ever did. Find the book written by A.J. Marriott which covers the tours for that answer."

Hi Lois,
I am just dying to know where in Reseda you lived. I grew up in the area and when I saw the film from 1956 of your father and Mr. Hardy visiting each other at your house I thought this is the coolest thing I ever saw. Knowing these two icons last appearance on film maybe within walking distance from where I lived.
 
Sincerely, Todd (Reseda, CA)


"For decades we lived at 5329 Tampa Avenue in Tarzana. Right in the backyard there is where that footage was shot."

My name is Rich Stell and I use to manage the Suncoast Video Store in the Northridge Fashion Center. This was back in 1990(?). You once did a autographing event at the store. I found this page and just wanted to say hi. I remember having long discussions with you and enjoying every minute of it. I hope this note finds you well.
 
Rich Stell (Glendale, Ca)


"Yes, I remember that day. I was signing on behalf of the VHS videotapes being released by Video Treasures. My home movies were in them and since then they have been pirated! Which did not please me!"



 

July 2013

Dear Lois,
Thanks for your time in responding to these questions. I have trawled the internet and have forced several colleagues to do the same in search of an answer to no avail. Did Stan and Babe have a routine whereby when each said the same word they touched their own nose pointed at each other and said shelley, Wordsworth, Longfellow. At my place of work humour is valued greatly and ollie and Stan are gods being able to quote this correctly would be marvellous!
with love Alan P
 
Alan Parfitt (London England)
 

Dear Alan,
 
Lois is happy to tell you that the answer to your search can be found in the Laurel & Hardy film OUR RELATIONS (1936).
 
Regards, Richard


 
 
Dear Lois
Have you ever traced your root's in England? I have just started to trace mine and my father's mother was Elizabeth Jefferson, my father was a cousin to your father Stan Laurel. I know you probably get a lot of this, I hope you don't mind me sending this.
Regards
 
Leonne Sara (Epsom Surrey)
 

“Yes, there was an ‘Elizabeth Jefferson’ in our family but I cannot furnish any details as to what years and where. I will mention it to surviving relatives in England. Thank you.”


 

Hi there,
 
In all those years I've watched all of the films from Laurel and Hardy more than I can count. And every day I learn more and more about them. Some things I never knew, and some things I am amazed of. But what I never found was, what was the reaction or expression from Mr. Laurel about the death of his beloved friend Mr. Hardy. I am sorry for this personal question, but I would like to know more about their friendship. After watching all those films over and over again it is almost if they become a life and take a part in my family. There will never be an actor with such talent and timing. Neither will the success of Laurel and Hardy ever be topped.
 
With much respect and admire.
 
Mark v/d Weijden
Netherlands
 

Dear Mark,
 
This was a little too personal to ask Lois. But the “Letters From Stan” website has published a letter where you can read Mr. Laurel’s touching thoughts on the subject.
 
Regards, Richard

 
  
Hi Lois, I am a student at the Ca 'Foscari of Venice and I'm doing my thesis on your father and your "uncle", I would like to include this gem in the conclusion of it and know if there is one thing that fans or journalists do not they never asked about their success: something mystical, such as a magic word they were saying before going on stage or before entering into a contract. went? Your father believed in good luck?
A big hug to all my family
 
Alice Tonini (Italy/Venice)


“I often saw them backstage before live shows and never saw them perform any type of ritual or repeat a pet phrase before walking on stage. Usually what they were doing was help put other people at ease!”
 
  
 
Hey Lois, what is your favorite memory your father?
 
Jessica Lauren (USA)


Lois has told this story before: “We were living in Canoga Park. I wanted to take my neighborhood friends to the movies (although it was Tonnage (Martin) who drove us). I asked my father for $20 to buy the tickets and snacks. He never denied me anything but he thought that was much more than necessary, you know, way too much money for a kid to have. He did give me some money, but nowhere near the $20 I wanted. He concluded his little lecture asking, ‘Do you think money grows in trees?’ Maybe he had second thoughts on teaching me this lesson, because when we came home from the show, one of the trees in our yard had dollar bills pinned onto every single branch! Can you imagine this sight?”  

 

May 2013

My dad and his family lived on a blueberry farm in Northern California in the 50s with Eulie and Robert Houghton. Their last name was Houghton...he has very fond memories of "Big Lois" and "Little Lois". I think he is referring to you and your mom. Do you have memories of being at a blueberry farm with the HOUGHTON boys? My dad's name is Bill. I would love to hear stories about my dad if you remember any...Thank you so much.
 
Jennifer Sanders (Peoria, AZ)

 
“This was in Scott’s Valley, at your dad’s aunt and uncle’s blueberry farm.  I spent 6 weeks there every summer. I was the field manager for a while, and ran a tractor. Both my parents visited there too. I spent so much time working with blueberries that I seldom want to eat them even today!”

Dear Lois, do you know, what your father or Mr. Hardy says about Thelma Todds death? What did they thought? Was it a suicide, an accident or would she be murdered?
And did you met her someday? How was she?
 
Best wishes,
Christin

 
“People think that because my father worked at Hal Roach Studios I ought to know everything that happened there! I knew and liked Thelma Todd, but I was a little girl when she died. I have no recollection of ever discussing her death with my father.”

 

April 2013

Hi. When a child, I was told that Stan Laurel lived in a house located in Canoga Park,Ca,the house having a farly high brick wall around it. I believe it was on either Strathern or Arminta (sp). between Mason and Winnetka. I lived just a few blocks from there and have always wanted to know if it was true story. Thanks You.
 
Mike Fender (Chico, CA)
 

“True, yes. That fence was seven feet high! The property, called Fort Laurel, was located off of Winnetka and Satacoy, at 20213 Strathern in Canoga Park. It is all demolished now.”

Hello my name is Dominik Scholz i am 18 years old and i come from germany so please excuse my bad englisch.At first i just wanna say that i am a big fan from Laurel and Hardy since i was a little boy. Your father was a genius of comedy and gave the world a lot of fun.A few days ago i saw a documentation about Laurel and Hardy, i could see your father there in his last years and he was also so full of energy, he always smiles and make the people feel better,this pictures was so inspiring for me, i thougt at this moment "when i am old and i got a little bit about our fathers zest of life than i did everything right in my life" but enough no my question:
was your father always such inspiring and vivacious man ???
Greetings from Germany
 
Dominik Scholz (Germany/Erbach)

 
Dear Dominik, Lois enjoyed your letter and says that Stan Laurel “was pretty much always optimistic and inspiring and wonderful to be around.  Sometimes you’d see him in a bad mood, but generally not. If you had met him, you would not have been disappointed.”

 

March 2013

Dear Lois, We can all think of famous people for example Kirk Douglas and John Lennon whose children chose to follow the same career path as their parents and that would be Michael Douglas and Julian Lennon. Now when you were a child you have said that you would go & visit the film sets and know doubt you met many famous stars, were you ever tempted to go into show business yourself and if not what career path did you choose? Many thanks for taking the time to answer the numerous questions that must be put to you each day by email and when you think about it you are doing exactly what Stan did all those years ago when he used to correspond with all his fans by letter, well I suppose at least with the luxury of email it saves a fortune in postage stamps! Kind regards & all the best.

Dave (Jersey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom)


"Not really, I had no desire to go into any aspect of show business. My mother wanted me to try acting, so she enrolled me in the Bliss-Hayden School. My dear friend Phyllis Coates was also a student there, as was Marilyn Monroe. Harry Hayden was my acting coach, and I think he appeared in a Laurel & Hardy film. He told my mother that she was wasting her money because I was a poor acting student! I had a bad memory and did not always remember my lines."

"My father's advice was always, 'Get an education.' But I don't think it hurt him! He was self-taught and read everything, he read a lot to make up for what he felt he never learned at school. (John) MCabe was wrong when he said my father did not read a lot, because he did."

 


Dear Lois, last time I watch Brats and it is always amazing how good Mr. Hardy and your father are played children. And they looked so cute in that clothes. As I watched it came a question into my mind. Had you and your father a favorite game as you were a child? Did you played a lot together? Best wishes to you!

Christin


"My father and I enjoyed playing the game of monopoly."
 


Lois, A pleasure and honour to be able to write to you. Im 15 years old and adore your fathers work! May i ask: how your father did his 'white magic' thumb lighter trick? and is there any possibility I could have a signed postcard from yourself, it would mean so much to me! Thank you ever so kindly for your time and may i wish you good health, happiness and best wishes from

Sam (Isle of Wight, England)


"Would you call that 'slight of hand?' Obviously the thumb was not real. He had so many tricks that he learned working with all the old English comics. But who did it first, that trick? I have no idea!"

Lois regrets she cannot send signed photos due to arthritis in her hands.

 

 

January 2013

Hello my name is Louis Oram and I go to a school in Blackpool and I am a big fan of Laurel and Hardy. Witch school did Stan Laurel in Ulverston?
 
Louis Oram (Blackpool England)


"He didn't go to school in Ulverston because they moved up north before it was time for him to begin attending classes. He always lamented not being a better student."
 


Dear Lois; I hope you're well and I wish you an Happy New Year! I'd like to ask you two questions, very important for me:
1 - Are there still scene clothes of Stan and Oliver? Jackets, Bombette and so on? If yes, do you yourself keep some of them?
2 - I'm writing a Book about Laurel & Hardy. Can I hope you'll be present to the Ptesentation of the Book next October? Do you live in Valencia, Spain? I thought you lived in England... Thanks for your answers

Maurizio Mason (Italy)  


"No, I live in Valencia north of Los Angeles, not the city in Spain! And yes, I have some things of my father's, naturally. But I am not a collector. People always ask me this. Good luck with your book. I know that doing a book is not easy. For years I have thought of doing one myself."

  
Dear Lois,
A question if I may, when your father Stan wasn't working was he able to go about his everyday private business without being pestered by the media of the time. And could Stan for example walk down the street without being pestered by fans or did his fame restrict his freedom in anyway.
Your father was a true genius of comedy and would no doubt be in the eye of the media in today's world but I have always wondered what it was like back in those early days.
Many thanks and Kind Regards
 
Dave Le Peurian (Jersey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom)


"The world has changed so much, today we have instant communication in so many media. Hollywood was a small, quiet place a century ago. My father came here and was not well known here or anywhere then. He was a humble person his entire life and never felt he was a movie star or a celebrity at all. He liked going to stationary stores, or the Farmer's Market (he would always get the fish-and-chips there), and nobody would bother him. Of course without his being in character, wearing makeup and in costume, he looked quite different. Eventually he would often have his valet and body guard and driver with him, Tonnage Martin, who appeared in some of my father's silent comedies, and worked with Charley Chase, too. So when he did a personal appearance, or they did a show somewhere, people would be expecting him and then he would receive public attention. That was what happened the time they toured England in 1932 and he could not believe they way they were mobbed. He was shocked by it. They'd been making Laurel & Hardy comedies for years -- yet he had no idea how famous they were! My mother was not pleased that he returned from that trip with a more self-important attitude!"
 

 

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Ask Lois by Richard W. Bann