Towed in a Hole (1933)

"Laurel and Hardy - Fresh Fish - Crabs a Speciality"

Produced by Hal Roach
Directed by George Marshall

Featuring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Billy Gilbert


On their rickety Ford is a sign: "Laurel and Hardy - Fresh Fish - Crabs A Speciality." The boys are fishmongers, drive along the sunny but unresponsive streets of Culver City, Ollie sings out with pride, "F-r-e-s-h f-i-s-h! Caught in the ocean, this m-o-r-n-i-n-g, Salmon, mackeral, swordfish and tuna." Stan chimes in, tooting his fish horn. Reflecting on their success as travelling fish peddlers, Ollie beams with pride as he says to Stan, "For the first time in our lives we're a success. A nice little fish business, and making money." This observation catches a million-dollar idea swimming in Stan's head. He's been thinking. "If we caught our own fish,", Stan explains, "we wouldn't have to pay for it. Then whoever we sold it to, it would be clear profit." Practically dumbstruck, Ollie ponders this innovative notion for a moment, stops the automobile, and seeks clarification from his inspired partner. But Stan can't even repeat his business plan, much less define it. Doesn't matter, Ollie got the idea - eliminate the middle-man. So far, so good. Next (and last, because it's as far as they get) the entrepreneurs buy a dilapidated old boat. They'll fix it up. "I'll attend to the important things," Ollie declares.


First they fill their fishing craft with water fo find the leaks. They patch. They clean. They paint. They quarrel. They inevitably soak each other with water, paint and mud. And yet somehow after innumerable repair tasks, their mighty craft is ready for navigate the ocean. If only Stan and Ollie can find the water and get there. Preparing to haul the heavy vessel towed by their car, Stan has another idea: hoist the sail. Surely the wind will help to propel the journey. Just then a breeze does come up and cooperates nicely, within seconds driving the boat into the car, and crashing both in a noisy heap of debris down a hillside. Stunned, the boys silently survey the twisted wreckage. Then Stan runs ahead to rescue his fish horn, delighted to discover it still blows. At this, Ollie blows too.

-- by Richard W. Bann --