Towed in a Hole - Tidbits

In WAY OUT WEST (1937), Ollie denounces Jimmie Finlayson with the passing remark, "Out of my way you snake in the grass." To which Stan adds for good measure, "You toad in the hole."

This will not pass for news among Laurel & Hardy fans throughout the United Kingdom. In 1998 English actress Elizabeth Hurley appeared on an American television program, THE TONIGHT SHOW. She told host Jay Leno of a particular meal she enjoyed. Toad in the Hole: Curious at this, I phoned a proud Anglophile; her father was English. Lois Laurel-Hawes knew exactly what this meal named Toad in the Hole consisted of: She laughed and added, "If you come over I'll make you one!"

The following is Lois Laurel-Hawes's recipe for Toad in the Hole (all rights reserved):

1 1/2 pounds breakfast sausages or English Bangers (available here!). Broil or fry til almost done. Saving drippings. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Make Yorkshire Batter: Add 1 cup flour (sifted) and 1/2 T. salt in a mixing bowl. Make well in centre. Add 1 cupful milk. Whisk or use electric mixer. Add 2 large eggs beaten with 1 T. water til fluffy into flour mixture and whisk or beat til smooth.

In at least an 11 x 7 roasting pan (not glass) or round cast iron skillet, add Crisco and drippings to cover bottom of pan, and heat to really HOT in oven. Arrange sausages (after you remove pan from oven) and pour the batter evenly over, covering them; Pop into oven for 12 minutes. DON'T OPEN OVEN DOOR but lower temp * to 400 degrees and cook another 20 minutes til light golden colour. This will be really puffy!

Great for Sunday supper with green salad. Serves four. If you need to double amount use 2 pans!

As Oliver Hardy said to Lois Laurel-Hawes's father in TOWED IN A HOLE, "Tell me that again."

Or as Stan Laurel himself once said, "You sure know how to plan a meal."

He may have had another frame of reference when he titled production number L-11 as TOWED IN A HOLE. During the 1930s and 1940s there was a restaurant near Hollywood and Vine at 6160 Hollywood Boulevard called The Toad in the Hole, alleged to be a favorite with socialites.

Finally the fish horn Stan toots in TOWED IN A HOLE can be seen and heard elsewhere. For fans not "on the verge of horn mania", find and screen MAID IN HOLLYWOOD, made inside Hal Roach Studios the following year. While Thelma Todd is shooting her screen test, Patsy Kelly reaches into prop box (so labelled), pulls out the very same horn, and blows it.

-- by Richard W. Bann --