Thursday, 16 June 2016

Stan Laurel, Birthday Boy

The great comic actor Stan Laurel was born (as Arthur Stanley Jefferson) on this day in 1890, in the northern town of Ulverston. Buster Keaton's assessment of Stan's talent, as overheard at Laurel's funeral, was that 'Chaplin wasn't the funniest, I wasn't the funniest, this man was the funniest'. Some extraordinary cine footage of Keaton at the funeral, clearly grieving, survives - here's the link. Less than a year later, Keaton too was dead.
 But, on a happier note, here is some equally extraordinary footage of Stan Laurel visiting his father (and stepmother) in 1932. The love and affection - not to mention the physical resemblance - between the two shines out. In those days, for a grown man, and a Northerner at that, to kiss his father - or ever his stepmother - so exuberantly would have been seen as dangerously unbuttoned behaviour. But not if it was Stan, the Holy Fool of comedy, a man you couldn't help but love.

2 comments: