Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More of Mr. Hardy

Babe with Buck Jones in THE GENTLE CYCLONE (1926)

Babe in the middle of the fight from

With Larry Semon from THE AGENT (1922)... I think, you tell me?

Babe and Jimmy Aubrey in THE NUISANCE (1921). 
Guess which of the two is the title character.  If you chose Mr. Hardy you are dead wrong!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

HER BOY FRIEND pressbook

Here is the pressbook for HER BOY FRIEND (Educational, 1924) Larry Semon's first short after leaving Vitagraph. Babe, billed as Oliver N. Hardy, is in this one but not highlighted much in the pressbook. Enjoy:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stan Lobby Cards

So why stop with Babe? Here are some lobby cards of films starring the comedian formerly known as Stan Jefferson.


By the time this film was released Stan had left G.M. Anderson and was over at the Hal Roach Studios filming UNDER TWO JAGS. I really like the Amalgamated comedies and it was this series, not the soon to follow series at Roach, that really established Stan as a viable star film comedian.

RUPERT OF HEE-HAW (Roach, 1924)

Stan's next to last film for Hal Roach during his second tenure at the studio. A "travesty" of RUPERT OF HENTZAU (the sequel story to THE PRISONER OF ZENDA) with Stan playing a dual role.

DR. PYCKLE AND MR. PRIDE (Joe Rock, 1925)

Stan's next to last film for Joe Rock is probably his best solo film ever. Watching the films he made between 1922 and 1925 for G.M. Anderson, Hal Roach and Joe Rock show that Stan would have been a star with or without Oliver Hardy (but yes, not likely to the great degree the Boys obtained together). But by the time this film was released Stan had already directed three comedies for Hal Roach beginning his intended career as solely a behind-the-camera talent.

Babe Lobby Cards

Okay, so things ain't so good on the DVD front! So to cheer us all up a bit I am posting some lobby cards of Mr. Hardy.

HEY TAXI! (Arrow, 1925)
For the longest time I thought the only Bobby Ray & Oliver Hardy films were STICK AROUND and HOP TO IT! But there is also this film and one other (THEY ALL FALL). Of all the films the Boys made before teaming up these are the ones that most foreshadow Laurel AND Hardy films.

SQUABS AND SQUABBLES (Vitagraph, 1919)

Babe is second from left (duh). Dick Smith is also in the shot as is Jimmy Aubrey himself. Glad I dug up this photo, there isn't one in my book at all. They are on the standing "Paradise Alley" street set on the Vitagraph lot. Other Babe Hardy films shot on this street including Aubrey's FLIPS AND FLOPS and Larry Semon's THE RENT COLLECTOR.

SPRINGTIME (Vitagraph, 1920)

Within six months of this film coming out Babe will be fired by Jimmy Aubrey, be hired on a full time basis by Larry Semon, and have made his first film with a struggling English comedian by the name of Stan Laurel.

More Laurel or Hardy Collection DVD set update

The "More Laurel or Hardy Collection" DVD set may not ever see the light of day. Passport Video, the distributor, has gone into receivership (aka bankrupcy). There is always a chance they will be able to reorganize and come out of bankrupcy but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The More Laurel or Hardy Collection DVD set


I am hosting a second DVD set of Stan and Ollie solo films. The set will hit the stores on October 13 at a list price of $19.95. There are some rare titles on this set:

"A Warm Reception" - One of my all time favorite Babe Hardy films. Made at Vim after Plump & Runt ended this stars Babe and he also directed.

"Distilled Love" - Babe's one and only appearance with the great Alice Howell (one of Stan's favorite comediennes).

"The Pest" - Stan and the Music Box stairs some ten years before the Boys move a piano up the same stairs.

"Weak-End Party" - Another of the films Stan made for G.M. Anderson. This one is a good one and has Babe London in it.

"The Chief Cook" - Ellen Burford is in the bathtub and Billy West spys on her. IN this uncut version we all get to see what he was looking at! How did they ever think nudity was ever going to make it past the various state ensor boards?

Here is the running order (may be a bit out of date, I think there were a few changes since I last heard from Passport):

Oliver “Babe” Hardy & Stan Laurel: the Early Years: “Something In Her Eye” (Novelty, 1915); “Love And Duty” (Vim, 1916); “A Warm Reception” (Vim, 1916); “Just Rambling Along” (Hal Roach, 1918); “Do You Love Your Wife?” (Hal Roach, 1919); “Distilled Love” (Reelcraft, 1920) .

Oliver “Babe” Hardy with Billy West: “The Station Master” (King Bee, 1917); “The Chief Cook” (King Bee, 1917); “Cupid’s Rival” (King Bee, 1917); “Bright And Early” (King Bee, 1918).

Stan Laurel at Hal Roach in 1923: “Man About Town” (Hal Roach, 1923); “Save the Ship” AKA “The Houseboat” (Hal Roach, 1923); “Short Orders” (Hal Roach, 1923); “The Noon Whistle” (Hal Roach, 1923); “Scorching Sands” (Hal Roach, 1923); “Frozen Hearts” (Hal Roach, 1923).

Laurel OR Hardy with Larry Semon: “Huns And Hyphens” (Vitagraph, 1918); “The Perfect Clown” (First National, 1925).

Stan Laurel in Search of a Character (and a studio): “The Weak-End Party” (Amalgamated, 1922); “The Pest” (Amalgamated, 1922); “The Egg” (Amalgamated, 1922); “No Place Like Jail” AKA “Detained” (Joe Rock, 1924); “Mandarin Mix-Up” (Joe Rock, 1924); “Somewhere In Wrong”(Joe Rock, 1925); “Pie-Eyed” (Joe Rock, 1925); “Half a Man” (Joe Rock, 1925) .

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stan too....

Felt like this was getting to be the ".... or Hardy" blog, so I give to you Stan Laurel in SOMEWHERE IN WRONG. Julie Leonard, Max Asher and "Tige" (before he changed his name to Pete the Pup) are also pictured. This still was offered up for sale on the internet (E-Bay?) as part of the Max Asher Collector and that is where this scan comes from... but I use the same shot in my book, see page 491. Makes you wonder sometimes why with the dozens of stills that must have existed at one time the same shot keeps cropping up.... maybe from the same source, who knows? Frankly can't rememeber where I got the shot for my book.

Anyhow, feel better now that Stan has made an appearance. SOMEWHERE IN WRONG is one of my favorites... maybe because he acts a lot like "Stanley" in this one, or maybe it was because during production of this film he finally dumped Mae.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Babe was a star!

One of my pet peeves is when people throw around terms like "never" and "always." For instance, it is often said that Babe Hardy was NEVER a star comedian before he teamed up with Stan Laurel. The above poster illustrates that Mr. Hardy certainly was a name above the title star comedian. Briefly, okay. Smaller company, yes I guess so. But none the less a star! ... so never say never and always use always sparingly.

THE BOYCOTTED BABY was released January 4, 1917 by Vim Comedies. One of the last Vim comedies produced before what had become known as the Babe Hardy Company filming unit would evolve into the King Bee Company. With the exception of Kate Price (who would go to work with Billy Ruge in the other half of the fractured Vim, Jaxon Comedies) most of those that regularly worked with Babe in the last days of Vim (Ethel Burton, Joe Cohen, Florence McLoughlin and Budd Ross) would also appear in the first of the Billy West comedies that King Bee would start producing in early 1917.

A WARM RECEPTION, the only one of these post-Plump & Runt Babe Hardy Vims that is known to exist is a delight to see. Babe, who apparently also directed the film, does a good bit of the full in drag. On my list of the Top 10 Best Laurel or Hardy Solo Films. So, if you have THE BOYCOTTED BABY hiding in your closet under your laundry let me know....

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Little Wildcat

In 1922 Babe Hardy was in the middle of his tenure as Larry Semon's main support. But in the latter part of 1922 Babe drifted over to the feature film department at Vitagraph Pictures making FORTUNE'S MASK with Earle Williams and THE LITTLE WILDCAT with Alice Calhoun. Both are lost films, the occasional still or postcard from the Williams film have appeared, but never anything from the Calhoun film until now. This photo which has the working title, GAMIN GIRL, stamped on the back show Alice Calhoun hiding behind Babe. If this isn't the sole surviving visual image from the film I would love to hear from anyone who has more material... but until then this one shot with Babe front-and-center really wets the appetite to see the film itself.... maybe someday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New BABE HARDY film discovery

Steve Massa has discovered another film to add to Babe Hardy's solo filmography:

Released August 11, 1915. Edison Company/General Film Company release. One reel. Copyrighted August 2, 1915 (LP5990) by Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
Produced by Thomas A. Edison. Directed by Will Louis.

with William Wadsworth (Riley), Mabel Dwight, Jean Dumar, Guido Colucci, Marie La Manna, Raymond McKee, O.N. Hardy.

The newly rich Riley wants corned beef and cabbage. His wife, with social aspirations, won't tolerate it. One day she tracks him to a poor neighborhood, and finds him heartily tucking away corned beef and cabbage cooked by a "widder woman." His wife also finds her daughter there, very much in love with the "widder woman's" son. So they all go home to Riley's for corned beef and cabbage. --Motion Picture News.

It appears that Babe plays a servant in this one, and that his buddy Raymond McKee must be the widder woman's son mentioned in the synopsis. The Braff Silent Short Film Working Papers doesn't mention the film at all. American Film-Index, 1908-1915 lists the film and cites Fred R. Ashfield as the film's author. Motography and Moving Image World also published a synopsis for the film.

Hope to dig up a review next time I am up in D.C.

Thanks for keeping an eye out Steve. The photo seals the deal, no doubt about Babe being in this one.