Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away, there lived a boy named Me who amused himself for hours on end with old movies and short comedy films. The land was an obscure place called Long Island, New York. Due to the proximity of a very large city, our family enjoyed many TV stations that broadcast many entertainers, both very new (for the time) and very, very old.
Back then you could buy 3 candy bars for a quarter, dinosaurs sold gasoline; and if there was any mention of cellular phones, it would have been some strange communications device used by atomic monster amoebas. Radio programs would entertain whole families; but while listening one could do lots of other things while listening to shows like Fibber McGee and Molly or the Green Hornet. I arrived on this planet about 6 years after commercial TV came into bloom. By the time I learned English, though, I was completely hooked by all the cool stuff on the magic glowing box.
Looking back, I consider it quite a privilege to have grown up where I did. Local stations from New York City of course had nationally televised network shows, but they also had their own very entertaining local programs. All of these were broadcast live; which often made for interesting viewing. On top of all that, the New York stations had access to extensive collections of both silent movies and movies with sound.
Our parents did the best they could to encourage us kids to play outside. However, when it got dark early or if the weather was icky we’d be in the house. Often in desperation our Mom would say, “go watch television!!” Didn’t take much persuasion… and we enjoyed many hours of shows like the Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello, Looney Tunes, Marx Brothers, and Laurel and Hardy. The laughter from all these was a great escape for me. Things at home weren’t always pleasant (every home has its moments I suppose). I won’t go into any gory detail… but suffice it to say that comedy films gave me the healing touch of laughter I often desperately needed.
Fast forward to my own journey into parenthood; and of course I shared the joy of the “old guys” with our kids. Both our daughter and son know, for example, that Stan and Ollie were the first names of the famous comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy. Not sure if that had any bearing on what was to come, but our first grandson was named Oliver. Ollie is now 12, and we’ve already begun a second passing of the torch, so to speak. Both Oliver and his brother Gabe have had many laughs while watching some Laurel and Hardy shorts. Even a couple silent films! To my great delight, they both enjoy them greatly (thank you, YouTube).
Our daughter and son in law also have two dogs; Arrow and Stanley. Both are beautiful, loving creatures who greet us warmly every time we go to visit. And now of course, their family have their very own Stan and Ollie!! So… long story longer; not only did Stan and Ollie warm my heart when I was a kid; but they continue to do so now that I’m older than compost.
In more ways than one!!
For those of you who have read this far, please enjoy this Laurel and Hardy short film. I have a feeling Stan and Ollie will lift your spirits, too.