To coincide with the 125th anniversary of Stan Laurel’s birth, Peterborough’s Showcase cinema is showing two classic Laurel and Hardy films on June 11.
The last big revival of Laurel and Hardy (who broke box office records during a two-week stint at Peterborough’s Embassy Theatre in 1952) was back in 1975 when they reached number 2 in the UK charts with ‘Trail Of The Lonesome Pine’, held off from the number one spot by Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
In the 80’s the BBC regularly showed the Laurel & Hardy classic shorts on BBC2. Since those days, apart from loyal fans from ‘The Sons Of the Desert’, (the international L&H appreciation society) flying the flag, there has been virtually nothing in recent years to introduce younger generations to Laurel & Hardy.
So back in a cinema with a packed audience - the way they were made to be seen - will be the 1933 classic Sons of the Desert and County Hospital from 1932.
In the first, Stanley and Ollie want to attend the yearly convention of the Sons of the Desert, a fraternal group to which they belong. When Ollie’s wife, Lollie (Mae Busch), objects, he feigns sickness, and Stanley gets a doctor to prescribe a fake trip to Honolulu After Stanley and Ollie revel with the Sons of the Desert, they return home to find out the ship they were supposedly on has sunk in a typhoon, and they’re forced to cover their tracks.
In County Hospital , visiting Ollie in the hospital where he’s recovering from a broken leg, Stanley wreaks havoc on both his friend (getting Oliver strung up from the ceiling by his cast-encased leg) as well as the doctor, who winds up dangling out the window. After they’re ordered out, Stanley tries to drive Oliver home, unaware that he’s just accidentally injected himself with a powerful sedative.