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Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy
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Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have remained, from 1927 to the present day, the screen's most famous and popular comedy double act, celebrated by legions of fans. But despite many books about their films and individual lives, there has never been a fully researched, definitive narrative biography of the duo, from birth to death.

Louvish traces the early lives of Stanley Jeffe
Paperback, 544 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2001)
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Great biography of the funniest comedy team of all time. After I withstood the incredible pretension of its opening chapter analyzing the creation of comedy, I found a lively and detailed history of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as individuals and as a team. The book devotes much time to looking at Stan & Ollie before teaming up, which was a nice surprise. Learning about them as people, I had a more thorough understanding of their relationship as a comedy team as the book went on. It's writte ...more
Louvish has written widely about early Hollywood culture (with bios of Chaplin, Sennett, WC Fields and the Marx Bros. among others), and his gentle, light style is perfectly suited to the charms of Laurel and Hardy. Louvish traces their divergent upbringings (Oliver 'Babe' Hardy in the American Deep South, and Stan Jefferson/Laurel in the north of England) in much loving detail (in fact, it's a full 160pp before the duo meet here, which is a third of the book). He then goes through their film ca ...more
Eric Bauman
I have to admit that I almost gave up on this book. After I read the first chapter, I had no idea what the author had been talking about. When I made it to around page 75, I was worn out not only by the author's continued pretentious prose, but also from being a Yank not understanding the very British words and phrases that the author was using. I thought about whether to continue or not, and decided to give it another 50 pages.

I'm glad I did. The author calmed his prose down (although it did fl
This book is not only a very interesting history of the personal lives and early professional struggles of one of the iconic comedy teams of old Hollywood, but it's also rich in historical detail about the history and other personalities of the very earliest days of Hollywood, as well as about the old classic British Music Hall days, their equivalent of our Vaudeville. Both comedians are shown as being much more than just their innocent & childlike comic personas that we see on screen-- thei ...more
The amount of work the author did to pull together filmographies and biographies was astounding. However, I find his writing style ("non-linear" is the gentlest way to describe it) very annoying. It's not uncommon for the author to launch in to a story, tell part of it, then tell the reader "but that's a story for later in the book." Grrr.

Also, the author spent about 2 paragraphs pondering the homoerotic undertones and subcontext of Stan and Ollie sharing a bed in "Laughing Gravy" (one of their
I thoroughly enjoyed this bio of the best comedy duo of all time. Louvish has an interesting style which avoids the book simply becoming a collection of facts and figures, but which isn't too obtrusive in itself. The characters of Stan and Ollie are shown to develop clearly from their respective roots, and whilst the intricacies of their personal lives (and various wives) are examined in some depth these are done so sympathetically and unsalaciously. I found it fascinating and informative and - ...more
I gave this five stars despite the fact that I didn't really enjoy it all that much. The thing is, it wasn't really written for me. I was expecting a general sort of biography, rather than a meticulously researched collection of details. However, if you ever need to know exactly what each of these did professionally, when and with whom and how it all fit into the comedy business of the time, this is your book.
William Matthies
Hard to imagine anyone who has not watched a lot of Stan and Laurel comedies appreciating a book about their lives, particularly one 544 pages long. But I grew up in the 50's and saw a lot of their stuff on TV reruns, so, for me, the stage was set for what was an enjoyable read

Chris Wood
I enjoyed reading this book in the main, though there were two things which occasionally frustrated me.

Firstly, the author does seem to pad the narrative with plot summaries of each film and/or extracts from the script. Obviously, plot summary is needed at times, but at other times it either serves no purpose in driving L&H's story onwards or becomes a little excessive.

Secondly, I found the author's tendency to interpret L&H's work somewhat odd. For instance, at one point he interprets a
Informative joint biography of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. There is a lot of neat contextual information about US and British vaudeville, early Hollywood studios, and the effects of war on the film industry. That said, there is way too much space taken up with lengthy plot outlines of films that don't really add much to the history. Another downside was the author's tendency to dot the narrative with comments about what Laurel and Hardy "were feeling" or "were trying to do". All in all, a wort ...more
As much as I love Laurel and Hardy I just couldn't get through this book. It was so full of minute boring detailsIi just barely made it up to where they finally meet and i just got distracted by another book and never did get around to trying to finish it. Maybe I'll get another book about "the boys" one of these days. Or if i rtun out of stuff to read maybe I'll give it another go.............
A really good read: Stan's and Ollie's story is also the story of early cinema.
Charts their life and career from the turn-of-the-century to their death in the 1950's. Learn how nice guys do suceed in Holywood.....with a little "boozing" along the way.
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Simon Louvish (born 1947 in Scotland) is an Israeli author and film maker. He has written many books about Avram Blok, a fictional Israeli caught up between wars, espionage, prophets, revolutions, loves, and a few near apocalypses.

He has also written biographies of W. C. Fields, The Marx Brothers, Groucho Marx, Laurel and Hardy, and Mack Sennett.
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