Laurel and Hardy Visit Southend
For one week in August 1952, a Lancashire lad and his American friend and comedy partner, stayed and performed in
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy remain unquestionably cinemas greatest comedy partnership. They made their first appearance together in a 1920 silent film called Lucky Dog. Their comedy team was formed during the silent movie era and when the talkies arrived in the late 1920’s, they made a successful transition to sound comedy. Their initial success was in the ‘short’ films that lasted 20 minutes but they progressed into feature length films, making 106 films together. Their last film made in
In 1947, Bernard Delfont wanted to book an American act to tour the
Advance publicity in the local papers, announced the forthcoming appearance of Laurel and Hardy at the Odeon Southend for their week’s performance. Stan, Ollie and their respective wives Ida and Lucille travelled by train from
During their stay at the Palace Hotel, they were asked to attend a buffet lunch and present lapel badges to managers of local cinemas. The press was on hand and several of the photographs taken appeared in the local papers.
They were also photographed on the balcony outside their rooms with the famous Southend Pier in the background. Although there is no record of their going onto the Pier, it seems likely that they would have done during their stay.
During their stay in Southend, it appears that Laurels and Hardy’s saw a little bit of the town. Lucille and Ida went to Patience Cameras in
Laurel and Hardy loved to meet up with other performers throughout their tours. Whilst Laurel and Hardy were appearing at the Odeon, the Regal Theatre in
They topped the bill of the variety show at the Odeon, which included ten other acts amongst which were Archie Elray a ventriloquist, the Great Cingalee magician,
Laurel and Hardy films are still enjoyed today. Their appreciation society, known as Sons of the Desert, started in 1965 and branches or ‘tents’ exist in many countries each group taking a name of one of their films. The Saps At Sea Tent in Southend, was formed in 1998, and have been meeting every month since then, enjoying the laughter, fun and special magic of Laurel and Hardy
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of their appearance in Southend, the Saps At Sea Tent organised a Laurel and Hardy Convention which was attended by 100 devotees from the
For further details about Laurel and Hardy’s visit to Southend or for information about the Saps At Sea Tent contact:-Roger Robinson [email protected] 01702 526187.