1956 Home Movie: Laurel & Hardy Together for the Last Time

There is no exact date for this silent home movie shot at the Reseda, CA home of Stan Laurel‘s daughter, Lois. But the year must have been 1956, because, during that year, Oliver Hardy, the other member of the great comic duo, lost more than 150 pounds, resulting in a complete change of his outward appearance. Hardy had a mild heart attack in 1954 and started looking after his health. But letters by Stan Laurel indicate that Oliver was also suffering from cancer. In September 1956 – probably not long after this movie was made – Oliver suffered a major stroke, which left him unable to speak and confined to bed for several months. Then, at the beginning of August 1957, he had two more strokes and slipped into a coma from which he never recovered. He died on August 7 that year.

Exactly one week after Oliver’s death, Stan gave a rare radio interview and recounted the moment when he and Oliver met for the first time. The full, one-hour interview can be enjoyed here. Stan died on 23 February 1965 after suffering a heart attack of his own. He was buried at Forest Park Memorial Park in Burbank. Footage from the funeral shows celebrities such as Dick Van Dyke, Buster Keaton and George Chandler in attendance. Stan’s friend Dick Van Dyke delivered this moving eulogy.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.