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The Lasting Legacy of Laurel and Hardy: Preserving the Most Iconic Comedians of All Time

17/11/2015 17:10 GMT | Updated 16/11/2016 10:12 GMT

Over 30 years, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy appeared together in 106 films. Their first film was a silent short called A Lucky Dog.

Now, almost 100 years later, Laurel and Hardy are being screened in cinemas to sell-out audiences across the UK & Ireland as part of a campaign to introduce them to the next generation, and preserve the legacy of the world's finest comedians (in my opinion - and many others).

One of the films being shown in cinemas is the classic comedy short The Music Box, in which the boys attempt to move a piano up a large flight of steps. The Music Box won an Academy Award for best Live Action Short Film in 1932. The iconic short was one of Stan Laurel's personal favourites.

In 1997, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

THE STEPS

The Music Box steps still exist (all 131 of them) and are located in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles on Vendome (923-937 Vendome) at Del Monte. As a lifelong fan of Laurel and Hardy I seized the opportunity to visit the famous location during a trip to Los Angeles in 2012. There is a plaque on the stairs acknowledging the famous association with the boys.

The steps were also used in an earlier Laurel and Hardy film called Hats Off, a short silent which was based around the boys trying to carry a washing machine up the stairs rather than a piano. Hats Off is regarded as a lost Laurel and Hardy film.

HIGH DEFINITION - Like the originals, only better

When Laurel and Hardy were screened in cinemas last month, fans of all ages turned up in their droves to see Way Out West and Towed In A Hole in HD. The HD process involved scanning 35mm prints and negatives. Telecine was performed in 2K. The 2K files were then used to create restored HD masters which greatly enhance the viewing experience without losing any of the authenticity of the old films.

KEEPING THEIR MEMORY ALIVE

This year marks the 125th anniversary of Stan Laurel's birth. In addition to bringing their classic films back to cinemas, the UK has enjoyed many events this year. In Stan's home town of Ulverston (Cumbria) in June, Another Fine Fest, a festival of music, comedy, street theatre and arts to celebrate the birth of Ulverston's most famous son took place and proved very popular. The Laurel and Hardy Museum in Ulverston continues to fly the flag for Laurel and Hardy all year round. In October, a Laurel and Hardy convention in Chatham, Kent was attended by hundreds of fans, new and old, thanks to the efforts of the Helpmates chapter of the Sons Of The Desert, the official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society.

About 10 years ago we started the Laurel and Hardy Forum, which is still popular with fans around the world today. Fans continue to grow online thanks to Facebook and Twitter, with many channels dedicated to Laurel and Hardy. My own Twitter account, @Stan_And_Ollie currently has just over 30,000 followers. It's amazing to think that all these years on, Stan and Ollie are as loved now as they ever were.

Audiences young and old are preparing for the next bout of Laurel and Hardy on Tuesday 17th November 2015, when cinemas will be screening a double bill of Block-Heads and The Music Box.

Take note TV bosses.... We've proved Laurel and Hardy still have a massive audience... it's time to get a season of shorts back on mainstream TV! Who's with me?

TICKETS & A LIST OF PARTICIPATING CINEMAS CAN BE FOUND AT www.laurelandhardyroadshow.co.uk