Laurel and Hardy visit Glasgow, 1954
BILL CROUCH reports on THEIR FINAL VISIT
In the first week of March 1954, Laurel and Hardy performed at the Empire Theatre in Glasgow with their sketch “Birds of a Feather”. Their visit coincided with a serious power cut in the city - an occurrence mentioned in a local newspaper, the Evening Times in its ‘Women’s Page’, where Meg Munro interviewed the duo and their respective wives.
Meg Munro Takes a Peep into the Private Lives of the Laurels and Hardys
Wherever the professional engagements of Stan and Ollie take them, their wives go too. Although the couples are firm friends they have one rule - in private, they lead separate social lives. “It’s better that way,” says Stan. “We all see so much of each other when we are working that we feel we can stay friendly but not getting into each other’s hair all the time.”
So, this week I interviewed Oliver and Lucille Hardy in their hotel bedroom and Laurel and Ida in the Empire dressing room.
Lucille prompted husband Ollie to talk about his pet hobbies of cooking and carpentry.” He is a wonderful cook,” and Ollie added with a smile, “my speciality is making spaghetti and meatballs.” Lucile spoke of her craze at the moment of collecting miniature horse ornaments from each country she visits. She also collects Toby jugs, sets of dolls dressed in national costumes and books.
Oliver collects too - scissors, safety razors and knives, although being trailed by autograph hunters makes it difficult for him to get around. “So although we have been to Glasgow a number of times, I really don’t know the city,” he said. “I seldom go out and depend on my wife to tell me all about it. I tell you, I would be lost without her!”
Mr Laurel, too, is quite a chef it seems and although his wife makes him exotic Russian dishes, best of all he likes real ‘home’ food such as tripe and onions, rice pudding and - haggis. “And that’s not just a publicity line either” he says. “I really like haggis.” When not working Stan likes to fish.
Mrs Laurel, a white Russian, who was educated in China, had her feet tucked into brown suede winter boots and was wearing a pair of knitted half-hose over her nylons to keep her really warm.
The Laurels live in Santa Monica. “In a house almost on the beach,” says Stan. Blonde Mrs Laurel is a keen swimmer and takes a twice-daily dip in the Pacific. “The water is so warm there” she says, but Stan doesn’t agree. “I find it cold” he says. “Almost as cold a bathing round the Scottish coast, and I never manage to plunge in. I’ve always to dabble my toes first.”
Reviewers spoke warmly of Laurel and Hardy’s stint at the Empire.
Glasgow Herald: “Their entire act, put over so unaffectedly, was good fun of its kind. Hardy had opened by saying their act was 'a bit of nonsense' but our critic observed: 'Nonsense can be a lot more preferable than pretentious, clever stuff.' "