30 December 1999
The following lines provide a few thoughts from Lois Laurel-Hawes on the eve of the new millennium:
I phoned to try and clarify some varying quotes attributed to her father about which Laurel & Hardy film was his favorite.
"People asked him that question many times," Lois said. "He really didn't have one particular favorite film. There were individual scenes he favored in certain films, and he would pick those out and mention scenes that played well. Lucille (Hardy-Price) always said that if they had to pick just one film, that from start to finish the one they enjoyed making the most was WAY OUT WEST. Whether or not it was also the finished product they were the most proud of, she could never quite figure out. And over the years, what my dad would say to friends, and in letters, well, he would contradict himself a little. But then all of us feel differently about certain things at different times."
I asked Lois what her plans were for New Year's Eve. She declined all the party invitations. She prefers to watch television coverage of the festivities on Times Square in New York City, then go to bed early!
As for the fortunes of Laurel & Hardy in the new millennium, Lois says, "I look forward to them being stronger than ever. I really do. Especially in contrast to the kinds of new programming being offered by network television. Laurel & Hardy look better than ever. And the films are certainly ready for the new millennium! What you and Munich have done with these prints is absolutely stunning! The films look fresh and new again thanks to the restoration, preservation and new mastering.
"I think the more these films are seen by new audiences, the greater the demand will be for the comedy of Laurel & Hardy. Because the quality of the prints is amazing, and the comedy is timeless and universal. No one has to learn the English language to enjoy these films. I mean they worked so hard to make these films in the first place, from my dad and Babe and everyone else at the studio on down, and it shows because these films still speak to audiences today, and thanks to the investment you've made in Munich, they will continue to do so.
"I really believe it would be a miracle, in this coming century, or ever again, if we were to see a comedy team to rival the appeal, the innocence, the humanity, and the comedy genius of these two men. So there's my prediction! Who could top them? Laurel & Hardy were unique and great. I guess I am revealing a bias, aren't I?! But they were something special, really special, and I am glad to know that future generations will continue to discover and love them."
Richard W. Bann
All photos copyright CCA