Arthur Stanley Jefferson was born inin his Granparents’ home in Ulverston, Cumbria on 16 June 1890. However, we know and love him better as one half of Laurel & Hardy, Stan Laurel.
His parents, Arthur and Margaret Jefferson were both involved in the entertainment industry in theatres and music halls resulting in young Arthur Jr spending much of his early years living with his grandmother whilst his parents were out on the road.
However, by the time his father started to manage a Bishop Auckland theatre, Arthur Jr would attend King James I Grammar school in the same town.
The theatre itself is long since gone, but clues remain in the street name of Theatre Corner and a statue of Stan Laurel being placed on the site.
In 1910, young Arthur Jefferson joined Fred Karno’s musical-comedy troupe of actors, which included Charlie Chaplin amongst its ranks, performing under the stage name of Stan Jefferson.
The now named Stan Jefferson stayed on in the USA, touring vaudeville and picking up what film work he could.
However, it wouldn’t be until 1921 when Stan Jefferson worked for the first time with his later partner Oliver Hardy in a silent film “The Lucky Dog”.
It was around this time when superstition hit and Stan Jefferson was persuaded that having a name with thirteen letters was unlucky. As a result, Stan Laurel was born.
Laurel signed to Hal Roach studios in 1926 and it was originally intended he would write and direct films. However, when Oliver Hardy a minor kitchen accident, Stan was asked to return to acting.
The duo would come together in the 1927 release of Duck Soup, a twenty minute long silent film.
A comedy legend was born and the rest as they say is history.
I think of all the films I have seen starring Laurel & Hardy, The Music Box has to be my favourite. It showcases the pair’s natural comedy timing and getting that heavy piano up all the stairs when there is an easy route via a road around the back of the hill sums up any situations people will have come across in their own lives.