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Laurel and Hardy Looking Better Than Ever

Laurel and Hardy Looking Better Than Ever

Laurel and Hardy are coming back to theater screens
beginning this weekend in Los Angeles, and that’s cause for celebration. If
you’re already a fan, come and enjoy yourself; if you have kids or grandkids,
be sure to bring them along. Every young person deserves to experience great
comedy like this. Here is the schedule for the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood
and the Aero in Santa Monica, with details about screenings and special guests. And this just in: the opening night show
on Friday at the Egyptian will also include the rediscovered silent short The Battle of the Century, featuring the
comedy duo’s legendary pie fight.

         I grew up
watching Laurel and Hardy every day on local television. That’s when I fell in
love with Stan and Ollie, as did millions of other baby boomers. Little did I
dream back then that the prints were inferior, the newly-shot credits full of
spelling errors and missing clever graphics and optical effects. Here is one
example of what I saw as a kid and what has been done to restore the original opening: Come Clean.

         Several years
ago the UCLA Film and Television Archive launched a major effort to restore the
Laurel and Hardy short subjects and feature films from the best surviving 35mm
materials. These films have been neglected and mistreated over the years to an
alarming degree, so the task has been formidable. Longtime L&H fan Jeff
Joseph made it his mission to change all of that, which required both money and
determination.

         Now he has
acquired the theatrical rights to the L&H library, hoping to introduce
these beloved comedians to a new generation. What’s more, he has taken UCLA ‘s 35mm
restorations and given them a digital clean-up, with startling results. It’s no
exaggeration to say that the films haven’t looked this good since they were
first released in the 1930s.

         Here are two
vivid examples: the first from Me and My
Pal
 
 and the second
from Their First Mistake.

         To learn more
about the restoration effort, read what Susan King has reported in this
interesting column: Laurel and Hardy Restored.

          And to contribute to the Laurel and
Hardy Preservation Fund at UCLA, click HERE.

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