Stan Laurel in “Oranges and Lemons”

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Today marks the anniversary of the release date of Stan Laurel’s 1923 comedy short Oranges and Lemons (1923), directed by George Jeske.

This film was made during a brief period in Laurel’s pre-Hardy career when there was a bit of consistency in his films from release to release. This was a series of films for Hal Roach, in which the hook in each film was a different job, and all the jokes would riff off the workplace. Others in the series included White Wings, The Noon Whistle, and Pick and Shovel. In Oranges and Lemons, he obviously works in a California citrus grove. While well shot and produced, the crudity of this film hearkens back almost to film’s earliest days — no story to speak of, just gags, and all the inevitable ones you would predict, involving thrown fruit, a conveyor belt, a loft, and a pressing machine. The film’s title of course refers to the children’s nursery rhyme.

For more on early film history don’t miss my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from amazon.com etc etc etcchain%20of%20fools%20cvr%20front%20only-500x500For more on show biz historyconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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