For Your Summer Reading: Check Out These Great Laurel and Hardy Books

We don’t usually devote such concentrated attention to another author’s books, but in the case of Randy Skretvedt, one of the world’s pre-eminent Laurel and Hardy experts, we’ll make an exception, especially as he has worked up these ready-to-share descriptions. I can’t think of anything more pleasurable than being all sprawled out on a beach blanket or hammock, with my schnoz buried deep in one of these tomes! Ordering information is at the bottom of the post:
LAUREL & HARDY: THE MAGIC BEHIND THE MOVIES – THE ULTIMATE EDITION by Randy Skretvedt is now available in paperback worldwide from your local Amazon website with all of the fascinating stories and rare photographs, but at half the price (and half the weight!) of the hardcover.This is an 8″x 10″ book, 630 pages, which details how each of the team’s 106 films was created. Exclusive interviews with more than 60 of the team’s associates (including producer Hal Roach, performers Anita Garvin, Dorothy Granger and Henry Brandon, editors Richard Currier and Bert Jordan, and director George Marshall) create a vivid, you-are-there account of Stan, Babe, Hal Roach, and their many talented co-workers making these classic films. Excerpts from the original scripts include several fascinating comedy routines that were never filmed. The text, based on 43 years of research, is supplemented with 1,000 rare and previously unpublished photographs, many from Oliver Hardy’s personal collection. They show the team working on the set, and acting out tantalizing scenes which were deleted from the films.
Also available from your local Amazon outlet:
THE LAUREL & HARDY MOVIE SCRIPTS is a 6″x 9,” 286 page paperback which contains 20 original screenplays for short films from 1926 through 1934, never before published, with many scenes not used in the films. (One script is a swashbuckling adventure which was never filmed.) Many rare illustrations complement the text, which includes an introduction by Randy Skretvedt for each of the scripts, providing background information and noting differences from script to screen.
And for further entertainment:
LAUREL & HARDY ON THE RADIO & ON THE PHONE! -RARE AND PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED AUDIO 1944-1964 is a HARDCOVER 9 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ 85 page book.The book contains essays by Leonard Maltin, Michael Feinstein, Randy Skretvedt, Richard W. Bann, and others, with dozens and dozens of never-before-seen photographs. There are two audio CDs containing over 95 minutes of super rare audio, including, for the very first time, a brand-new, never before heard or known of second 1944 NBC Radio audition,”No Dumber Plumbers.” Also included is a long-thought lost hour-long interview with Stan Laurel in a private, candid conversation that he had no idea was being recorded.
LAUREL & HARDY ON STAGE! RARE AND UNRELEASED LIVE PERFORMANCES 1942-1957 is a HARDCOVER 91/2″ x 12 1/2″ 136 page book which contains essays by Randy Skretvedt and Peter Mikkelsen and dozens and dozens of never-before-seen photographs,many from Stan Laurel’s personal scrapbooks. There are two audio CDs containing over 137 minutes of super rare audio, including, for the very first time, two different versions of “The Driver’s License Sketch” which have never before been released — a live performance from a camp show in Dayton, Ohio in 1942,and another, extended version from Copenhagen in 1948. There’s also a lengthy1957 interview with Stan (in pristine audio) and a 1944 NBC Radio audition,”Mr. Slater’s Poultry Market,” taken from first-generation discs.
MAGIC and SCRIPTS are available in the USA from and from They are also available worldwide from Amazon.
Our friends in the UK can find them here: