Today is the anniversary of the release date of the 1942 comedy A-Haunting We Will Go, starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. This is one of my favorite films from the team’s worst period (1941-1951). A fairly conventional spook comedy, while still beneath the talents of the team, it is at least on par with the standard comedy fodder of the day (a low standard, but at least they weren’t beneath it on this occasion. Their vehicles sometimes were). Best of all, their co-star is Dante the Magician, and he proves to be a pretty good actor.
Laurel and Hardy play a pair of hobos who get a job transporting a coffin (little knowing that it contains, not a corpse, but a con man with an elaborate scheme). The coffin gets mixed up with one of Dante’s magic trunks. Then the pair become Dante’s assistants! And then…they get entangled with a fairly boring plot…the usual gangster business that was so popular in the 40s, which the studios seemed to think was so much better than letting two brilliant comedians be funny. But as I say, this one is better than their usual product of the period, and it’s a pleasant enough way to spend an hour or so.
For more on silent and slapstick comedy don’t miss my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
For more on show biz history, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.