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#1
Old 11-11-2001, 10:09 PM
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My dad has told me that both of these comedy pairs actually did not like one another very much, if at all.

He has said it about both of them at separate times. Is it true and if so, for which one? Both? Neither? Thanks.
#2
Old 11-11-2001, 10:23 PM
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I've always read that Laurel & hardy were pretty amicable.

Not so with Abbott and Costello, though. I think A&C went through a considerable period of time after they stopped making movies and TV appearances where they didn't speak to each other at all. Of course, it was no secret in Hollywood that Costello was a Grade-A bastard. I know I've seen blooper footage of Costello muffing his lines and absolutely losing it.
#3
Old 11-11-2001, 10:37 PM
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I believe there was a period following the accidental drowning death of Costello's infant son where the two did not speak to each other, but it abated and they became amicable again (they weren't real tight buds to begin with). Laurel & Hardy, on the other hand, were pretty good friends. Strangely enough both Abbott and Laurel, who survived their partners, died in utter poverty.
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#4
Old 11-12-2001, 01:54 AM
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I recall seeing on a biography that Stan & Ollie agreed to give up films for a period of time that would allow one or the other to get out of a staggered contract with Hal Roach. And it was done.
This does not happen when two business parties loath each other.
#5
Old 11-12-2001, 03:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Torgo
Strangely enough both Abbott and Laurel, who survived their partners, died in utter poverty.
Well, if we're being objective, I think lower-middle-class sums it up nicely. But still, an utter outrage. Especially with Hal Roach's monetary treatment of L&H. A crime.
#6
Old 11-12-2001, 01:11 PM
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The impression I've gotten (my expertise here is VERY limited) is that Laurel and Hardy got along fine, for one reason: Stan Laurel was the boss and the brains of the team, and Oliver Hardy liked it that way.

After a day's filming was over, Hardy was content to go out and play golf or have dinner, while Stan Laurel stayed on the set to work out routines and to tinker with the script for the next day's shooting. Hardy respected Laurel's judgment, and was generally quite content to do whatever Laurel thought would work best.

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello often had bitter disputes, because both had been successful in vaudeville and in burlesque as solo acts, both had strong opinions about the direction their act should take, and neither was interested in being a second banana.

"Hate" is a strong word... but it's clear they frequently fought like cats and dogs
#7
Old 11-12-2001, 01:54 PM
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I don't know about Abbot and Costello but Laurel and Hardy were thick as thieves. I read that Laurel was devastated when Hardy died and hardly did any work at all afterwards.
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Old 07-02-2002, 11:14 AM
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Laurel and Hardy started out as aquaintances and became close friends. Abbott and Costello hit one particularly rocky period when Lou decided they should be Costello and Abbott. At one point Abbott had an act with Candy Candino while Costello was still alive — a fairly strong indication of working difficulties.

Trivia note: Costello paid for the nose job of an up-and-coming crooner by the name of Dean Martin.
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Old 07-02-2002, 12:20 PM
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I recall an interview in Starlog with Mel Blanc (of Warner Bros. fame, voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and countless others) who guested on the A&C TV show. He said it was the most uncomfortable time he ever had, because it was obvious that "they really couldn't stand each other."
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#10
Old 07-02-2002, 12:57 PM
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I have heard (from a long time employee at a Las Vegas casino) that Lou Costello at least once flew into a rage when he and Bud Abbott were compared to Laural and Hardy, but to be fair, I believe it was during one of the troubled period in his and Abbott's career.

Still, I vaguely remember a relative (a daughter?) of Costello's saying on one of those biography type television programs how much Costello admired Stan Laurel.
#11
Old 07-03-2002, 12:07 AM
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Another strain in the A&C relationship was when Lou tried to make the money split 60-40 or some such. Abbot didn't go along with it and that lead to a period of little or no work for a while.

All this about comedy teams getting along and no one has brought up M***** and L**** (just M*****)?
#12
Old 07-03-2002, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ftg
Another strain in the A&C relationship was when Lou tried to make the money split 60-40 or some such. Abbot didn't go along with it and that lead to a period of little or no work for a while.

The anacdote that I heard (and I make no claims about its accuracy) is that there was a 60 - 40 split in Abbot's favor. The way the story goes is that Abbot was considered more valuable because comics are a dime-a-dozen but a good straight man is hard to find. Perhaps Eve or someone else who knows Hollywood history can straighten us out.
#13
Old 07-03-2002, 09:55 AM
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Sorry I'm late, was out sick yesterday. Serendipity! I just wrote entries on L&H and A&C for the Encyclopedia Americana. What's said above is pretty much on target. Abbott and Costello fought off and on through most of their association, which began in burlesque in the early 1930s. Mostly about money, and Abbott's occasional unprofessionalism. They had made a tense peace with each other by the time they died. Laurel and Hardy liked working together very much and didn't dislike each other—but they had very different personalities and lifestyles, and rarely if ever socialized with each other offscreen.
#14
Old 07-03-2002, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by astorian
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello often had bitter disputes, because both had been successful in vaudeville and in burlesque as solo acts, both had strong opinions about the direction their act should take, and neither was interested in being a second banana.
I had heard that Costello met Abbott while doing Vaudeville, but Abbott was a doorman or in some similar position. I didn't think he was a stage person. Also, wasn't the main reason for Abbott being (comparatively) broke was because he had a bad accountant (one that would have made Arthur Anderson proud) that caused the IRS to come in and take almost everything Abbott owned. Can anyone confirm / refute this?
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Old 07-03-2002, 01:52 PM
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I don't know too much about Abbott's financial status (picturing IRS guy going, "heeeeey, Abbott!"). But it's true that he started as a ticket-taker in stock and burlesque, and was reportedly working the box-office for a threatrical company when Costello's partner failed to show up and Abbott filled in, c1930.
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Old 07-04-2002, 05:46 AM
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Has anyone else heard the anacdote that I mentioned? I would assume that it's just a myth or a joke (it sounds like one) but you never know.
#17
Old 07-04-2002, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Linus Van Pelt
The anacdote that I heard (and I make no claims about its accuracy) is that there was a 60 - 40 split in Abbot's favor. The way the story goes is that Abbot was considered more valuable because comics are a dime-a-dozen but a good straight man is hard to find.
You're right. Public radio mentioned this a while back. Costello was the comic and writer, but Abbott got more money since he was the straight-man.
#18
Old 04-15-2015, 06:47 PM
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I read Abbot got more money when Costello wanted to take the risk of taking the act to the movies. To do so, they would have to forfeit scheduled engagements. If the act didn't work onscreen, they would lose a lot of money. It was a risk Abbot would take only if he got more money. Costello got his revenge later and the proportions were reversed.

Whoops, didn't realize this was such and old thread.

Last edited by priapus; 04-15-2015 at 06:48 PM.
#19
Old 04-17-2015, 12:31 PM
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Well, as long as this zombie has been resurrected: My understanding, from interviews with his daughter, is that Laurel lived pretty comfortably in his later years (partially 'cause of some real estate investments he'd made decades earlier?). He was certainly not in "lower-middle-class" financial straits.
#20
Old 04-17-2015, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by norvalnormal View Post
Well, as long as this zombie has been resurrected: My understanding, from interviews with his daughter, is that Laurel lived pretty comfortably in his later years (partially 'cause of some real estate investments he'd made decades earlier?). He was certainly not in "lower-middle-class" financial straits.
I have absolutely no idea how much money Stan Laurel had. Suffice it to say, he didn't LIVE like a man with tons of money. He kept a pretty ordinary, non-descript apartment in Santa Monica.

That COULD simply mean he was a man of simple tastes, and didn't care to live in a mansion.

At any rate, to the end, he had many rich and famous visitors (including Johnny Carson and Dick van Dyke), and he had continuing offers to do TV or movie appearances (including It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World). If he'd been living in true squalor, I'm sure he'd have taken some of those offers, or sought help from his famous friends.

So, if he lived in a fairly modest apartment, I have to figure it was by choice.
#21
Old 04-17-2015, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by astorian View Post
I have absolutely no idea how much money Stan Laurel had. Suffice it to say, he didn't LIVE like a man with tons of money. He kept a pretty ordinary, non-descript apartment in Santa Monica.

That COULD simply mean he was a man of simple tastes, and didn't care to live in a mansion.

At any rate, to the end, he had many rich and famous visitors (including Johnny Carson and Dick van Dyke), and he had continuing offers to do TV or movie appearances (including It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World). If he'd been living in true squalor, I'm sure he'd have taken some of those offers, or sought help from his famous friends.

So, if he lived in a fairly modest apartment, I have to figure it was by choice.
He was divorced a lot - that costs money.

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#22
Old 04-17-2015, 02:34 PM
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As to the preceding suggestion that Laurel was not impoverished but rather had "simple tastes," it's perhaps significant to recall that, all those years later, he kept his name in the Calif. phone book and would converse at length with at least some fans who'd had the cojones to actually dial the number.

I imagine most ex-Hollywood stars kept private phone numbers or had their phone numbers registered under aliases in order to avoid such "nuisances."
#23
Old 04-17-2015, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
He was divorced a lot - that costs money.

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Sure it does, but it's worth it.
#24
Old 04-18-2015, 10:18 AM
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A few years back, Dick Cavett wrote a pierce in the New York Times about visiting Stan Laurel at his apartment back in 1960- it gives a portrait of a man who certainly wasn't living in luxury but seemed comfortable and fairly happy in his retirement.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...-at-home/?_r=0

As Norval says, Laurel had a listed phone number and seemed to enjoy visits and correspondence from fans.

The most touching part of the article, for me, was that even several years after Oliver Hardy's death, Laurel still found himself concocting sketches and routines for the two of them to perform.

Last edited by astorian; 04-18-2015 at 10:20 AM.
#25
Old 04-18-2015, 02:05 PM
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Lou Costello and Bud Abbott were friends at one point, and gradually grew apart to the point where they couldn't stand each other, as I understand it. There is home movie footage of them at each other's homes having a good time. At some point, Lou had people tell him he was the real talent of the group often enough that he believed it. His ego became such that he was actively looking for another straight man, and couldn't find one as good as Bud (who was considered one of the finest straight men in the business). He didn't hide it at all, which understandably angered Bud, and this combined with his desire to have "Costello" come before "Abbott" in the name of the act and to cut Bud's share of the salary down significantly soured things to the point mentioned, where they wouldn't talk to each other outside of work. Even then, they stayed together for quite a while because the money was still good.
#26
Old 04-18-2015, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Door View Post
Sure it does, but it's worth it.
You know why a woman takes more than 50% during a divorce?

Its not because they want that much.

Its because they know you'll eventually realize what a deal that is and want to prevent you from buying more than one.
#27
Old 04-18-2015, 04:47 PM
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Laurel and Hardy were funny. Stan was as driven a craftsman as was his former Fred Carno troupemate Charlie Chaplin, though sadly not as shrewd a businessman. Also, Ollie was happy to work for him. Ollie famously left to play golf while Stan stayed to edit, but that doesn't tell the full story. Not only was Stan lucky to have an unegotisical though professional partner, Ollie had a partner who didn't mind doing the extra work while not morphing into a demanding slave driver. Jerry Lewis drove Dean Martin out that way.

That was demonstrated not just in Ollie's work but with the women comedians he cast too. There are no strong, well-developed comedy actresses in the films of Chaplin, Keaton or Lloyd. They'd cast some cutie for their characters to be lovably girl-shy over, then use her as a plot device for all sorts of stunts and gags. To his credit, Stan Laurel hired talented people like Mae Busch and Anita Garvin and allowed them to flourish.
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