May 4, 1929: Laurel & Hardy speak!

Unaccustomed_As_We_Are-1929Unaccustomed As We Are is the first sound comedy short film starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

Ollie brings Stan home for dinner, a very unwelcome surprise for Mrs. Hardy who storms out in a huff. Mrs. Kennedy, a neighbour from across the hall, offers to help the boys cook dinner; they, in turn, help to set her dress on fire. Mr. Kennedy, a cop, returns home and the boys hide the slip-clad Mrs. K. in a trunk. Unaware that his wife is within earshot, Mr. Kennedy starts bragging to the boys about his “technique” in extramarital liaisons. His furious wife then confronts him about it before giving him a bit of her own technique: throwing everything within range at him. Next door, Stan, Ollie and Mrs Hardy continue eating while trying to ignore the crashing, banging and shouting coming from the Kennedy’s apartment. When it eventually stops, Mr Kennedy shows up, battered, bruised and in a terrible state. He leads Ollie out and beats him up. He then prepares to do the same to Stan, but his wife has evidently not finished with him yet. She comes out of their apartment wielding a gigantic vase and, despite Mr. Kennedy’s efforts to protect himself, crashes it over his head, putting him out for the count. Having evaded a beating, Stan then leaves as though nothing has happened, but falls down the stairs (offscreen) as Ollie watches and flinches with every thump and loud crash as he reaches the bottom.

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This is the first film in which Hardy says to Laurel, “Why don’t you do something to help me!” which became a catchphrase, repeated in numerous subsequent films. Also heard for the first time is Stan’s distinctive, high-pitched whimper of distress. The plot of Unaccustomed As We Are was expanded into the feature film Block-Heads in 1938. In addition, the gag of the spaghetti ending on Ollie’s lap was originally conceived for their 1928 silent film Habeas Corpus, but was left unfilmed. [Wikipedia]

Watch Unaccustomed As We Are on the Ted Nelson YouTube Channel.

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