Wednesday, April 21, 2010

FOR THE LOVE OF LAUREL AND HARDY

It all began with
LAUREL & HARDY & CHUCK on WPIX 11

The show would open on these nifty caricatures by AL KILGORE on the front of the puppet stage as DANCE OF THE COOCOOS played.
The camera would ped-up to reveal. . .
. . . the PAUL ASHLEY PUPPETS with "Voices and Animation by Chuck McCann." These amazing puppets (one on each hand!) would do funny bits and introduce the Laurel & Hardy films with tons of interesting background info.

So thanks to Chuck I discovered these life-long, derby wearing friends.
And thanks to Chuck I also became friends with a buddy I'm friends with to this day: PAUL RUBIN.
I met him on Chuck's WNEW-TV 5 show - - THE LAUREL & HARDY FIX-IT SHOP. They'd screen the larry harmon Laurel & Hardy cartoons.

Paul and I discovered we had much in common, not only our love for puppets but also for Laurel & Hardy. I was chubby and he was a bone, so we went into full-on L&H mode, wrote an act or two and began performing in schools and Community Centers and the like.
We even had our own Billy Gilbert!
Our career as LAUREL & HARDY Jr. reached it's apex with several guest appearances on JOE FRANKLIN'S MEMORY LANE!
As the years past (and I lost weight!) I kept up my love for the boys by building my own Laurel & Hardy Puppets (circa 1974) and introducing new audiences to their antics:
Another of the wonderful things I owe to the inspiration I received from Chuck & Paul!
In 1965, Chuck - - along with Dr. John McCabe, Orson Bean, cartoonist Al Kilgore, and John Municino formed a small group in New York City to honor the legacy of Laurel & Hardy. They called it the SONS OF THE DESERT (after the Boys 1933 film). The Sons have grown to an International organization, and it is still going strong! They're everywheres I tells ya, so you can join, too!

10 comments:

  1. Craig, Thanks for posting this. It' great to see.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Craig,

    What is that pipe next to The Oliver Norvell Hardy Puppet's

    head?

    It looks like an exhaust pipe?

    Mr.KTV.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That pipe is an old fashioned camera lens.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 目標是什麼不重要,目標能產生什麼樣的效果才重要........................................

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just saw a great L&H film last night. Fun even after all this time!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This was great! Love the Pix! I remember the L&H FIX-IT SHOP where they showed the cartoons. I remember Chuck and Jim MacGeorge did L&H but sometimes it was Chuck & the Laurel puppet?! I remember one where Chuck (Babe) was in the shop and Stan (puppet) was in a hole through the roof dropping things on Chuck! I'm pretty sure the Show started with Chuck & Jim opening the Store and then Cartoon and then puppet Stan and Chuck Ollie... Do these shows still exist? By-the-way: I love your L&H puppets! GREAT!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Anonymous. I don't think Jim MacG appeared on Chuck's Fix-It Shop show. The live-action Laurel was played by puppet-master Paul Ashley (and truly, not very well.) That's when they started mixing it up with Live Chukollie, and puppet Laurel. That's a great memory about the hole in the roof too. Please feel free to share more memories because that's all the footage there is. Kinda like the HATS OFF of kid shows.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thus is the torch passed, generation by generation.... Beautiful story! (I had my own L&H partner in early teenage years, stictly local...)....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello,
    A quick introduction from my end-Iam Chinmaya from Bangalore,India. The reason for my mail is that I understand that the "sons of the desert" are having their next convention at Hollywood and would want to know if you are attending it. You may check this for more details- http://www.laurelandhardywood.com/ .
    Incase you or anyone whom you know are,please let me know as there are somethings that i want to discuss regarding the same.My id is-chimayaprakash@gmail.com Else,you may ignore this.

    Regards and best wishes,
    Chinmaya


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I WAS ONE OF cHUCK'S EARLIEST FANS. Even before his L&H&C show began, I saw him on a Paul & Mary Ritts morning show, plugging the L&H&C show that was to start a few weeks later. When he imitated BOTH L&H, I was hooked. Visited him a few times at WPIX and in 1962 he gave me my first job in TV-- filling in for his p.a. (Joe Mutoli) for a week. He introduced me (by phone) to Stan Laurel. That photo of him doing a waffle co. commercial was taken the day I first visited him. (It was taken by my late friend Bill Glass.) Fond memories, all thanx to Chuck!

      Delete