John Connolly recreates the Golden Age of Hollywood in this moving, literary portrait of two men who found their true selves in a comedic partnership. When Stan Laurel was paired with Oliver Hardy, affectionately known as Babe, the history of comedy--not to mention their personal and professional lives--would be altered forever.
Laurel followed in the wake of Charlie Chaplin, who blazed a trail from the vaudeville stages of England to the dynamic, if often seedy and highly volatile, movie studios of Los Angeles in the early 20th century. Awed like everyone else by Chaplin's genius (and ambition and cruelty), Laurel despaired of ever finding his own path to success--or happiness.
But success and happiness did find Laurel, following the inspired decision by impresario Hal Roach to put him and Oliver Hardy together on screen. Initially a calculated marriage of opposites in an era of highly disposable short films, the partnership bloomed into a professional and personal relationship of lifelong depth.
Eventually, Laurel became one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known: a man who knew both adoration and humiliation; who loved, and was loved in turn; who betrayed, and was betrayed; who never sought to cause pain to anyone else, yet left a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake.
And whose life was ultimately defined by one relationship of such astonishing tenderness and devotion that only death could sever their profound connection.
May 1, 2018
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Average Grade: B+    (switch to numeric scale)
L/E Ratio: 50% Literature, 50% Entertainment
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