Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Laurel and Hardy memorabilia for auction in Newcastle

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Laurel and Hardy comedy scripts go under the hammer in Newcastle
A Laurel and Hardy expert is putting 30 lots from his collection on the comedy duo up for auction in Newcastle

Tony Henderson
The Evening Chronicle
11 September 2017

A leading authority on comic genius Stan Laurel has chosen to sell part of his extensive collection on the performer on Tyneside – because of the star’s North East roots.

A. J Marriot has written seven books on Stan and his comedy partner Oliver Hardy and from 2002 until last year was editor of the Laurel and Hardy magazine.
Fred Wyrley-Birch from Anderson and Garland auctioneers in Newcastle with the Laurel and Hardy memorabilia

Stan, born Arthur Stanley Jefferson, spent his formative years from age five to 15 living in Dockwray Square in North Shields, where his father managed the local theatre.
A photograph of Stan Laurel from the Marriot collection which is to be auctioned

As he gained worldwide fame, he maintained his connections with North Shields and corresponded with people in the area until his death in 1965.

Because of the links, Barnsley-based Mr Marriot has elected to sell 30 lots from his collection – expected to fetch a total of around £12,000 - on Tuesday at Newcastle auctioneers Anderson and Garland.

The sale includes original Laurel and Hardy comedy sketch scripts, including one for their only British TV appearance in 1953, which itself is estimated at £700 - £1,000.
Laurel and Hardy memorabilia at the auction

The scripts were written, typed and then overwritten by Stan Laurel.

One was performed on Laurel and Hardy’s US Tours, and the others on their three post-war tours of British variety theatres.

There are also files of signed photographs, film posters and a range of theatre programmes from Laurel and Hardy tours, including that for their show at the Newcastle Empire in 1952.
Stan and Ollie with staff at the Grand Hotel, Tynemouth 

After making his name in the United States, Stan Laurel visited North Shields in 1932 where he was given a civic reception.

Mr Marriot’s research shows that in his speech at the reception, Stan said: “I was not born in North Shields, but I feel that I just belong here. I am proud to be amongst you all.”

When he returned to Britain in 1947, he and Oliver Hardy visited Dockwray Square.

Mr Marriot wrote in his Laurel and Hardy “British Tours” book: “They were guests of the Mayor of Tynemouth Francis J. Mavin, who had them chauffeured to Dockwray Square. At his last attempt, in 1932, Stan had been unable to enjoy the visit in solitude owing to the mass of fans but, this time, having the whole week in which to chose his moment, found the square relatively empty.
A photograph of Stan Laurel from the Marriot collection 

“Hardy was to say that Laurel was so excited as he neared his home, ‘he almost jumped out of the car.’”

Mr Marriot’s books have sold in 40 countries and one will be the basis for a film next year.

He started researching for his first book. Laurel and Hardy – The British Tours in 1987, which took six years of fact-finding and the writing of 600 letters to people seeking information and first-hand memories.
The Stan Laurel Statue in North Shields

Other books followed, covering the duo’s US and European tours and Stan Laurel’s solo stage tours plus two volumes on Stan and Ollie’s Life and Times.

Mr Marriot said: “During my research I contacted hundreds of people who were part of the Laurel and Hardy story, plus gathering material from scores of library, newspapers, collectors, auctions and agencies.

“But now, after the fun of gathering the items from all four corners of the globe it is now time to let others have the fun of owning this personalised memorabilia.”

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