on 6 December 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have to admit that, despite reading all the books by John McCabe, Simon Louvish, AJ Marriott and Randy Skrekvedt, I never really appreciated the importance of North Shields in Stan's story. Many of these authors put so much importance on Ulverston and even Glasgow, dismissing North Shields as "the north east".
I'd also never considered how his childhood influenced his work. We all know how Chaplin used to base some of his sets on Lambeth (e.g. Easy Street) but I'd never thought about Stan's up bringing.
This book has a thorough description of Stan's childhood and of his father's theatrical background - from performing to running and owning theatres and music hall venues. It also highlights how Stan still had so much affection and nostalgia for the "old town" in his later years, after living in California for decades.
I'd recommend this book to all fans of Laurel and Hardy (Stan Laurel in particular) who are looking for more than just a list of films or chronological list of events.
on 12 June 2015
A walk back in time. From the east coast of the US, I get to travel to the UK every other year. I never go without staying at least a night or two in Ulverston, the small market village where Stan Laurel was born. Back in the 1980's a man called Bill Cubin started a museum (which his grandson runs today) and when I came over he would show me all the great sites (& pubs) that were in Ulverston, and places Stan Laurel enjoyed as a young lad. Danny Lawrence's book takes these locations and "fleshes" them out so you can enjoy not only 21st century Ulverston, but gain an appreciation of what this town was like at the end of the 19th century. The book is chock full of photos and conversations of people who lived and still live in the town. While the focus is on Stan Laurel's childhood, the book is well rounded and not just for the Laurel and Hardy fan. If you are a Laurel and Hardy fan, the book is a must read. Order this one before traveling to England, and make it a point to read it before starting your holiday. You will be the better for it. Places are nice, but people make the places. A fun read.