As I mentioned in my last post, my friend Chuck McCann (who passed away last week at 83) was, among many other things, one of the worlds great proponents of Laurel and Hardy. He was an original founding member of their fan club, the 'Sons Of The Desert', and had a lengthy phone relationship with Stan Laurel beginning when Chuck was apparently still a teen. Given his size and general demeanor, Chuck was a natural Oliver Hardy impersonator and he did a marvelous Ollie as is evidenced in the above clip (as well as in the commercial I posted yesterday). In the above clip Stan Laurel is played by Dick Van Dyke (another later life friend of Stan's) and the two do a 'Hoover Vaccum Salesman' sketch on the Garry Moore show (which was sponsored by--you guessed it--Hoover Vacuum). Once it's done, they do effectively the same sketch except this time with Chuck doing his Jackie Gleason and Van Dyke his Art Carney. Both are masterful.

Perhaps my warmest memory of Chuck has to do with his home theater and his Laurel and Hardy film collection. When my son was about six years old, we took a walk from my parents house down to Chuck's--I can't remember the ostensible reason for the visit but we all wound up in his screening room where he screened 'Helpmates', probably the best L&H short ever made. It was the first time my son had ever seen 'the boys' and he was helplessly, hopelessly hooked from that moment on. Thanks to Chuck, he and I spent the next few years devoted to watching their movies--I'd gone through my own L&H phase as a kid and was delighted to rediscover their magic. But one never really goes through an L&H 'phase'--if you love them, you love them forever. As did Chuck McCann.

Below I've posted the aforementioned 'Helpmates' from 1931. It's essentially a two-man show and one of the most inventive and fresh comedies ever committed to celluloid. Thank you, Chuck, wherever you are.

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