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I read story called the Laurel and Hardy Love Affair years ago. I think that it was in a Readers Digest. Can anyone help me find it. I sure it was by Mr. Bradbury and the story meant a lot to me. THANKS
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Salem, Oregon USA | Registered: 10 July 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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"The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair" is in The Toynbee Convector. "Another Fine Mess" is in Quicker Than The Eye. "The Laurel and Hardy Alpha Centauri Farewell Tour" is in One More for the Road.

You might want to check out the following string under "Ray Bradbury Discussion Board", then "Favorite Book/Story" then "Opinions Please . . ."

Author Topic: Opinions please...
tammy
Junior Member posted 05-02-2002 12:15 PM
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I know that it wasn't one of his most famous works, but one of my favorite Bradbury works is "A Laurel & Hardy Love Affair" that appeared in Playboy in Dec. 1987. We read it in a sophomore Advanced English class and I have always loved - little did I know then that the teacher got it out of Playboy! Anyway - I have always wanted to adapt this story for the stage. Has anyone else enjoyed this story and do you think it would make a good stage production (hypothetically...)?
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tammy
Junior Member posted 05-06-2002 10:19 AM
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UM... HELLO??? anyone? anyone?
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Homer0AE
Junior Member posted 05-07-2002 09:30 PM
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Though I viewed many films by Laurel & Hardy, I have never heard of the story you are referring to. Sorry. Hmm, interesting, so Playboy does contain great literature...
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tammy
Junior Member posted 05-07-2002 09:36 PM
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it is a very touching love story and aside from the old mimeographed copy i have from the tenth grade, i guess i'll have to order a back issue to get a copy of it. i can't find it anywhere else. if anyone knows of any other place it may be printed, i would appreciate knowing...
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dandelion
Moderator posted 05-07-2002 11:23 PM
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I'm sure it was in one of the recent collections, probably "Quicker Than the Eye," but possibly even "The Toynbee Convector." I just didn't answer your post because I don't have enough of an opinion on it to comment on this particular story.
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Nightshade
Junior Member posted 05-08-2002 01:36 AM
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Yes, Dandy, it was collected in The Toynbee Convector. But what I find really interesting is how Ray incorporated some of "Laurel & Hardy Love Affair" into the teleplay for "Gotcha!" on Ray Bradbury Theater ...
[This message has been edited by Nightshade (edited 05-08-2002).]

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uncle
Member posted 05-08-2002 12:53 PM
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This particular story incorporates parts of Rays own life in L.A. as a boy. The part where the "Ollie" character tells of his encounter with W.C. Fields actually is a slice of life from Rays own life. I have heard him speak of it at a dinner speech I attended. The rest may be autobiographical also, I would not be surprised, I reread the story in the Toynbee Convector last night.
I found it pleasant, yet bittersweet,
I to, understand why you can cry while reading a phone book. I enjoyed it all the same...
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PoseidonMA
Junior Member posted 05-12-2002 03:46 PM
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I have not read the particular story under discussion, but I believe there is a sort of sequel to it in "Quicker than the Eye". There is a story in there about Laurel and Hardy coming back to life, and Ray talks about the previous story in the wonderful "Afterword".
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TygerSun
Junior Member posted 05-16-2002 04:58 PM
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I always loved the Laurel and Hardy stories, because they do show a side of Bradbury that sinks away from the science fiction. He should write more about them, because I feel that they were not mentioned enough in their works. I would like if someone could prove me wrong about that too.
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tammy
Junior Member posted 05-16-2002 05:37 PM
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Just for the record, if you haven't read it, "A Laurel & hardy Love Affair" isn't actually about Laurel & Hardy. It's a love story. I haven't read the stories that are about Laurel & Hardy.
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Greg Miller
Member posted 05-24-2002 08:25 AM
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Also, Ray has written two "sequels" to that story - "Another Fine Mess," printed in (I believe) Quicker than the Eye, and another just published in One More for the Road.
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Bill Oberg
Junior Member posted 07-05-2002 11:43 AM
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For what it's worth, "the Laurel and Hardy Love Affair" is one of my very favorite Bradbury stories. And would make a fine play.
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douglasSP
Member posted 07-10-2002 03:24 PM
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"The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair" is easily the best of the stories with a Stan and Ollie theme. It's a bittersweet portrayal of love and of the way love doesn't quite work out, yet still leaves an ineffable mark. How like life. It's not a play, though. Very few short stories are.
 
Posts: 2769 | Location: McKinney, Texas | Registered: 11 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am double posting this as the Laurel and Hardy streams are in two locations now.

�Another Fine Mess�. Collected in �Quicker Than The Eye� 1996.

�Laurel and Hardy Love Affair�. Collected in �The Toynbee Convector� 1998.

�Laurel and Hardy Farewell Centauri Tour�, 2000. Collected in �One More For The Road� 2002.

Because I have never read any of the Laurel and Hardy stories, this train of thought has been pretty interesting to read. It is interesting that Ray Bradbury has chosen to write multiple stories on Laurel and Hardy. I think a lot of it goes to at least two things: (1) his feelings of nostalgia for a simpler, golden past, and (2) the importance of the role of humor in dealing with life.

The Laurel and Hardy sequence Bradbury focuses on in these stories is the scene where they are trying to deliver a piano up a long flight of concrete stairs. This is the scene I think of most when I think of Laurel and Hardy, also. It seems to capture their interactions with each other, and, at another (more pompous) level, seems to capture the sense of hopelessness their situations seem to represent. In a way, the Piano up the stairs sequence is reminiscent of the Myth of Sisyphus, as told by the existentialist writer, Albert Camus. In �the Myth of Sisyphus,� Sisyphus is punished by the Gods. The nature of the punishment is that he is condemned eternally to push a rock up a mountain. The problem is that he is never allowed to reach the top. When he gets near the top, the boulder rolls down, and he has to do it over again. Two existentialist themes come out of this: (1) That life is despair. Nothing we do matters, at some level. (2) The meaning we do find in life comes from focusing on the things we are able to do, and in the actual work of doing it. We have to find meaning in our lives � not in terms of ultimate rewards, as in a Christian heaven � but in the day to day living out of our lives. Essentially, the Laurel and Hardy Piano up the stairs sequence hits home because we recognize it�s hopelessness (we know they will never get it up there), and we see that the humor is not in the goal, it is in the fruitless attempts to achieve the goal. So we laugh because it is funny to see them struggle and in watching how they handle that struggle, and it is funny because of the unique way they interact with each other. But we also relate to this sequence because we recognize the feelings of futility in our own lives.

In �Another Fine Mess� Zelda and Bella are both women who are older and who have lived through that nostalgic past. Bella lives at the location of the filming of the piano up the stairs episode and begins hearing noises of men quarreling. She realizes that it is Laurel and Hardy playing out this sequence over and over again. She calls her friend Zelda (who makes her living writing about Hollywood�s past) who comes over. Together, they realize that Laurel and Hardy are haunting this place because they have never truly realized how much they meant to persons who were touched by their contributions to our lives through laughter and in helping us lighten up in understanding our own trials, so that we can get through them better. When they finally are able to tell the �ghosts� that they are appreciated, and the ghosts leave, Zelda and Bella alternate between laughing and crying.

In a similar way, in the story, �The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair,� the two main characters (nicknamed Stan and Ollie) alternate between kissing and crying. While this story may not directly be about Laurel and Hardy, it is definitely about the influence Laurel and Hardy have on the rest of us. In this story, two people meet and fall in love because of their shared love of Laurel and Hardy. Together they watch the old films, talk and laugh about the stories, and visit the actual locations of the actual filming as much as they can. The period in which they are together is described by Bradbury as myth and fable. I think part of this is because there is something almost otherworldly in the nature of their love for each other. At some level, it is not connected with the present, it is grounded in the past and in the attitude of the Laurel and Hardy movies. Eventually, they both move on to other relationships and to marriages and children. While they agree to meet there, she does not show up and they drift apart. They are happy (in a subdued way?), but in a chance meeting in France, their greeting to each other is to imitate the Laurel and Hardy mannerisms they had originally shared. As this nostalgic sense comes over them again, she quotes her traditional line and his eye moistens up. So is the story about Laurel and Hardy? Strictly speaking, probably not, But it definitely is driven by the sense of nostalgia and laughter that Laurel and Hardy brought into the real world of humanity. While there is a reference to a Hemingway novel in the story, it reminds me more of a short story by James Joyce, called �Araby�. The theme of that story is lost romanticism. In this story, the two characters live in a romanticism that is, in part, a fabrication. When real life sets in, the Laurel and Hardy aspect drifts away, but they still feel it when they meet years later. I can relate to this, as I had a �love of my love� back in High Sschool. In my mind, it is all very romanticized, and it really was romantic. But I still wonder how much of that was real, and how much was rooted in a romantic imagination based on a sort of naivet�.

While the story �The Laurel and Hardy Alpha Centauri Farewell Tour� IS a science fiction story, it is about the need of laughter in our lives. Colonies going to other planets find, as they get further from earth, the they are overcome and become depressed by feelings of loneliness and isolation. (Another existentialist theme.) The re-creation of (hologram-like beings) of Laurel and Hardy (in black and white, no less) is an attempt to recreate a sense of laughter and connection to earth, by reconnecting to earth�s past. While multiple themes come up (when is something �real� vs. �virtual�?, are there multiple possibilities of reality out there?, etc.), the bottom line is that laughter and nostalgia are necessary to human happiness. And I would agree with Bradbury on that. To lose your past, to lose humor, is to lose a great part of what it is to be human.

This posting is already too long, I suppose, but I want to make two quick related points. In Fahrenheit 451, the theme of the free exchange of ideas is obviously critical; but I think the theme of hanging on to the histories of the past and of ideas of literature is also critical. This would go, in a sense, to the theme of nostalgia. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, Mr. Halloway is able to overcome the evil represented by Mr. Dark through laughter.

As usual, Bradbury�s stories operate at whatever level you want him to.
 
Posts: 2769 | Location: McKinney, Texas | Registered: 11 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Some questions came up on the Laural and Hardy stories, so I thought I would go ahead and bump this up in case there is some interest.
 
Posts: 2769 | Location: McKinney, Texas | Registered: 11 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here is a link to a wonderful article about the famous piano steps, including information about Ray and some of his stories:

Laurel and Hardys Music Box. http://members.aol.com/sons2222/Box.html
Audio:http://members.aol.com/sons2222/MBox.wav

(I can't download such files, but if someone does, please let us know whether it's a clip from the film.)
 
Posts: 7133 | Location: Dayton, Washington, USA | Registered: 03 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great article, Dandelion. Thanks for the link! When I go to LA in July I'm going to go visit those steps, if at all possible. I've loved that film since I was little.

Greg
 
Posts: 139 | Registered: 01 October 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Oh, boy! Oh, boy! When in Los Angeles I badly wanted to see these steps, with the commemorative plaque, placed partly by Ray's efforts, but a native told me no, the area was too dangerous. I've just learned the Academy Award-winning short "The Music Box" is to be part of a vintage films festival at our restored theater, the town's pride and joy! See www.libertytheater.org for details. So at least I will get to see them, not only on film, but on a large screen, no less.
 
Posts: 7133 | Location: Dayton, Washington, USA | Registered: 03 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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