The Joy of Laurel and Hardy in a Movie Theater

Last week, I had the sublime pleasure of seeing Laurel and Hardy’s Way Out West in an actual movie theater. Not only that, it was a movie theater cool enough to have live organ music before the show, a Dairy Queen next door, and old Hollywood overseas sizzler reels in lieu of previews.

I must admit, my exposure to actual Laurel and Hardy schtick has been rather limited. I remember seeing some of their bits during WCCO’s Comedy Hour in the 1980’s, which played them alongside Little Rascals and Abbott and Costello shorts. Until last week, I’m pretty sure I’d never seen one of their films in its entirety. That said, the legacy of Laurel and Hardy is so strong that I was already completely familiar with their stylings.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the joy of seeing Way Out West in an actual theater, with an audience full of adults and kids alike. We all roared with laughter from beginning to end. Entire generations since the film was released 75 years ago, yet this 2012 audience still broke into spontaneous applause after the famous dance sequence.

That’s why I still go to movie theaters, my friends.

(Well, that, and the air conditioning.)

This Thursday night, the same theater (The Heights Theatre, 3951 Central Avenue in Columbia Heights, MN) is playing The Marx Brothers’ A Night at the Opera. You can bet I will be there. You should go, too.

Until then, here’s a little Laurel and Hardy treat for you: proof that their dance is strangely timeless.


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