Linda Caldwell and David Bullard toast men and women who helped make the Laurel and Hardy films at a birthday
celebration for Oliver Hardy at the Harlem museum dedicated to the comedy team.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
A small contingent of Oliver Hardy fans turned out Tuesday night to celebrate the revered slapstick comedian's birthday at a Harlem museum named in his honor.
Hardy, the larger half of the classic comedy team Laurel and Hardy, would have turned 112 on Jan. 18. About 10 members of his local fan club, named Berthmarks after one of his films, celebrated with a birthday cake and a toast at the Laurel & Hardy Museum, 250 N. Louisville Street in Harlem.
Linda Caldwell, a Berthmarks member, said Hardy is beloved worldwide. She said many of his films are still regularly shown in European movie houses, and he is regarded as a comedy legend from Hollywood's golden age.
"He is just such a lovable character," she said. "To this day, adults are introducing their children to Laurel and Hardy, who grow up to love them. He is still very loved."
Hardy was born in Harlem in 1892. He first began making films with Englishman Stan Laurel in 1927. In their three-decade career as a comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy made 27 feature films and dozens of short films.
A special birthday cake was made for the birthday celebration for Oliver Hardy.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
The international Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is called Sons of the Desert, after one of the pair's most popular features. Chapters of the international society, such as Harlem's Berthmarks, are called tents.
The Berthmarks tent was formed in Harlem in 1988. In a club meeting before the birthday celebration, members voted to make the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the museum the group's regular meeting time and place. They also are currently holding a membership drive.
The club is working on plans to hold an original comedy-mystery dinner theater presentation with Laurel and Hardy impersonators, possibly in May. The event will be a fund-raiser for Berthmarks and the Harlem High School drama department, which is raising money to attend an international drama festival in Scotland.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.