Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy made their first
appearance together in 1917 in the comedy short "Lucky Dog", but it was another
ten years before they truly become a team as "Laurel and Hardy". After that
they worked with each other until 1950 making over one hundred films and
hundreds of thousands of people laugh.
But Stan Laurel had been entertaining people for many
years before he first worked with Oliver Hardy - and got his first big-break
(and public recognition) playing a golliwogg!
Stan Laurel: originally billed as "Stan
Jefferson - He of The Funny Ways "
Having originally worked with his father and the family act,
at the age of 16 Stan Laurel appeared in his first outside show in 1907 - for
the grand salary of one pound a week! It was a production of the pantomime
"Sleeping beauty" by the "Levy and Cardwell Juvenile Pantomime Company".
The production opened with a scene in a nursery. Comedian
Wee Georgie Wood, a twelve year old, took the part of a small boy who was
sitting up in bed, surrounded by several mechanical toys. He was being read the
story "Sleeping Beauty" by his nurse. As the small boy fell asleep he dreams
that the toys come to life.
Stan Laurel, under his real name of (Arthur) Stanley
Jefferson, played a golliwog - or more precisely, "Golliwog Number Two"!
As the show progressed round the theatres Stan slowly
progressed up the pantomime ladder rivalling Wee Georgie Wood's comedy routines
with his own little spots.
When the show appeared at His Majesty's theatre, Carlisle,
"The Stage" newspaper wrote the following review of Stan Laurel's act:
"Jack Adamson and Stanley Jefferson caused considerable
laughter as the two Golliwogs 'Julius Caesar' and Ebeneezer'."
Actress Trixie Wyatt, who was also in the cast, added
"Stan was as daft off stage as on".