Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Here they are again - that delightful duo - Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are back in the spotlight with their new film which is gaining a whole new appreciation society.

One of my guests on Phoenix 98fm radio a few years back was Roger Robinson, a self-confessed Laurel and Hardy addict! He was introduced to the comedy duo, courtesy of Saturday Morning Pictures in the 1950s. As a member of ‘The Sons of the Desert’,  Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society, for the last 16 years,  Roger has organised monthly meetings for the local group, ‘The Saps At Sea’, in Southend.

He is the editor and feature writer of a quarterly Laurel and Hardy magazine ‘The Perry Winkle’ which is sent to fans in the UK, Europe and America. The comedians appeared in Southend for a week during a tour in 1952 and Roger’s extensive research around their appearance resulted in the acclaimed ‘A Spot of Trouble in Southend’ book. The book includes many rare photographs, extensive information about supporting acts and personal letters. It was originally published in 2012 and a revised and updated version was published in 2015. 

In 2014, Roger wrote ‘UlverSTAN – The Bill Cubin Story’ to raise money for the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Ulverston, Cumbria, where Stan Laurel was born. Bill Cubin was a larger than life character, twice Mayor of Ulverston and the founder of the museum, now run by his grandson. The book is a touching tribute to a lovely man who was ultimately responsible for creating the permanent connections with Stan Laurel with a blue plaque of the house where Laurel was born and a bronze statue of Laurel and Hardy in the centre of the town.

A year or two back, Roger wrote his third book ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ which also has a Laurel and Hardy connection. Ron Stokoe is 90 years young and has lived in Southend since a child. He has had a remarkable life which includes being evacuated at the beginning of the Second World War,  joining the army in 1944 where he was posted to India, setting up his own taxi business, working at the Ekco factory and still organising Norfolk Regimental Reunions. When he was a taxi driver in 1952, he met Laurel and Hardy and their wives at Southend Central Station and took them to the Palace Hotel, where they stayed for the week. 

Hope I manage to see this film!

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