Laughing Gravy

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Laughing Gravy
Directed by James W. Horne
Produced by Hal Roach
Written by H. M. Walker
Stan Laurel (uncredited)
Starring Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
November, 1930
Running time

20 min (classic American cut)
31' 38" (English)
62' 29" (Spanish)
64' 45" (French)
Country United States
Language English

Laughing Gravy is a 1930 short film comedy starring Laurel and Hardy. It was directed by James W. Horne, produced by Hal Roach and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.


On a snowy winter's night, Laurel and Hardy try to keep their pet dog 'Laughing Gravy' hidden from their landlord, mostly without success. The landlord eventually orders them to leave, but fate takes a hand. Stan and Ollie in bed, when Stan’s snoring wakes up Ollie. Oliver, after suffering in silence for a few moments wakes up Stan. Stan, in a very clownish way, drinks a glass of water and tries to go back to sleep. Only to wake up the dog, whose barking rouses their landlord. The landlord throws the dog out, and Stan decides that he’s going to rescue his dog. Ollie insists on doing it, however, since Stan will wake up the landlord. Ollie succeeds in finding Laughing Gravy, only to be locked out of the building. This basic scenario is repeated several times, resulting in Ollie falling into a frozen barrel of rainwater, locking himself out of the apartment window, climbing down (and destroying) the brick chimney, etc. Eventually, the boys are going to be thrown out of the apartment (after having driven their poor landlord to the point of distraction), when the movie takes a very unexpected turn. Stan receives a letter, informing him that he’s inherited $1,000.00 U.S. dollars. This was a fortune in 1931. On the condition that he breaks off all contact with Oliver Hardy. At first, Stan doesn’t show Ollie the letter. Until Oliver, in a very funny extended scene “guilts” Stan into sharing the letter. With Oliver’s blessing, Stan prepares to leave forever. At the last moment, however, Stan tears up the letter and returns to Oliver. Puffed up, Oliver thinks that Stan gave up the money for him. Only to have Stan tell him that he did it for his dog! The short film ends with Stan and Ollie about to be thrown out by their landlord, only to get a reprieve. The entire house has been quarantined for two months, and nobody can leave for that time. The suffering landlord, unable to take that, picks up a rifle and walks away. And Stan, Ollie and policeman hears a shot. his body hitting on the floor. the landlord commits suicide by rifle shot. Stan, Ollie and policeman remove their hats off. they walk away. the policeman closed the door. the policeman enter the landlord's manager.



The film is a remake of Laurel and Hardy's final silent film Angora Love, made in 1929. Charlie Hall played a tenant in the original; he plays the landlord in the remake. Harry Bernard also played the policeman in Angora Love as he does here.

The Chimp, released the following year, is also a partial remake.

Alternative versions[edit]

The film has three versions. A two-reel black-and-white version lasting approximately 20 minutes, a three-reel black-and-white version lasting approximately 30 minutes, and a three-reel colourised version.

There is also a "feature" version joining this film and Be Big!, by a title card stating that Laurel and Hardy were divorced by their wives for what happened and wind up in the dingy rooming house.

The three-reel version was the original one, as Hal Roach had tried to switch to the three-reel format for Laurel & Hardy shorts, starting with The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case. Just after it was completed, MGM asked Roach to limit short films to two reels, and an alternative ending was shot instead. The three-reel version had already been previewed, and a work print was rediscovered in 1985.

The two-reel version and the first two reels of the three-reel version are identical except that the two-reel version ends with the landlord committing suicide when, due to his residence being quarantined, he finds he is unable to evict Stanley and Ollie. In the three-reel version, Stanley receives a telegram just before they are evicted that says he is to inherit a vast fortune, but only if he leaves Ollie behind forever.

Foreign versions[edit]

Laughing Gravy was filmed in two extended foreign language versions immediately upon completion of its English incarnation. These foreign versions combined the story of the English original with that of Be Big!, another short from the same year.

Les Carottiers was the extended French version; it replaced Isabelle Keith with Germaine de Neel as Mrs. Hardy and Jean De Briac in Baldwin Cooke's role of "Cookie." The Spanish version, Los Calaveras, featured Linda Loredo as Mrs. Hardy.

Laurel and Hardy delivered their French and Spanish lines phonetically from cue cards in both foreign versions. In the preceding Be Big! Anita Garvin played Mrs. Laurel in all three films; she mouthed her foreign lines phonetically, on-camera but off-mic, while a voice actress just off-camera spoke into a "hot" mic.[1]


  1. ^ Skretvedt, Randy (1996). Laurel & Hardy: Magic Behind the Movies. Beverly Hills, CA: Past Times Publishing. ISBN 0-940410-29-X, p. 211.

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