Stan, Ollie, and the Cardiff Chippie

Laurel and hardy in Cardiff

They have been making us laugh for sixty years - and in Cardiff in 1952 Laurel and Hardy could even make eating a bag of chips funny. The chips came from a local chippie, Stan's hat came courtesy of the Odeon, but those expressions did the rest.

In the group was the manager of the Capitol Theatre, Mr W A C Hall (left), and Mr Ian Craig, manager of the Odeon Cinema (right).

For them it was a VIP occasion, and from the people of the city there was a great welcome for the comics whose partnership started all those years ago.

One south Wales man in particular was not to be outdone. He was a builder’s labourer, standing in the back of a swaying lorry with all his home- ward-bound labouring mates crushed round him.

The lorry was going down Park Place, then a through-road. It slowed down as it reached the Queen Street intersection and suddenly a brickie's mate called Haydn let out a howl. “Stan,” he bellowed. “Ollie.” And yes, miraculously, it was them - ambling up Park Place towards the New Theatre, disappointingly bereft of Bowler hats but still unmistakeable.

And at that point Haydn launched himself from the lorry, bounced down the road, and fetched up clinging to the right trouser leg of Mr. Norvell Hardy, Mr. Arthur Stanley Jefferson looking on, manfully restraining the urge to scrabble his fingers through his thinning thatch in that famous gesture which suggested total incomprehension.

The next day Haydn boarded the lorry for its trip to Llanbradach . He was bruised, his knees creaked, but he was euphoric. “I touched ‘em. They talked to me. Stan an’ Ollie, they talked to me.”

Hundreds of thousands of words have been written about the greatest comedy team ever, but no tribute to their genius can ever have been more relevant than Haydn’s launch from the back of a lorry because he simply could not bear to let Stan and Ollie pass without paying homage.

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