Happy Birthday Oliver Norvell ‘Babe’ Hardy

Well, there couldn’t really be any other ‘Image of the Week’ in the Week we remember the anniversary of the birth of our beloved Oliver Norvell ‘Babe’ Hardy on 18 January 1892. So let’s celebrate the great man with a brief look back at a number of images captured throughout his career.

If you’d like to know more, Babe’s mini-biography can be found here : Oliver ‘Babe’ Hardy: 1892–1957

A very early appearance. Here as the ‘heavy’ in Chaplin imitator Billy West’s The Rogue (1918)
Stan with Babe in their first appearance in the same film, The Lucky Dog (1921)
As the Tin Man in Larry Semon’s The Wizard of Oz (1925)
In the first ‘Official’ Laurel and Hardy, The Second 100 Years (1927)
With Dorothy Coburn on location for Putting Pants on Phillip. (1927)
A beautifully colourised still, again with Dorothy Coburn, taken on a break while filming The Finishing Touch (1928)
In the first Laurel and Hardy sound short, Unaccustomed as We Are (1929). This was also the very first sound production from the Hal Roach studios.
On a visit to North Shields, UK in 1932
In costume with the Academy Award accreditation certificate for The Music Box in 1932
A professionally coloured still from Fra Diavolo / The Devils Brother (1933)
As both Mrs Laurel AND Mr Hardy in a splendid image from Twice Two (1933)
Babe’s great love and favourite pastime – one he was particularly good at too!
Another professionally coloured still from the final short Thicker than Water (1935)
On the Hal Roach Studios back lot in Way Out West costume in 1937
One of only four known actual colour photographs of Stan and Babe in costume. This was taken during the shooting of Block-Heads in May 1938
A still from the final scene from the final Hal Roach production, Saps at Sea (1940)
The Boys in a Fox publicity shot in the Forties
In Stans birthplace, Ulverston in 1947
As Willie Payne – with John Wayne in The Fighting Kentuckian in 1949
On Stage in 1952
With Stan’s old pal, Bennie Barron at the Sunderland Empire, late March 1952 during the UK Tour
The day after Stan and Babe had appeared on This is Your Life, pretty much the last professional appearance on film on December 1st 1954, the pool on the Hal Roach Studios lot was renamed Lake Laurel and Hardy. Here he is with Stan, Ida Laurel, and wife Virginia Lucille at the dedication.

It was really difficult to select a series of images to reflect the esteem in which Babe is held, so there just a few here taken at times that touch on specific points in his career. In case you’re wondering then why the ‘Golf’ image is there; well, Stan used Babe’s passion for golf in capturing some of his wonderful frustrated ‘camera looks’. These were held back until the end of the day when Babe was just desperate to finish work and get out onto the Golf Course. Genius!

Apologies if your favourite isn’t here, but if you have a specific image in mind or have any thoughts or comments, birthday wish, tribute etc. please leave your thoughts in the box below. We’d love to hear from you and all contributions will receive a response on this page.

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6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Oliver Norvell ‘Babe’ Hardy

  1. I love those photos, and the colourised ones are excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting Willie.

      Yes, some of the colourised images are outstanding, many showing things I certainly hadn’t noticed before. I think you saw our recent blog discussing all things coloured https://beauchumps.wordpress.com/2020/10/15/laurel-and-hardy-in-colour/ and we have we another which will be published very soon that focusses only on colourised images.

      Take care



  2. Hi Mike, a nice compilation of photographs of The Birthday Boy.

    Has anyone else noticed how remarkably Babe looks like Billy Gilbert in the stills from the Rogue Song and The Lucky Dog?
    I love the one from Twice Two of the scolded Babe being told off by the finger wagging “wife” his expression just says it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Peter and thanks for visiting.

      So it’s not just me then? I agree that in some shots they could indeed have been ‘separated at birth’. however, the type of make up etc both are wearing was quite typical of its day.

      I agree with you thoughts on Twice Two er, too! I think a good phrase for Ollies look in the pic would be ‘Wrong Again’!

      Take care



  3. Happy belated birthday Ollie.

    So many wonderful pictures not just here but in all of your blogs and all over the website.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Julie. thanks for visiting and for your kind comments. There are hundreds if not thousands of images of Babe to choose from, the difficult part was deciding which ones to use here!

      Take care



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