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Inside the world of legend Stan: LETTERS FROM AMERICA

 
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Ross
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:53 pm    Post subject: Inside the world of legend Stan: LETTERS FROM AMERICA Reply with quote


    EDINBURGH AUCTION - WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 5TH 2007

    Inside the world of legend Stan


    LETTERS FROM AMERICA: Simon Vickers from Lyon & Turnbull holds up one of the treasured letters and two signed photos

    FOR millions of cinema-goers, Laurel and Hardy were never more than comic actors on a black-and-white screen.

    But it has emerged one Edinburgh fan got closer to the film legends than most in a series of fascinating letters.

    The 18 letters and three photographs sent from Stan Laurel to Walterina Hunter from February 1952 to April 1962 will go under the hammer next week.

    She struck up a friendship with Laurel - whose partnership with Hardy formed one of the most famous comedy duos in film history - by sending him letters and gifts.

    The California-based star began writing back to Mrs Hunter and the pair became regular pen friends.

    He even sent her complementary tickets and a personal invitation to meet him and Hardy during one of their visits to Edinburgh, in 1954.

    Laurel, who addressed Mrs Hunter as "My dear Walterina" in his letters, talked very openly about his personal life.

    He even wrote of Hardy's ailing health after he suffered a massive stroke in 1956, often updating his pen friend on his condition.


    VITAL SIGNS: Typewritten letter from Stan Laurel

    He also talked of Hardy's death in August 1957 and why he did not attend the funeral. He said: "I was naturally very upset over the death of my dear friend and partner, and the reason I didn't attend the funeral service was that my Dr advised me not to go."

    In other correspondence, the pair swapped stories about the terrible weather they were suffering, including "sub-zero" temperatures in Scotland and "big floods and landslides" in America.

    It is also clear to see in the letters how much Laurel and his wife Eda appreciated the Scottish souvenirs Mrs Hunter sent and how much they valued her friendship.

    In one, dated February 26, 1962, he wrote: "Thank you for your lovely letter with enclosure of the Scotch Tartan 'Royal Stuart' Plaid pieces - very sweet of you dear."

    He went on: "You mention you would like to have a 'Burn's' Sheppard Tartan - I would like to get one for you dear as a remembrance from Eda and I. Send me an air-mail postcard right away, let me know the cost of the scarf and I'll forward the cash immediately."

    One of the photographs sent to Mrs Hunter, who is believed to have died in the 1960s, was also signed by Hardy.

    Five letters are handwritten and the rest are typed. All of them are personally signed by Laurel.

    They are written on various headed notepaper, including The Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh, where the pair stayed during a visit to the Capital, and The Washington Hotel in London.

    The collection will go on sale on Wednesday at Lyon & Turnbull in Broughton Place, and is estimated to fetch between 1500 and 2000. Alex Dove, book specialist at the auction house, said: "It's a great collection because they are so personal. They're not the standard letters you would expect to get from someone's manager or something.



    "After Hardy died, Stan Laurel didn't attend his funeral, and it's fascinating to read about that. I think film and manuscript collectors will be interested in this."

    Stan Laurel was born in 1890 in Ulverston, which was then in Lancashire but now in Cumbria, while Hardy was born two years later in Harlem, Georgia, US. Laurel made his comedy debut in Glasgow in 1906. The pair - who were based in America - first starred together in The Lucky Dog in 1921.

    GEMMA FRASER (gfraser@edinburghnews.com)


source: http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1387512007
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

interesting follow up story about the background story of the letters which are for sale

ARTICLE BY DAVID SINCLAIR - The Scotsman Newspaper

    WHEN an ordinary Scottish housewife wrote fan-mail to Stan Laurel, the legendary movie star, she could have hardly expected a reply.

    But that first star-struck note sparked an unlikely and intimate friendship, which has come to light in a correspondence due to be auctioned next week.

    Walterina Hunter began writing to Laurel at the height of his fame, beginning an exchange that lasted a decade. The pair struck up a warm and personal relationship, sharing their deepest thoughts and feelings.

    They met only once, but Laurel wrote to Mrs Hunter from his home in California, while he was on location, and from hotels on the road in the years when his career was coming to an end.

    He even wrote to her during the nervous breakdown he suffered after the death of his comedy partner Oliver Hardy.

    Mrs Hunter, from Edinburgh, sent Laurel a letter and a gift in 1950 at the height of Laurel and Hardy's fame.

    He wrote thanking her - and so began a friendship that would last until three years before he died in 1965.

    The pair exchanged letters discussing everything from the weather to Cumbria-born Laurel's health problems.

    The letters and two signed photographs, are to be sold by auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh on Wednesday, and are expected to fetch at least 1,500.

    Some letters are typed and hand corrected, others handwritten. He always addressed her as "My Dear Walterina" and signed "Stan". Some of the letters are on headed paper from hotels including the Caledonian in Edinburgh.

    In 1954 when the comedy duo toured the UK, Stan sent Mrs Hunter tickets for their Edinburgh show, with an invitation to meet him and Hardy afterwards.

    The letters reveal after Mrs Hunter sent him some tartan gifts, Laurel posted money so that she could buy herself a scarf that she had mentioned in a letter.

    In February 1926 he wrote: "Thank you for your lovely letter with enclosure of the Scotch Tartan 'Royal Stuart' Plaid pieces - very sweet of you, dear."

    He added: "You mention you would like to have a 'Burn's' Shepard Tartan - I would like to get one for you dear as a remembrance of Eda and I.

    "Send me an air-mail postcard right away, let me know the cost of the scarf and I'll forward the cash immediately."

    In one exchange, Mrs Hunter asked Laurel if he planned to celebrate Burns Night.

    He replied: "No, they don't have any celebrations for Bobbie Burns night out here.

    "I imagine that's a big day in your area and plenty of Wee Dock and Dorris's [a pint of beer and a spirit chaser] are consumed!!"

    In another letter the movie star reveals his frugal side.

    He wrote: "The stamps you used aren't accepted over here, so I have sent them back in an envelop - you can steam them off with a kettle and use them again."

    Other parts of their correspondence were surprisingly emotional and intimate.

    When Hardy died in 1957, Laurel suffered a nervous breakdown from which friends said he never recovered.

    After the funeral, he wrote to Mrs Hunter admitting: "I was naturally very upset over the death of my dear friend and partner, and the reason I didn't attend the funeral service was that my Dr [sic] advised me not to go."

    And towards the end of his career, he poignantly confides in his pen-pal: "I don't visit the studios any more because I don't know anyone there and would feel like a stranger."

    Alex Dove, Lyon & Turnbull's book specialist, said: "As the letters go on, you can really see their relationship develop. What begins as a fairly formal fan/star relationship turns into something much more personal.

    "He discusses his wife, his relationship with Hardy, his health.

    "These letters show just how important his fans were to him.

    "He invited her backstage to a show he did at the Empire Theatre and gave her complimentary tickets - and she ended up going every night."

    ALTHOUGH born in Ulverston, Cumbria, Stan Laurel lived in Glasgow for a time as a teenager. In 1905, aged 15, his family moved to Burnside, on the south side of Glasgow. He attended the local Gallowflat Secondary School, and worked in a variety of administrative jobs at his father's theatre, the Metropole.

    As a 16-year-old he made his first comic appearance at the Panopticon Theatre on Argyle Street as an 'extra turn'.

    In 1910, he left for Hollywood but returned to Scotland in 1932, with Oliver Hardy and returned three times to the Edinburgh Playhouse and Empire Theatre, the last time in 1954.

source: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1391692007
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting article, I'd be suprised if the collection went for the estimate, I think it'll go for much, much more.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a similar article on BBC Scotland http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/6978924.stm
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh no. I forgot that was today. I was meant to go. Shocked
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well looks like they sold for 2900, still not a lot considering how many letters were being offered.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats a bargain.
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