Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Bit More on The Music Box Steps

A bit more on “The Music Box Steps” (see March 6, 2007).

The gag of lugging heavy stuff up terrace stairs which defy LA’s sometimes surprising terrain had been used before Laurel and Hardy took a crack at it in “The Music Box.” The same steps were used in “Ice Cold Cocos” (1926) directed by Del Lord, who also directed “The Music Box,” and in “Isn’t Life Terrible” (1925) with Fay Wray and Charley Chase. Lord also directed the Stooges’ “An Ache in Every Stake,” clearly never tiring of the stairs gag. Perhaps those earlier films led to using the gag over and over again, but I wonder which came first for Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stooges on their own imposing set of stairs: the idea that there were some long steep steps in town that would make a great gag, or the idea that they were to lift something heavy up a set of stairs, and where could they find such stairs to use? The chicken or the egg? There is an excellent discussion of this in an article “The Music Box” by Richard W. Bann posted on the Laurel and Hardy website:

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