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JimLucas

Stan Laurel & Concertina?

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There is currently an instrument on eBay, which the seller says is supposed to have been brought back from Russia by Stan Laurel (of the Laurel & Hardy comedy team), who gave it to his second wife, Ruth. She admits to having no verification for the story, so I did some quick Googling.

 

I didn't find anything about Stan travelling to Russia, but the Wheatstone ledgers show that it was built early in 1938, shortly after he married his third wife, a Russian woman. Too late for the second wife? Apparently not. He divorced Iliana in May 1940 and remarried Ruth in January 1941. So I speculate that he may have travelled to Russia with Iliana sometime during 1938-9, and that he picked up a concertina on the trip, though not in Russia. He was born in England, and transportation being what it was at the time, it seems almost certain that he would have stopped in England on his way back to America, most probably also visiting his parents. And it seems likely that England is where he would have picked up the concertina.

 

But since -- according to my speculation -- he would have purchased the instrument while he was married to Iliana, but it became the possession of Ruth, with whom his second marriage was also short-lived, I wonder who played it. Did he, or she, or both, or neither?

 

Is anyone in a position to verify or falsify my speculation? In my search I also found a news article from July 1 saying that a large collection of Stan Laurel memorabilia had just been auctioned by "Stan Laurel's nephew Huntley Woods, 82, from Blyth, Northumberland." He seems to have been a fan of his uncle. Anybody in the mood to try to contact him and see if he knows anything about a concertina?

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Hmm. When I searched for references to concertinas in movies (a separate Topic), I found the following:

The Big Noise / Mal St. Clair / 1944

 

Laurel and Hardy pretend to be two detectives hired to guard a new type of bomb for the war effort. They hide it in Stan's concertina. One of the WORST L&H movies ever. A real groaner.

[Dennis Souter]

Not the same concertina that's on eBay, I hope!

But I wonder, does he play the concertina in the movie? (I need to find out if the local video rental has a copy.)

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This movie is on the huge archived movie thread that I have. IIRC, it is a cheap looking (german?) instrument and one end hinged open and they hid a bomb inside it. It did sound like a groaner. I don't recall any mention of playing.

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