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Wayne and Hardy
Stan persuaded Ollie to make the film and a good piece of advice it proved to be. Ollie’s natural southern accent serves him well as Willie Payne, the sidekick and protector of mighty John Wayne. It is a good piece of casting and Ollie has several humorous  moments in the film, including falling into a stream. John Wayne is John Wayne in the film winning fisticuff fights and the heart of an attractive lady, Vera Ralston.  Although this is a one-off film, it is not too difficult to envisage the Wayne and Hardy team being involved in further adventures in their Davy Crockett hats. In 1950 Wayne met up with Hardy and his true partner Laurel, in France during the filming of their last film, Atoll K.


After the very exhausting 1947 tour to the UK, Stan was diagnosed with diabetes. While he was recuperating, Ollie played on stage for the Masquers Club in a production of What Price Glory? This was an all-star charity production and had a rather impressive cast including John Wayne, Ward Bond, Maureen O’Hara and, in the role of town mayor, Oliver Hardy. John Wayne was very impressed with Ollie in the play and asked him to appear in his forthcoming film, The Fighting Kentuckian. Initially Ollie declined,  not  wishing to risk any harm to  the Laurel-Hardy team. 

Crosby and Hardy

Whilst Stan was content to spend extra time perfecting the days filming, Ollie longed to be away from the studio and relaxing with his buddies. His hobbies were golf and horse-racing and these coincided with another Hollywood star who like Ollie liked to sang a bit, Bing Crosby! Ollie and Bing became good buddies in the pursuit of their hobbies. Both became expert golfers and their horse-racing interest saw them both become founding investors in the Del Mar Race Course.  A short clip of newsreel from 1936 has recently come to light in which Bing and Ollie are engaged in a bit of tomfoolery with betting. 
Six years after this newsreel, Laurel and Hardy appeared on stage in 1942 with Bing Crosby and a host of others stars, during their fund-raising Hollywood Victory Caravan for dependents of American Servicemen. Frank Capra’s 1952 film, Riding High, gave Ollie a nice cameo appearance as a luckless gambler in the Bing Crosby film centred around horse-racing. Crosby and Hardy may have made only film together, but their friendship went back a long way.