The most popular Laurel and Hardy feature currently available on video is far and away March of the Wooden Soldiers (also known by its original title, Babes in Toyland). Set in the fantasy world of Toyland, this is a great holiday film for the whole family. It features songs from the Victor Herbert operetta and a fairytale-like story line, in which the boys set out to stop Mother Peep from being evicted by the evil Silas Barnaby. Most critics agree that this is one of the few films that actually benefits from its excellent colorization. The film is available on VHS and DVD.
<NEW FOR 2000> Speaking of DVDs, there are several new Laurel and Hardy DVDs. While most of the short films that they contain are far from rare, if you're shopping for someone who has recently entered the DVD market these discs may be perfect gifts.
<AVAILABLE AGAIN> Many of Laurel and Hardy's popular feature films were released to video many years ago, and have since gone out of print. A company called Movies Unlimited has some of these titles that are virtually impossible to find new elsewhere.
For a complete list of Laurel and Hardy videos available for sale, please visit our Videos section.
<NEW FOR 2001> Another nice item is the 2002 Laurel and Hardy calendar. It's a nice, full size, full color, 12-month wall calendar.
Any Laurel and Hardy fan will find Randy Skretvedt's Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies impossible to put down. This book carefully traces the careers of Laurel and Hardy, providing details about their lives and films which simply cannot be found elsewhere. Exhaustive archival research and years of interviews culminated in this book, which simply sets the standard by which all other L&H books are based. If there's a Laurel and Hardy fan in your life and they don't have this book, do them a favor and get them a copy.
If you're shopping for a real die-hard fan, chances are they've already found this book. But there are several other great books out there that they may not already have. Scott MacGillivray's Laurel and Hardy: From the Forties Forward takes a close look at the boys' career after leaving the Hal Roach Studios. It examines their lesser known films made in the '40s, as well as the impact of television and later revivals.
Rob Stone's Laurel or Hardy: The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy is a great companion piece to the Skretvedt and MacGillivray books. It's similar in it's style, examining each of the earlier works of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Before this book, not much was known about their solo careers; this book fills in the gaps. At around 575 pages, it's quite an impressive collection.
Our final recommendation may be difficult to get in time for Christmas if you live in North America, but it's still worth mentioning. The Laurel and Hardy Digest by Willie McIntyre is a different sort of book; it's a collection of tidbits about the boys films, their lives, and their careers. It's not readily available in the U.S., so if you're shopping for the Laurel and Hardy fan who has everything this may be a good gift idea.
For a complete list of Laurel and Hardy books available for sale, please visit our Books section.