Author and former comedian AJ Marriott will be bringing back memories of Laurel and Hardy’s Blackpool visits on Friday at Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion.
“Almost at the peak of their film career the comedy legends paid a flying visit to Blackpool over the August Bank Holiday weekend and were mobbed by tens of thousands of fans,” he said. “In 1947, now in decline, they returned to Blackpool, this time to play a week, live on stage, at the Palace Theatre.”
Just how these two Hollywood stars came to be playing in Blackpool will be told in detail by A.J Marriot – author of Laurel & Hardy – The British Tours, the definite book on Laurel & Hardy’s Variety tours.
A.J is, himself, no stranger to playing the Blackpool comedy stages, having performed here for nine years in the nineties – not always happily.
“I arrived in Blackpool in 1989 as a £300 per night comic and was pretty soon struggling to get £30 per night,” he admits. “The showbusiness circle of comics and agents alike just wouldn’t let me in.
“It was quite ironic that comics I had worked with, and some I had even helped out with material – like Brian Conley, Bradley Walsh, and Bobby Davro – were topping the bill at the main theatres, while I was left out in the cold, literally trying to earn a quid.
“There were weeks when the winnings from talent shows, which I entered under false names, was the only money I earned from my comedy act.”
As for his return to the Lowther Pavilion, his presentation is fully illustrated with around 150 rare photos, and accompanied by actual footage of Laurel and Hardy in Britain.
It also contains detailed coverage of Stan and Ollie’s week-long appearance at the Morecambe Winter Gardens, plus Stan Laurel’s 1947 visit to the house he was born in Ulverston, in 1890.
Doors open on Friday at 7pm. The show starts at 7.30pm and lasts around 100 minutes. Tickets are £8 (concessions £6) from the box office (01253 794 221, online at www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk or on the door.