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Saturday, December 31, 2005







Great Furniture In The Movies
It might help in reading this if you're a Laurel and Hardy fan --- make that a hardcore Laurel and Hardy fan, because when you've reached the point where you're discussing the furniture in their comedies, you are indeed hardcore, maybe borderline needing help. Well, I'm that way about the Blotto table. You know (at least those of you who share my obsession know) there's that long sequence at the Rainbow Club. It's a deco speakeasy palace, and Laurel and Hardy get drunk, or they think they're getting drunk, only Stan's wife has replaced the contents of his smuggled-in bottle with brackish cold tea. Comedy mayhem ensues. So there is the story, and now we come to the table, and it is a wow --- a creampuff --- a lulu. I've wanted something like it ever since I saw the short for the first time at the age of 14. The picture in the center is from Blotto, and that's the table. Note the star, the little indentations that run around the circumference. You won't find this item at the local Transit-Damaged Freight Warehouse. Now those of you who haven't said who cares and signed off by now are probably asking, "That's all well and good, but did this unique specimen of woodwork ever make its way into any other movies?". Well, as a matter of fact it did, at least the photo at the left convinces me that it did. Do you suppose Lew Ayres called Hal Roach and said, "Hal ...Lew... Buddy, I just caught that new rib-tickling Laurel and Hardy laff-riot of yours, and I've just got to use that bitchin' nightclub table in my next picture!". And indeed, there it is, sharing a scene with Lew Ayres in Okay, America, presumably the table's first appearance in a dramatic vehicle. Isn't it great when some obscure nugget of film history reveals itself? But that isn't all, because like Lew, I was so caught up with that bitchin' table that I decided to see if maybe it could be recreated --- and that's the photo on the right. As you can see, the guy who built it is a genius, and boy, are those chairs uncomfortable. Authentic, yes, right down to the last detail, but hell to sit in. Laurel and Hardy must have wanted that prohibition hooch mighty bad to sit in those chairs. Check out the ice bucket. Henry Trivette made that too. Henry is the genius I mentioned earlier. He could make your living room look like a set from Our Dancing Daughters if you asked him to. I was even able to pass off the Blotto table as the real thing to some visiting Laurel and Hardy fans --- told 'em I bought it at the Hal Roach auction back in 1963. When I fessed up later, they were still amazed. We have some fabulous furniture makers in the South.

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